Life has been changing a lot lately, and also staying the same. I have been struggling through some difficult things. The end of a relationship. Valentine’s Day. 😒 The wedding of a dear friend in Hawaii, my first plane ride, and all sorts of other big things are happening. Needless to say I am feeling all the feels. ALL of them.
I have been uninvolved in ministry for a year and a half now. The longing to return is strong and deep. I ache. I feel the call tugging at my heart, pulling me back in that direction. I can see it off in the distance but it is still it is not close enough to touch, I want to lunge at it, but I feel the gentle pressure of my Daddy’s hand holding me back. I hear His voice whisper “Not yet. There are still lessons to learn.” I SO want to rush ahead and just get there already. I want to jump back in so bad! I feel ready to join the team I miss so deeply. I am longing to share what I have to give, and do what I was made for. The struggle is very real. Like really for real, real.
There are all sorts of big things happening for some dear friends and I am so excited and grateful to see it, but I am also very much on the outside looking in. It would be so easy to feel left out. In fact it is really hard not to feel that way, and sometimes (despite my best efforts) I do. I sometimes find it very hard not to feel sorry for myself. Can you relate? I mean honesty, sometimes it seems like the universe is just set up to make self pity impossible to avoid… or is that just me?? I am learning through that I am not a victim of circumstances, instead I am the master of them. God has placed His royal authority upon me, and I have the ability to reign in life. I can also choose to wallow in sorrow and be a victim of life’s splenetic fashion, or I can rise like the warrior princess that I am and choose joy. I can choose peace, truth, and love. I can choose to stand in the authority that being a child of God affords me, and speak to the mountain and sculpt the terrain of life with the faith rooted in my soul. I can stand firm and having done all, stand. This (like many things) is easier known in the head than lived out. This is the kind of thing one must know both in head and in heart.
There has more than one occasion that has come to test this knowledge. You see this thing, that thing or the other would happen, and I would find myself starring down the barrel of a well traveled train of thought. I heard very familiar words echoing in my head and reverberating through my heart…
“They don’t need you.”
“They don’t really like you.”
“They don’t miss you. In fact they would be better off if you never came back.”
“You weren’t good enough before but now you are oceans below par.”
“You are all washed up. You missed your chance. It’s too late.”
“No one really wants you to come back.”
“You are a disappointment to everyone who knows you.”
“No one really even cares about you.”
“You can’t do anything that is important or special.”
“You have no more songs to sing. Your voice is too loud anyway.”
“Other people can write much better songs than you.”
“You are a failure.”
“No one cares what you have to say, they only listen because they are being nice.”
“You have missed your chance.”
“No one really knows you, and if they did they would not look at you the same way.”
“Just leave. No one would care.”
For a moment I stood frozen on the tracks . I stood staring at that train of thought, of self loathing, pity, and hatred coming right for me. I held in my hand the ticket to ride that frequented train, then I did something new. I stepped out of the way, tore my ticket to ribbons and let it go right on by without me. The next time something happened that gave me a to ticket to ride that train I was much quicker to step out of the way. I am not going to ride that train of thought anymore. I am not a victim of life’s cantankerous moods, I am a child of God. I matter to Him.
I have come to realize that I need this time of tension, this season of wanting to return and staying quiet. It is so important. The really cool thing is that now I see how crucial this time is for my heart to completely heal. I need to see big exciting things happening without me in the middle of them. I need to know that my fiends are my friends outside of ministry, and that they still want to hang out with me just because they like me and not because they need me. Really they don’t need me. I had the privilege of being along side them in life and I took it for granted. My friends are amazing and I miss chasing dreams and bringing heaven to earth with them. The thing is though, I need to really experience what being valued by others is like when I am not doing a darn thing. I need to learn how to genuinely celebrate that God is doing big things for others when it has nothing to do with me. I am learning that when I see a long dearly held dreams of mine happening for someone close to me it does not threaten the possibility of it happening in my life. You would think after going to so many weddings alone for so many years I would have learned this by now.
I also now understand that this tension is the only way to untangle my identity of who I am from what I do. I am not what I do. I am not what I give. I am not how well I sing, write, pray, or give someone a timely word. I am not ministry, and I am not my church. I am not a human doing. I am a human being.
I am the daughter of the Most High. I am a child of the Mighty King of all kings. I am not what I do. I am a child of God. I don’t need to fear being replaced. I am the only person God made like me. (Can I get a hallelujah?!) Sure other people can do the things I do, and they can probably do them better and you know what? That is okay. My value CAN NOT be rooted in my talents and intellect or my ability to be “the best”. The world is positively saturated with talented brilliant people because every single human person is made in the image of God. God is magnificent! Hello?! I mean how can people not be amazing??!! Being threatened because someone else is awesome is such a huge waste of life. I can’t allow my self worth and identity to be founded in my gifts because other people have the same gifts, but NO ONE gets to have the connection and relationship with Daddy God that I do. No else gets to have the love story I have the the Great Lover of My Soul. Only I feel what happens when Holy Spirit moves in me. The Love of the Father is where my identify and value need to be planted . My relationship with my Father is the only safe harbor of my soul, not my abilities, talents, or how much I am missed when I am gone.
Though this process has been hard and has had more than its fair share of dark nights of the soul, I have learned that God is my source, strength, comfort, fortress, shield, safe place, teacher, lover, provider, and shepherd and so many other amazing amounts of goodness. I have also tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord. Man! He is so good. God is love. God is good. God is faithful, and God is there. God is always, always there.
If you feel God beckoning you to go where you have never gone, please trust Him. I promise if you stay with Him you won’t regret it.
I was terrified to let go of ministry, I was afraid of being left behind, forgotten and replaced. My fears were not true. They were stories I told myself because I had no idea who I was. I would have missed out on such rich deep goodness if my feet had remained on the track of self loathing, pity, and destruction. Sometimes letting go of something can be tremendously scary even when it is killing me because it has become my sense of normal. Self hatred is not normal. Constant fear is not normal. Thinking that everyone is secretly upset with me and just waiting for me to mess up so they can get rid of me is not normal. That is bondage and it is deadly! I had no idea how bound I was. I thought I was doing so good, and I was but I had some deep wounds that just weren’t healing right.
When I was nine I got my face kicked by a teenage boy and the impact broke my nose. When my nose bone healed it healed crooked. Now I have a slight breathing problem at night and sometimes snore. Also I very easily get sinus infections because of my nasal passage being a little off. In order to have that problem fixed I will one day have to allow a physician to once again break my nose. I know that a broken nose is one of the longest most painful healing processes. It was over a year before my face felt normal. I know one day I will have to face that pain again, but it is the only way my broken nose will ever truly be restored.
This process has been like that. My soul has experienced a breaking and it has been good. It has not been easy, or comfortable, but it has been worth it. I may want to rush ahead but I have learned to trust God’s no. Even His no is good. So good. My soul is still healing. God (the greatest physician of all) is watching to make sure as things heal they are all lined up.
He is a good good Father and I know that I am His daughter and nothing will ever tear that from me.
©Rachel Anne Redfield 2016