Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Return to Me

It's complicated.

In the past 30 years or so, I failed to develop much in the way of self worth. I learned how to fake it, a smile and a happy heart.  But secretly I believed that I only had what I had because I'd managed to trick people into thinking that I would be a good wife, good mother and good employee - and if I was good enough, I would be able to hold it together. This is the story of how it all fell apart.

In June of 2013 I walked away from my teaching job utterly broken. I felt like I had lost everything. I lost teaching at a school I loved because people who I trusted, who told me they loved my Jesus, lied and summarily brought down not only my little world, but everything I felt I knew about myself. I felt like if I wasn't a popular teacher, admired by my students, in my safe little school, then who was I? I felt worthless, a burden on everyone around me, and I was scared. It was like I could sense crisis looming, like watching a dam bulge right before it bursts, and trying to plug my fingers and toes into the leaks to hold it together.

In my haste to put off living without a job, I grabbed onto the first easy solution that came my way - and though I was blessed yet again in meeting good people, I felt like I was suffocating in my own insufficiency. When that job ended harshly and abruptly, and I was rejected for a job that I thought was perfect for me, it seemed to confirm every insecurity I had about myself.  See, this is exactly what you deserve, you heard what they said - they called you ineffective, worthless, insignificant, unimportant, talentless, unlucky, and lost.

And the question that haunted me: If you aren't a teacher then who are you? 

Not Good Enough.
I believed it all, and I was so angry. The anger started to spill over into my marriage, my family, and I didn't know how to stop it. I was jealous when people told me that they'd been blessed, and I demanded to know why God loved them more than me. I cried, and raged, and felt sorry for myself - and when I realized that wasn't working, I decided to see if there was any stock in this relationship with God. I had to come from a place where I actually prayed, God - you get me the interview and I will do the rest, to a place of complete reliance on him. I thought that if I didn't bother God too much, we could stay a respectful distance away from each other, and I wouldn't have to be hurt if he didn't hold up his end of our relationship. 

The problem was, I had to make a heart change, and from here I can say - not only has it been slow, it's ongoing.

In October 2013 I had a breakthrough. I was sitting on the couch watching a Bible study on TV with Beth Moore, and felt God's presence so strongly. I had the impression that he was sitting there with me. Beth Moore was speaking and said - You think you are waiting on God, when in reality what you are waiting for is an event. Those words struck me like someone physically knocked the air out of me. It was true. I was sitting around begging God for a new job because THAT was what would fix all of my anger, resentment and feelings of worthlessness. I wanted to put a bandage on a broken arm.  That realization was exhilarating, I was finally ready to do the work I needed to do, on myself, and I could finally see my "current season of unemployment" as an opportunity to do just that. I started having a counseling session once a week and changing the way I did life.

As a person, I DID have worth.
Confronting pain in the past moves you forward in the future.
I could rest in the love of God, because I was valuable to him.
I hadn't irrevocably screwed up my kids or husband - there was still time.

I don't have it all figured out, I still experience anxiety and the temptation to go back to where I was, to revisit who I was, but God changed things for me. I could rest in him, I could Trust in the Lord with all of (my) heart, and lean not on (my) own understanding, in all (my) ways acknowledge him, and he would direct (my) paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 I think that the little victories come day by day, as I realize that this walk is about Christ, and not about me.  I can revel in his love for me, and share his love with others.

God heard me. He gave us our beautiful daughter S, and just when I wasn't expecting it - he answered my prayers.  God provided me with the right job at the right time.  He fulfilled the desire of my heart to work at Kings, and I know that I can rely on him in all things. He does have a good plan.

So, as someone wise once said, sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together, under the care of a God who loves so much.


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