Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"The Blessing of Starting Over"

A few years ago, I got this incredibly clear “mental painting” of my life. I was a “master builder” (those of you who know me understand how utterly ridiculous that in itself is.) I was standing outside of this incredible house I had built. It had taken me years to build it (around 42 to be exact)! I stepped back and looked at the house, at first admiring proudly, but then, settling into a place of empty frustration and wasted longing, as I realized that after all that time, all that effort, all those designs, and all that “sweaty” ambition…..THERE WAS NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE STANDING THERE EXCEPT FOR THE FOUNDATION! There was so much "bad" construction, so many "faulty" materials, and ill advised instructions that I'd followed in the building. After a period of self-loathing regret, I “mustered” up the intestinal fortitude and resolve to begin a complete demolition of the structure. With each emphatic “thud” of the wrecking ball, there was freedom, a freshness, a renewed excitement, and a peaceful simplicity that embraced my heart! As I watched the years of work and self-validation obsession crumble beneath the rubble, I realized that after all this time, I had an amazing chance to start over……..And so I did, and I continue on this “do-over” journey every day, and I’m starting to see the incredible beauty, freedom, and power that comes when I allow the "Master Designer" to build me! My focus remains on my connection to Him, and the Life and identity that are now mine because of Him! I love what He's doin'! He has such an incredible plan that is taking shape! And it's completely beyond what I could EVER have built! Sure, everything has changed, and my perspective has done a "180", but I can't imagine anything better and more fulfilling! In the demolition process of my "house" that I've been engaged in, I discovered a frustrating reality about me. Please excuse the vulnerability here. You see, demolition can un-earth painful stuff, BUT, once it's exposed, it can rest safely in the heart and hands of Love Himself! Here's the reality....When you seek to be validated through the opinions and affirmation of others, this creates an environment where your whole life is lived trying to please and satisfy the image of what you think others want you to be! How you act, how you live, your words, your goals, and even your priorities become obsessed by what you imagine others need from you in order to accept, like, and affirm you! WHAT A FREAKIN LIE AND ILLUSION TO LIVE UNDER!!!!!!! And yet, that was me.....going along, playing the parts I thought everyone expected me to play, but miserable inside! The need is to discover your "misplaced" identity. And there is only ONE place to truly find who you are............The freedom comes when you realize YOU are truly LOVED--not the YOU that others see or desire-- just simply the YOU created by God for intimacy--as YOU are at your worst, beautifully flawed and in need of Love Himself! This sounds simplistic to the "trained, theological, deep mind" (you know the one....remember the pharisees?) that always seeks to complicate or add to the purity and powerful simplicity of the Gospel! You see, truth is not a set of principles or doctrines, but simply a person--Love Himself! You are loved by Love Himself, PERFECTLY, and YOU can't change that!!!!! Growing in this reality frees you from the needs or perceived requirements of performance on ANY level! Anything you do, is a direct result of the fact that you ARE loved perfectly, RIGHT NOW where you are! You don't "DO" in order to earn validation or approval, but rather, what you do, you do because you already are validated and Love Himself!

"Standing here bewildered and confused 

So much to say, but no words I can use

Was sure I'd finally see, what my efforts had earned

Instead it seemed, there was more left to learn

I had hoped that I was nearing the end

Of this season of disappointment I'd lived in

But what I thought would be celebration

Abandoned me in all-too-familiar frustration

So in this lonely place, left without a clue

To where this journey goes, or what's left to do

All the running hard, dreaming big, and reaching far

Now feels in vain like a wish on a falling star

So in this moment that could've been

The culmination and a well deserved win

I stand in silence, too tired for the tears

And I struggle to breathe, thinking back on all the years

That I followed a passion with all of my heart

Focused on the purpose created in me from the start

Had the race I'd been running, been another's all along

Had my words and time been wasted, singing another's song

Is there a tomorrow, a new horizon, or a different world to find

For the solitude dreamer with hungry soul and thirsty mind

So I gather the strength and set my tired eyes on THE ONE

Who has always cheered me on in every race I have run

And though the line where I stand is where I thought I would end

The finish must be further, so I guess this is where I will begin.......again!"

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