You Are Not Set Apart From God’s Plan
For the longest time, I had a hard time deciphering the joy in my life. There was so much darkness when I looked back on past memories that joy felt impossible to see or feel. I had no purpose, at least I couldn’t find it.
The voices that said im not good enough for that, im not pretty like her, I don’t have the support that they do, took over anytime I’d start to catch a glimpse of it.
My smile on the outside was easy enough to fool those around me.
My ability to celebrate other people allowed me to quietly suffer. No one knew that side of me that couldn’t relate with a happy childhood, dying relationships and a deep self hatred that stemmed from generational trauma. So no one even tried.
It wasn’t until this last March of 2021 that I began to be ok to show the parts of me that aren’t full of joy. After almost 5 years of intense trauma therapy I felt like I could be ok with that side of myself. The part of me I have always feared would be rejected.
I stood up on a stage for my very first time in a room of close to 100 other beautifully broken women to share the dark sides of my testimony that I never thought I would share out loud. Especially to a room full of people.
During the time of writing my speech it was put on my heart time and time again the book of Lamentations, and also the fruit of the spirit.
I have no idea why these two things were put on my heart, and I so bad wanted to share my perspective on that in my speech, however, I didn’t. So, now I will.
In Lamentations, Jeremiah was grieving over the city of Jerusalem and its destruction following a siege by Nebuchadnezzar. Humiliation, suffering, and despair are all feelings expressing Jeremiah’s devastation.
This is the part of the bible none of us ever want to look at or even study.
Maybe its the discomfort of relating far too much to Jeremiahs emotions, or maybe its because most of us have been shaped to hide from them completely.
The fruit of the spirit that we tend to focus on the most in todays society are all the good ones. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. But we tend to forget often about the long-suffering part.
According to the dictionary, long-suffering means to patiently endure lasting offense or hardship. Wow, a punch in the gut.
How are we supposed to stay patient while enduring pain and suffering when we just want it to be over with? How do we stay standing when it feels like everything around us is trying to tear us down?
It’s no wonder why people tend to forget about this part of the bible.
Most of us don’t even want to admit that we are suffering in the first place.
Is it because we don’t think those parts of us matter? Because they do.
Lamentations is a book to express the grief of God’s people during a devastating time where they felt far from him. If there was an entire book dedicated to grief in biblical days, don’t you think our grief still matters to the creator now? Because it does.
Although he had felt like he had given up on life altogether, Jeremiah embraced the hope he still had in God and the love he had for him despite the pain he felt.
In Lamentations 3:28-33, it says:
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
in throwing roadblocks in the way:
I love how right before this verse he writes out his pain and honors how he is feeling, his grief and what’s been done. And then he refocuses on Gods character and the hope that comes from trusting his plan.
One thing that I have learned the most is that you cannot heal what you do not feel. There are so many times we go through hard things that we never talk about or work through and those inner wounds never truly heal.
When we aren’t able to let go of the heavy things they become bars around our minds and we become a prisoner to them. The enemy loves it when we are in this place because he knows it keeps us stuck.
Jeremiah says to take our problems full face, to not run from them. This means we must allow ourselves to feel all the feels, just like he did.
Because grieving makes us so vulnerable we have to be careful about who and what we listen to while we sit in pain. The people in our day to day lives have an impact on us and how we move throughout each day.
It’s so important to reflect on your relationships and to create healthy boundaries within them. They aren’t selfish or a way to demean another individual, rather they are an attempt to guard the God given gifts you have within you that deserve to be shared with the world.
I truly believe that had I not taken the time to grieve and process my own pain that I would still be where I was struggling with panic attacks every day of my life.
This long suffering is all a part of the fruit of the spirit that we are called to bear.
The process of healing any kind of trauma is painful and not easy, but the reward that comes from doing the work is life giving.
You deserve to feel every bit of what you need to feel.
You deserve grace to mourn the death of what you thought would be and for being who you are. For having feelings. Loving the way that you love. You deserve grace for having the passions that you do. And for the fears you hold onto. The things that no one knows. For waking up and getting out of bed today.
For doing the work to heal your inner child. Fighting a fight no one knows about. For choosing the hard things over the easy things. And grace for yourself for doing what is best for you regardless of what anyone else says.
You deserve so much grace and I hope you give it to yourself every single day.