The grace to get well, have you given yourself that gift? Or perhaps you’re like me, and you do not know how. I have walls, confusion, uncertainties, disappointments, chaos, and hurts in my life. I do not like to admit it because I almost feel guilty saying it since mine aren’t the glaringly obvious kind. They are the deep-rooted, hard to see kind which, I’ve been told, are just as important to deal with.
God has brought a tremendous amount of healing, freedom, and deliverance to my life. There is radical joy and peace in my life. But there are also dark areas, areas labeled “work in progress”. I am a work in progress. I am not done. I am nowhere close. I do not have it all together. There are many areas in my life marked “to be determined’. I need to embrace that. I need to extend myself grace to be okay with that. I am human. I am imperfect. I will never be “finished” and I certainly won’t “arrive” either. I am in process (I know that). I will always be in process (I know that, too). Yet, sometimes I forget that and in forgetting that, I forget to give myself the grace to get well. To simply be. Be in process. Be imperfect. Be uncertain. Be still. But how can I be still, when there is still so much junk swirling around in me?
I struggle with the lie that I have to clean myself up, get myself right, before God can use me, meet me, love me. The more I walk with Him, the more I understand the error in that thinking. His only requirement for me is to look to Him. Let Him in. To trust His love. The love that gave up heaven to be with me. I know these things, but knowledge and the action to walk in that knowledge are two different things. I have tender spots in my heart that I hide from Him. Things I try to tidy up before giving it to Him. Most of the time, I don’t even know what “it” is that I’m dealing with. That’s part of the lie too. I’m quick to self-diagnose and think I know exactly what I need or what the process looks like, but in truth, I have no clue. But I know the One who does, yet I’m hesitant to invite Him into the deepest parts because I do not even know what’s there.
God is not a God of neat and tidy. No matter how much I would like Him to be. It’s messy walking with God. Really messy. Read any story in the Bible. Even when God told them how it would go, the process was so much messier than the promise. The children of Israel leaving Egypt, the plagues, the death of the first born? Messy. Joseph’s journey from the pit to the palace? Messy. David’s route from the shepherd field to the throne? Complete mess. And the mess continued even after he gained the throne!
Our humanity is messy. MY humanity is messy. But God is not afraid of our mess. He is not afraid of our fears, our disappointments, our questions, our wounds. He’s not afraid of the dark places in our heart that we’ve walled up and attempted to hide. That even now, when we don’t even know what’s behind those walls, He’s not afraid. He knows. And He loves us all the same, desperately desiring to break those walls down to let more of His love in.
“Let love in.” That simple phrase spoken to me recently penetrated my heart in a series of thoughts and questions. “Let love in, I have, haven’t I? What does that even look like? Oh wow, there are areas I haven’t. How do I allow Him behind the walls in my heart?” I was suddenly so aware of the walls in my heart that just moments earlier I didn’t even know were there. I don’t even know what’s behind those walls and I am not even really sure I even want to know. But God knows and He’s kindly and gently asking for the opportunity to come into that place to allow Him to uproot the lies, heal the hurts, remove the disappointments, and walk us out of those dark spots as we grow in the understanding of the Father’s heart and His love.
My next thought was “How do I get rid of this and do so quickly?” Ha, insert laughter! It’s not going to be quick. It’s not going to be easy. And it’s certainly not going to be at the work of my hands. God is the only one who can handle this. And He is not in a hurry. He is not rushing to get to some finished version of me. He’s wanting to meet me in the middle of this and take as much time as it needs. Little by little to possess the land. He wants me to get to know Him in the process, get to know myself.
The only way to get to know yourself is to get alone with God. In the stillness, we find Him. In the quiet, we find Him. And as we find Him, we begin to find ourselves. Our true selves. The ones we were created to be before the junk of the world clogged up areas of our hearts and minds. But, we cannot keep our normal pace and get to know Him at greater depths, get to know ourselves. Part of the way I wall myself off to the love of God is by not allowing Him space to move in. Busyness keeps me from the love of God. The Son of Man came to serve, not be served and I am to imitate Him so I use that as an excuse to not slow down. But Jesus also modeled rest, He also showed taking time to be alone with the Father. He withdrew often. His process was quicker because He was perfect. I am not perfect. My time alone with God will look different, take longer, but be just as important. But will I allow myself the space to get well? Will I extend myself the grace to get well? Will I give myself permission to be in process and not be perfect? Am I willing to do what it takes to allow Him in? Will I say no to the demands of life (good things- ministry, family, friends, work, whatever) to deal with the demands of my heart?
My freedom, my deliverance, my healing is a journey. As is yours. It will be ongoing for as long as we are on this earth. We need to be okay with that. We need to rest in that. As much as we may want to know the specifics, we don’t need to know. Jesus is the way. He is the only way. We simply need to invite Him in, responding to His invitation to show us the way. To show us Him. The process is beautifully painful and absolutely purposeful. Because the purpose is to know Him. Jesus is the journey. I like the beauty much more than the hard stuff, but God meets us in the hard stuff as much as, if not more than, the beautiful times. As I heard recently, “You can’t ever know God is near to the brokenhearted unless you’re brokenhearted.” We can’t truly know any aspect of God’s character until we experience it ourselves. And it is through our experience, through the process, that we gain insight into His ways and will.
So how do you give yourself the grace to get well? I don’t know. I know where to start, though, I say “yes” to Him for the deeper work He wants to do. And that’s all I know for now. I am going to have to be okay with that. I am giving myself permission to embrace the unknown. I am giving myself permission to say “No” to life around me. I am giving myself permission to be messy. I am giving myself permission to be in process and not have all the answers. And I am giving Him permission to come into all of it and show me the way.