However throughout various seasons of my life there have been negative situations that have either been inflicted on me or I brought on myself have convoluted my perception of my own identity. Unfortunately sometimes people, even loved ones and friends, can distort one’s thoughts on our own identity.
My last post I mentioned how I managed to stay away from all the noise (gossip, drama and lies) by removing myself from most social situations including social media itself. The benefits of it not only allowed me to work on myself but it drew me so much closer to God over the past several months.This season of my life I have done some minor things, but things non the less that brought me both guilt and shame.
I struggled with allowing others, specifically loved ones, to tell me what shame and guilt was mine to own, indirectly how long I should feel the effects of my mistakes and constantly reminding me or others of my mistakes.
Unfortunately prior to removing myself from social media, social settings and distracting myself, I let other people define me.
I thought I “fixed” this in high school. I thought I “fixed” this at YWAM.
The truth is, life is a wave of various seasons that come with challenges.
A challenge I think our society primarily faces today is identity issues most likely due to poor up bringing, social media and lack of coping skills.
At age 25 I “lost” myself all over again and it’s OK.
For reasons that are irrelevant to this post, are reasons that explain why I’ve struggled for most of my life with self esteem and self respect.
Unfortunately those issues have hindered me from associating my identity within Christ for a long, or better yet, a permanent duration of time.
I lost myself this season of life because I was accused of things that I didn’t do, I was called a liar when I hadn’t lied, I had things from many many years ago brought up and shoved into my face. I had people not take my side, I had people twist my words and alienate me.
The person all my experiences, good and bad, shaped me to be, all the times God had forgiven me, all the times I knew I wasn’t what I was being told, I actually allowed myself to identify with the labels people, loved ones and friends gave me.
I forgot about all the times I was forgiven, all the words God whispered to me that told me who I am, all the good things I had done throughout my life, the great person I actually am.
As a christian I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, he doesn’t want me, his child to feel shame, guilt and anguish.
He for sure wants us to feel a healthy amount of remorse when we have made mistakes. However once we ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven.
That’s something I forgot a few months ago.
It led me into a dark tunnel of feeling unnecessary things that weren’t healthy.
Again, as I spent more time reading my bible instead of watching Netflix, the more I exercised instead of going out with people, the more I sought counseling and healthy friendships instead of engaging with unhealthy people, the more Bethel music I listened to instead of anything else on Spotify, the more books I read, devotions I read, the more I journalled, the more I started to let what God says about me take precedence over what others not only thought of me, but labelled me as, was the more I found out who I truly am. I found myself.
It’s hard to let go of words people have spoken to you, it’s more hard to let go of words people have spoken against you, behind your back.
It’s sharp painful feelings that hit the heart, it gives butterflies (the bad kind), it inflicts anxiety, it makes you cry alone in your room, it makes you see in the mirror those words stuck on you.
However, letting go was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I no longer hear the broken record, the echo of the negative things spoken to me; liar, crazy, shameful, embarrassing, gossiper, bad wife, controlling, confusing, mean, fake, bad person, bad friend or gross.
I no longer live in those lies, instead I live in the truth, in God’s word.
It’s hard enough when people say harmful words, it’s even more hard when it’s a loved one.
We hope and probably subconsciously expect family and friends to be there no matter what.
We especially expect our church, friends and family that profess to be believers to not give into gossip, slander, hate, anger, lying instead have compassion, understanding, love, forgiveness, patience, kindness and all the other fruits of the spirit we as Christians should adopt or at least strive for.
The unfortunate truth is we cannot depend on anyone, friends, family or even our spouses.
The only constant and sure thing is God.
We cannot convict anyone of things, even if were right. It’s God’s job. Not ours.
I believe sometimes, as hard as it is to lose people for a duration of time, or life, is God’s way of removing toxic people from our lives, if we allow it.
This has not only been one of the darkest, but the loneliest seasons of my life.
The times I feel bitter towards God, the times I feel lonely and left out, the times I compare myself to others, the times I envy the season of life others are in, the times I am impatient and want him to reveal truths to people on MY timing to clear MY name, the times I want God to hurry up and fix the people that really need fixing, are the times where I have to stop myself and thank God.
I have to thank God for this season of my life, irregardless of the difficulties it ensues, for I would never have ever grown as deeply as I have with God had I not undergone this difficult season. God is a jealous God.
I would never fully know God the way I do now had I had all of my friendships, loved ones, comforts and distractions.
It makes me tear up that I was able to hear God through visions, words, scripture and song.
The timing of conversations, the way things were orchestrated was only by God’s doing. I hadn’t experienced that for years.
It’s sad, but it’s true.
Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.
It can be a good mindset for a duration of time.
Not engaging, explaining myself or defending myself is when I found hope, comfort and sheer joy with Christ.
Even if I had nothing to be joyful about, it was just being in God’s presence that made me feel safe.
God’s timing is perfect, I have no doubt about that. I have had things be revealed to me years later and it hurt.
I’ve had truths come out proving I was right months later, I’ve had justice served almost a decade later for something terrible done to me.
I still endure and encounter hate, bullying and negativity.
It’s easy to be frustrated that things aren’t happening when we want and how we want.
God knows everyone’s hearts far better then I do, again, his timing is perfect.
I don’t think God caused this season of my life and I don’t blame him.
I do however think he has turned a very negative situation and is using it for his glory.
Some people may always choose to label me.
Some people may never deal with the plank in their own eye.
Some people may never admit to having any faults.
Some people may sometimes be there for you, sometimes not.
Some people can be there for you until the going gets tough, then they go.
Some people choose to live in chaos, drama, gossip and are comfortable.
Some people distract themselves in order to not deal with their own situations.
Some people will always choose their wrong opinions over truth.
The list could go on about how some people can and unfortunately will be.
God however will always be stagnant, constant and forever.
The truth is some people aren’t emotionally equipped to handle certain things.
The opposite thing I can do, the very thing my instincts fight against, the thing that veers me in a very opposite direction is this; to forgive those who have hurt me, hated me, slandered my name, gossiped about me, assumed things about me, accused me of things, lied to me, haven’t been genuine, ignored me, bullied me and abused me.
The day any of the people that have hurt me, even if they cut me off for life, the day they undergo a difficult season, is the very time I will be there for them.
Society teaches us to “have respect” by cutting people off, not giving your “Energy” into too many people when they are in need, to “Stay out” of situations and let it “fix itself” , to gossip, to focus on superficial things and so on.
The bible teaches the opposite, even if people don’t live out how God intends, the best thing I or anyone who has undergone difficult seasons and hurt where God has stepped in and healed all the broken places of our hearts is to just love others.
Even if they weren’t there for you, even if they hurt you, it’s enacting the Christ like characteristic God calls us to.
It’s when we identify with Christ where we truly find our true selves.
I’ve come to terms with the fact I may forever have a spiritual “limp” something that forever identifies my journey. It’s unknown how it will appear either metaphorically or physically. It’s not meant to be a weakness, but rather a symbol and reminder that I am now different. I am me, a child of God.