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.
I 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.
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.