I feel ready to lay this down. This is the beginning of that process.
At the beginning of this semester, I had just come out of the best, most transformational year of my adult life. It was so transformational because about this time last year, after one of the first group meetings in my Counseling Theories course, I realized I had a decision to make: I could either continue to hide who I truly am, being afraid to be wrong, afraid to get stung, or I could take a risk and step out speaking from what I truly feel and believe, where I was at, and see what happens. So, in class the next week, God, knowing who I truly am I wanting so desperately for me to be known as He made me, gave me that opportunity when my professor called on me to ask what I felt about the discussion. I took that moment to express exactly who I was and instead of condemnation or uncomfortable looks, I recieved much affirmation from my classmates. They may have not known how big that moment was, but it was huge, and from then on I decided to do that as many times as I could take.
The results were indescribably good. I had not felt more alive since before I started high school. However, because I decided to engage as much as could, I reached the end of my winter break, turning 30 on January 17th, and realized I was impossibly exhausted. I was in no way ready to continue anymore transformation. I had also completed my first client case load in the previous semester, and was experiencing what many in the helping profession call “compassion fatigue,” because I had not rested well throughout that time.
Like many, I am very accustomed to transition and/or destructive chaos, and very much like in Shawshank Redemtion, I don’t know what life is without being “imprisoned” and tend to return there soon after doing all the “digging” to be free. So, when this semseter started, coupled with misunderstanding a biblical passage, wondering if all my experiences with God were something I had basically hallucinated, and being afraid of the new opportunity to be genuinely restful, peaceful, and healthy, I decided to pretend like the world didn’t exist and I almost completely fell out of life until I realized it was Spring Break last week.
In essence, I lost faith and the confidence in who I truly am with Christ. What I’m choosing to lay down is the guilt I feel that comes largely from the way I treat myself or others when I am living apart from that, which I believe to be what Richard Rohr calls the false self. I really dislike the way I experience life in that state, but I often decieve myself that it will be different this time, or it wasn’t really so bad last time, or sometimes I even wonder if it’s neccesary to retrun to that place sometimes. But the truth is I probably would’ve been ok if I had decided to faithfully trust God’s goodness and engage rejuvinating rest in God’s presence rather than let my fear run me when I encountered new territory. But this has been my consistent cycle of growth and I decided to go with what was familiar.
Last semester, I came to the conclusion that life, or a walk with Christ, is about growing. which means always taking scary risks. But after this time through the cycle I’ve learned that following Christ through life can also mean authentically resting in God’s presence, and faith will still carry you through that process. Which ultimately means I don’t ever have a true reason to fear being who I am in Christ and living in the Way that He meant for us to live.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope it’s encouraging for your journey.