Confession. When I read this passage on Monday when SheReadsTruth announced it as the reflective passage for the upcoming SheSharesTruth on Friday, I was unaffected. In that moment, I felt I had it all together. I had given up something for Lent, messed up once towards the beginning, repented, and felt like my heart was in the right place. I even felt lead to add another thing, and it was going well too. I made a note in the journaling margin of my handy ESV Journaling Bible that read, “So good for those moments when we have to come back again because we went away again.” And I was good. And my heart was right. I decided I had nothing to share for SheSharesTruth this week. But then…
For two days I unintentionally stopped remembering why I was fasting from things: to depend on God to heal my wounds – big and little – instead of relying on other things that bring me a therapeutic sense of security in some way. So quickly I went away again and needed to come back again. I thought myself to be fickle, incapable of fasting from the things I cling to for 40 days. I had mentally decided, not verbally admitted, that I was giving up on my Lent callings.
Last night, I hung out with a college friend I haven’t been active friends with since college until now. In college, I still operated in a shame based identity. Because I’m so open and transparent about most things now, I sometimes forget that people I knew then don’t know many of the things about me that people I’ve met sense do. I unhesitatingly shared many things about my childhood and family without emotion, not emotionally closed off or anything, I am just so far removed, that it’s normal to talk about. My friend, fighting back tears, said that she wished she had known these things about me, my life, and my family in college. She often thought no on else had been through things like she had. She said it made so much sense, the way I’m different now, released from all of the shame. In my sleepiness, I was thankful, but not reflective enough to be fully moved.
I sat down this morning at my normal Starbucks table, determined to come back and not give up on my Lent calling to fast. I was reminded of Psalm 38. I began to fight back tears and spill my coffee as I reached for it in an attempt to distract myself from crying [again] at Starbucks. I knew that what on Monday I decided not to write about, today I needed to write about. I was back in one of “those moments” needing to come back again because I went away again.
My sin, my iniquities…
“like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.” Psalm 38:4b
“I am feeble and crushed. I groan because of the tumult of my heart.” Psalm 38:8
“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me.” Psalm 38: 9-10a
Utterly aware of my weakness and need to return, I was reminded of last night’s conversation with my friend and able to process how far away from chaos God has taken me, how much He’s done. I have been released. I wrote on the coffee and tear stained pages of my journal, “Why do I live in THAT [chaos, lacking control, the past, being characterized by who I was and how I was raised and how I should have turned out] place when You have brought me so far?! I am released to run after You!”
“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15
“I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.” Psalm 38:18
And then Ellie Holcomb’s song Marvelous Light in perfect timing had it’s turn on shuffle and filled my ears with even more applicable truth.
“I am not who I once was, define by all the things I’ve done [and things I used to believe]. Afraid my shame would be exposed. Afraid of really being known. But then you gave my heart a home. From fear of shame into the hope of life.”
Friends, we are released! Free from shame, free from the past, free from lies. Yes, we mess up and need to come back often, but we’re free! We GET to come back. We are released to run after Him!