(originally posted 8/2/2017)
I have read and reread Kathleen Dowling Singh’s book, The Grace in Aging. She encourages us in our later years to do a life review. She poses this question for us to consider: “What do I need to clear up or let go of to be more peaceful?”
So, I try to sit quietly with God and that question. Now, keep in mind that just sitting quietly has its own challenges for me. All during grade school, a common theme on my report card was, “Linda does not apply herself. Linda disrupts the class. Linda talks too much”. You get the idea.
Sitting quietly in God’s presence is just plain frightening to me. It reminds me of my many visits to the principal’s office, waiting outside his door, anticipating my punishment.
So, yesterday, I was listening to this song. It is a song I love and have heard often, yet this time, it struck a deeper place than ever. Take a listen.
Here is the refrain that kept playing in my head most of the day:
You are more than the choices that you’ve made.
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes.
You are more than the problems you create.
You’ve been remade.
And, because I am so weird, here is the vision I got of how I so often see myself:
But that is NOT what God sees.
As I was rereading my notes in Singh’s book, something else she said struck me, “These foundational views of who we are, what life is like, what the world is like, what other people are like, and how we should be were formed six or seven decades ago. Because these paradigms are so foundational in our psyche, we rarely examine them. They are our unmindful “givens,” the beliefs of our ignorance. We defend our habit patterns and egos, even though they were created in circumstances that no longer exist by children who no longer exist.”
That is powerful stuff! I suppose because I have been the way I am for so long, I’m inclined to believe that, like the color of my hair or the extra fat cells around my middle, it’s just who I am…I cannot change.
How many excuses have I created to hold up the lies I have so long believed: excuses that try to hold it all precariously together?
I have bought into that lie. I have allowed it to run roughshod over my life for too long.
NO! It is NOT who I am. It is who others, in all their own brokenness, have said I am over the years, and I believed it. My parents were both broken in their own ways. Neither could parent well, and their parents couldn’t parent well, and on and on.
I realize now that all those years, God was never brought into the conversation. He was never even mentioned or considered relevant. No one, myself included, ever asked his opinion, “So, what do you think, Lord? Isn’t Linda just the most pitiful mess you have ever seen? You made her; wouldn’t you agree that you screwed up the wiring somehow”?
I think it’s about time I sit silently in God’s presence and dare to ask him the difficult questions that I have not been able to deal with honestly and courageously. And I know where it must begin:
At every moment of every day, God can wipe the slate clean:
And start over. “Okay, Linda, let’s try that again, shall we?”
He can wipe away the tears, heal the wounds, fix all the broken parts…
…and remake me into the person he originally created me to be. He can do that for you too, if you let Him!