Jean, you said and I quote, “He knew me before He knit me in my mother’s womb and so He knew I would be a great part of His plan and bring Him extreme glory. How then can I want to be like someone else?”
Does that position and thought still stand?
Let’s take that thought further.
How did you move from that spoken word to living its reality?
It was hard at first because I had to accept who I am and learn to love me as me.
Didn’t you love yourself?
I thought I did but as I looked inward and saw all the things I didn’t like or wanted to change I realised that some of it was based on self-hate and the influence of listening to others say this thing or look is better than that one and so on.
Self-hate is a strong word…are you sure that is what you want to use?
I actually can’t be any clearer than that. The things I hated about me were more than the ones I loved and so in this case self-hate is the ideal word.
You know we never had much growing up but we never went hungry either.
I know that.
You also know that I never lacked friends.
Yes I do!
You also know how we had to juggle so many things with so little that it was a miracle that we even had the kind of life did.
The miracle is that God always provided and extended what you had.
True! While on the outside I seemed fine with how my life was, on the inside I always wondered what was wrong me with that I was born on this side of the track. I didn’t like that we had so little that every move was planned and I wished my life was different. So I learnt to look bigger and better than I actually was and for a long season that worked. Kind of like ‘fake it till you make it’ but way off target because I wasn’t making it anywhere.
I wanted to be prettier, richer, more popular, have deeper insights, be wiser, more confident, just more of everything and God was not complying. One day, I was listening to my friends discuss being authentic. The gist of the discussion was that we all had to find who were really are at the centre and then live true to that. Most of them agreed that our centre is based on what we believe and what faith we live out. When I looked at my internal state of affairs I had to admit I wasn’t sure who I was under all the things I didn’t like and it led me to look even deeper within. I needed to find what I didn’t like and find a way to deal with it. I then realised that I had to deal with my whole life, one part at a time. I had to get to the root me and why I was created or I would be faking for the rest of my life and that was something I wasn’t ready to do.
Was it easy?
The hardest part of the process was facing myself! I had to look in the mirror of life and truly see me; all stripped down with no makeup and barriers; just see it all as it was. I liked some things but as I dug deeper I found that under the outer layers of perceived balance there were things I didn’t like or want to deal with at all. I walked away several times but over and over again these areas would come to the surface and finally I had to deal with them.
What did you find under the surface?
Oh Papa…I found I was proud, I was self-serving, I wanted the easy and simple life, I didn’t want to share, I wanted everything to myself but most scary was that I was angry with you.
Wait, wait, wait…why were you angry with me?
Papa, you live your faith so easily! You often said that following God is simple yet it was absolute rocket science for me. You would say things like ‘Just trust God,’ as if it was ever that simple. You would ask…’What is God saying?’ as if I even knew.
But you never said this to me…
How could I? I wanted to be the perfect child and not the one who rocks the boat with all the mad questions. Not the one who falls flat on their face…I didn’t want to be the idiot child. I just wanted to be perfect.
You know I would love you even if you are the idiot child?
I know papa, but I wanted to make you proud. I just didn’t want to be judged as having a slower mental process.
Baby girl, you know I am not the one you should want to make proud.
I know that now! However, back then it was a different story!
Do you think I would judge you?
Wouldn’t everyone? Everyone around you seemed to get and apply things immediately and produce results shortly thereafter; but here I was quaking on the inside because I didn’t understand most things and I wasn’t bearing the same fruit as others. Here I was, trying so hard, listening so desperately and walking in such struggle when everyone around was saying that God was at work and He was doing this and that and the other.
What had you learnt to do?
I had learnt to talk the talk and seemingly walk in it but on the inside I knew it was empty… hollow…dry like the valley of dry bones.
How can you be dry bones yet you are in the middle of the community of faith?
I was just operating in the way I always had. I was used to being a Christian; I was used to putting on a front. I was used to being good and exhibiting behaviour but I didn’t realise that my faith was low. I did what I was raised to do. When things got hard, I simply declared and decreed, fasted and prayed and somehow things would work themselves out albeit for a short while. I did things because they were expected of me but not out of love for my king.
I lived without understanding that it was the love of God and my subsequent love for Him that would make that it possible for me to truly believe Him and then allow Him to work in, on and through me. I couldn’t produce results in any way or form if I didn’t love God first for who He is; then love myself as He created me and finally love others as He created them. I couldn’t do it any other way, no matter how hard I tried.