One of the biggest lessons I have been learning over the last 2 years is that sharing different struggles, while it often does bring light to the matter and bring a sense of healing for myself, it does a lot more. I have learned that sometimes the bigger picture and reason for sharing is that someone else needs to know, someone else needs to feel like they are not alone in the struggle, or that it might give someone else a small bit of hope to hold on or the courage to reach out.
One thing that has been a struggle on and off for me is self-injury, particularly with cutting. This is something that as I have gotten older I have probably hidden more because it seemed like something I should have outgrown, or should have found a better way to deal with it. But, the reality is that is not the case, it is a coping mechanism, and was a quick way to deal with the stresses and hurts of life. While, I understand that this is not a healthy way to cope, in the moment, even if it is just for a moment it is a way that had proven to be effective. I share this so that if there is someone reading this who struggles with it, they realize they are not alone. And for those of you who don’t or can’t understand it. Just know it’s something that can be hard to understand even in the midst of it. I want to share this because this week I have taken a huge step and it is through the grace and power of God that it happened.
On Wednesday morning I got rid of all the things I have ever used to for this. Now, I have done this in the past, but this time I got rid of the one I have held onto since I was a teenager. It was one I could not part with, it was like a security blanket if you will, a way to know that it was always there just in case I changed my mind. This time, I wanted it to be different, this time I didn’t want a way back to this habit, to this dark place that I keep hidden and to myself. The difference this time was the beckoning of the Holy Spirit, not that the Holy Spirit hadn’t led me to this spot before, but it wasn’t until now that I was listening and seeking the Holy Spirit in this struggle.
I was reading about Jesus calling the disciples and there is something in common whenever someone in the Bible is called. They live with abandon, they give up their lives and leave, immediately following Jesus, completely walking away from their old life. Now that doesn’t mean that they don’t ever turn away from God, but in that moment they completely abandon and walk away. First, I was reading Matthew 4:18-22
” As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
Notice the language there “at once” and “immediately” it doesn’t say they made a plan, it doesn’t say they safely stored their nets and boats, it says they left it all behind and followed him. In Luke 5:10-11 it states:
“Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”
They left everything.
Sitting there after reading that I knew what I needed to do. I knew that my next step in my relationship with Jesus was to give up something that I had held on to for too long. Not only was it me giving up an item that I kept for my own security it was a response to God stirring in my heart. It way a way to say I am going to follow you and that means I am going to give up my old life. Because Jesus you are worth it. I see His love all around through people, in creation, in the opportunities that are before me. And if the disciples gave up their livelihoods for him, and if Jesus gave up his life for me, then surely I can give up this struggle. And so I did.
The most beautiful part is, there was an overwhelming peace that I felt when I made this decision. I felt like a conqueror. I knew that this is what it means to be empowered by God to face a wordily struggle that is temporary and of this world. Tell me where else would I find a God who wants what is best for me? Who gives so freely and simply wants my heart focused on him and nothing else? This is the beauty of being a daughter of the one true King. I get an opportunity to be made whole in the midst of my brokenness and there is no shame in that. In fact I can take this struggle, one that is filled with a lot of shame and guilt, and because of Jesus’ love, the working of the Holy Spirit and God’s plan I can boast and rejoice. Yet again my God shows that he will never fail me and will come to my rescue. I only have to listen and be willing to lay it down at his feet. There is no greater love than this.