“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah 9:2 ESV
Sometimes we have to look back to move forward.
Last year around this time, I was honored to have one of my stories published in the devotional book “Let Your Light Shine: Being A Light In A Dark World”. http://amzn.to/2zo8QyL
Instead of writing it, then choosing a verse, I had the verse (above) before the story.
And, I remember thinking “I got nothin.”
Yet, as I was racking my brain, God kept whispering “you know” to my fiercely protected heart. And I did know, but didn’t want to go there.
It’s easier to advertise our strengths than to admit our struggles.
So, with the deadline quickly approaching, I decided “OK God, I’ll jot down a few lines.”
Those lines turned into one of my most personal and transparent stories.
Previously, I posted a link to the story; now, I’m sharing its entirety below…from my heart to yours.
Perhaps you know someone who has struggled with this same thing or another addiction. Maybe it’s even you. Well, can I offer us three words of hope, dear one?
God is bigger.
No, He really truly is.
Beloved, we all have something. Instead of feeling shame, which is a lie from the enemy, let’s share our stories to encourage another soul. To offer them hope and freedom.
Grateful for you, friend. XO
Practically Perfect in Every Way
As a little girl, my favorite movie was Mary Poppins. I loved every (perfect) thing about her. In fact, there’s a scene in the movie where she pulls a tape measure out of her (perfect) bag to measure the height of the children she was caring for, Jane and Michael Banks. Instead of numbers, the readings were personality traits like stubborn or prone to giggle. But for her, it read: “Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.”
Right on, Mary. Right on.
In my world, perfection was always the prize. Perfect daughter. Perfect friend. Perfect student. Perfect date. Perfect employee. Perfect-a-mundo.
When I was 23 years old, my perfect little world fell apart. My Dad was dying and quite frankly, so was I. Not physically, but emotionally. My family of Dad, Mom, and I were threatened by a cancer with an uncontrollable outcome. So, consciously or not, I chose to control the only thing that I could.
And that was reflected in my eating. I went from a lover of cheeseburgers and fries to a lover of salads. Sounds healthy, right? Well, that full salad went to a half salad that went to “I’ll just have a bite or two, I’m full” salad.
As my body changed to reflect that, I translated the concerned comments of “You’ve lost a lot of weight…” to mean “Wow, keep up the good work!” You see, I controlled the way I heard their words and interpreted them into what I wanted to hear.
Looking back now, I realize that the bags of groceries my folks sent home with me reflected their desperate desire to help. My well-meaning friends would invite me for pizza parties or late night ice cream runs…but I never went.
I just didn’t feel like it. I wasn’t healthy and neither was my heart. It fluttered. It hurt. It felt weak, tired, less than perfect. And so did I.
During this time, I didn’t talk to God much. Oh, I grew up in the church. I knew Jesus as my personal Savior. But, I had stepped into a period of darkness that I chose to control. Honestly, I’m not sure why. Was I was mad at God because my Dad was dying? Only He knows for sure.
Yet, although my prayers were few, the love of my Heavenly Father for me was fierce. He carried me when I didn’t even know it. And He ultimately brought me to an unlikely place where my need to be perfect received a reality check.
I had always enjoyed a bookstore, so it’s no surprise that I went inside. But, I wasn’t prepared for the magazine cover that changed everything. The headline announcing the death of a famous singer read something like this: Dead at 33. Heart Failure caused by Anorexia Nervosa. I picked it up and started reading. Her story and her symptoms mirrored mine.
At that moment, I felt a wave of fear cover me. Not the fear of living, but the fear of dying. And I immediately let go of my control and all things perfection and cried out in my soul with desperation.
DEAR GOD, PLEASE HELP ME!
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves; in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
I wish I could tell you that I went back home that day and ate a three course meal with dessert. But I can’t. It took time for my body and my spirit to heal. It took the intentional letting go of me to the only One who could set me free.
One day at a time.
What about you, friend? Do you wrestle with the need to be practically perfect in every way? Are you fearful about letting go of control and letting God direct your steps?
I so understand.
Dear one, whatever you fear today, God is bigger. He made you one of a kind and loves you just the way you are. Let His Perfect Love pour over you and heal your broken heart, wipe away your insecurities, and free you from darkness.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 NIV
I still have moments where I try to be “practically perfect in every way”. But, I don’t linger there. Instead, I choose the light instead of the darkness and remind myself that I am enough…that He is enough.
Father God, Thanks for loving us, not because we are perfect, but because You are perfect. Hold us close and fill us your peace and hope today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.