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A continuation of yesterday’s post…

During our staff conference this weekend I was convicted on a whole new level about misery and rejection.  I have been wearing those two lies like a comfortable old coat for years now.  Stemming from two significant, wounding, and specific circumstances, I let those false identities be the motivation and root for a huge area of my life.  For example…

I had to be miserable to prove how hard I was working, or else I feared punishment or disappointment.

I rejected joy or any light-hearted behavior or approach towards life because it revealed that I wasn’t working hard enough and I was terrified someone would find me out.

Do I want to be noticed, appreciated, or have someone comment on what I’ve accomplished?  Then I better hurry up and find a reason to be upset or miserable because that’s the only true mark of a successful person.

If I was happy?  Well, then whatever I’m putting my efforts towards must not be worthwhile or important enough…importance was equal with misery and suffering.

Did plans change?  Did something happen where I had to adjust my expectations?  Was I left alone with the kids or given extra work to do or not notice or appreciated or thanked for what I had done?  Then – WHOOOSH – I immediately put on rejection and abandonment and wore them proudly like they were medals of honor.

I earned the right to be miserable.

I earned the right to put up walls and keep people from hurting me.

I earned the right to assume you will hurt me and shut down any access to my heart.

I earned the right to cut you off at the first hint of rejection or abandonment.

earned the right to know I’ve worked so much harder than you and suffered so much more than you so I can justifiably sit back and criticize how little you do to help me.

I tussled and wrestled with these thoughts throughout the weekend.  On the final day we took communion as a community and I read the verse in Isaiah that is posted above.  As I wrote in this post, I so badly desire peace in my soul but so often I find myself twisted into turmoil and pain and a pressure cooker of horrible emotions.

Then I saw it.

“The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.”

Now, I’m not a Bible scholar and I did not look up every word of this phrase in the original language and cross reference it with seven other sources.

But this is the truth – the liberating, oxygen-filled, revolutionary truth – that God dropped in my heart:

“Why are you carrying the punishment to earn your own peace?”

Why.  Why indeed.

The lies of misery and rejection were punishments that I believed I had earned and from which I would have no freedom.  From a few singular moments out of my entire life, I had let those two markers become the source and reason for entire galaxies of my behavior.  I thought I could not be free from them.  They were mine – and proudly mine I might add – to suffer through and endure and prove how good a faithful believer I could be.

And yet…

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Holding the bread and juice in my hands, I found myself on my knees.  I repented.  Of my sin.  Of my selfishness.  Of my pride.  I called it what it was – sin.  S.I.N. And the beautiful thing about that?

When I quit making excuses and face up to my sin, I can embrace forgiveness and find freedom.

I sense a lightness and untangling in my being.  Like an anchor was cut away and I’m floating adrift again.

It will be a journey of learning and grace.  It’s such a habit to snatch up those twin terrors and hold them close when things get tough…or familiar….or overwhelming.  I’ve already had an evening’s and morning’s worth of situations where I felt like I was grinding gears in my mind and heart to learn this new path of freedom again.  I choose to let go of the punishment and hold on to the Peace.

As Peace holds on, oh so tightly, to me.

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