No one promises you that it will be easy, only that it will be worth it.
The closer I get to God, the further away from the world I feel. We are supposed to show love and grace as God would, and I am learning how truly incredible this gift, truly, is. However, it is probably the most confusing part of my healing journey, because I am still in the learning phases of what grace looks and feels like. I have yet to learn how to properly offer it to others. I try my best, but, to be honest, I don’t know how.
I do not know one little girl who, when born, asks to be hardened along her journey through life, but, unfortunately, sometimes, it happens. No matter how desperately she wants this to be different, there’s nothing she can do or say to change it. For some, it is part of a divine testimony of faith and endurance. For others, it is a naked body clothed in heavy chains.
Either way, one day, these little girls wake up in the middle of their lives that look nothing like them with a decision to make.
I can remember many of days where it seemed as though I would choose the opposite direction that I have now taken. I remember matching my pain ounce for ounce with whatever alcohol carried me as close to weightless as possible. For years, I walked that walk, and though it seems that it was a little easier to bear at that time, I wouldn’t trade this walk for anything in the world. Except the fact that no matter how many times you hear someone say they understand how you feel, you can’t help but take note of the look in their eyes when they realize they don’t have the slightest clue.
I once told a suitor, that he may want to educate his self on what it’s like to date someone who had been through so much trauma, such as I, because there were certain behaviors of his that were a little alarming to me. He shrugged the comment off as if it were a joke. A week later, I had no choice but to call the relationship off, because I knew his arrogance would be too unhealthy for me. I knew that his way of handling situations could potentially set me back in my healing process. I couldn’t risk this in the middle of treatment. This proved to be a wise decision a little later when I was made aware that he used his professional position to manipulate a multitude of situations concerning me. Though, at the time, I, still, wanted to show him grace as I broke away from the professional part of the relationship, the well groomed pit bull in me was fighting for her personal territory. Grace was not present that day. No matter how desperately I wanted to part ways in a respectful manner, I did the very opposite of what God does for me daily.
On another note, I have a friend who seems to be completely unaware of the lack of respect she has shown on multiple occasions in terms of time management. We have previously been scheduled to meet at scheduled times, and twice she has been not 1, but nearly, 2 hours late. Both times, I have excused it with a smile and a hug and moved on. At dinner, recently, she, unknowingly, crossed a boundary that was very uncomfortable for me and I got snippy with her. At this particular moment, she couldn’t see that it was multiple situations that built up to this moment, however, I felt she had no regard for me as a person. She had displayed a complete lack of respect for my time, as well as plans I had previously made. I have regretted my words ever since they have come out of my mouth, because I had been working so hard at taming my tongue. Again, grace was no where to be found that day.
This is the area that has been the absolute hardest for me in my walk in faith. Growing up, I had to aggressively fight for everything from basic needs to mere desires for my own individuality. Today, in a world that has become so selfish and arrogant, I don’t know how to handle these situations with the same grace that God has been so kind as to show me. Even though I see both behaviors from biased eyes, I, ultimately, want to ask myself, “Who do you think you are that you feel you are entitled to the respect that you are demanding of others? Do you give that same respect in return? What is it about these character traits that God is trying to teach you?”
I am learning that practicing self love, sometimes means tough love, as well.
My walk of faith has turned my life upside down, but right side up in a way that I am now combing through all of my behaviors in a way that I have never before. You see, in this modern world, we are using phrases like, “self love.” I am learning that practicing self love, sometimes means tough love, as well. Even though this growth is utterly painful, I know it is a must. We have to get comfortable with screwing up so that God can show us our biggest areas of opportunity. If we are not open to seeing these things in ourselves then we are not growing the way God needs us to in order to carry out his purpose for our lives.
If you are struggling with behaviors that you are finding unfavorable to God’s plan, lift them up in prayer and ask Him to heal these areas of your life. It may feel like a burden to carry, but, in actuality, it may very well be the blessing you have been waiting for.
Sweet child, be free.