August 7, 2015
I have found that unless a writer has inspiration, finding a direction for a piece is excruciating. Hours will be spent milling over some nonsense paragraph. Words and phrases will be scrutenized for far too long and the overall concept of the work will be lost to the little things.
Near the end of my first semester of college, I believed that this summer would be the key to igniting the spark that had been lost when I moved away from Papua New Guinea. As June neared, I realized that I was not prepared for the dreams I had set in motion all those months ago. I battled with health problems and my concentration was far from where I trusted it would be. It was then I became fully aware of my own fragility; falling apart became a daily occurance. I jumped from medication to medication, hoping that one, or some combination, would bring me back to where I was in Ukarumpa. In the meantime, my grades were plummeting and my internship in Orlando, Florida fell through the cracks. Numberous job offers went unanswered or rejected. It was devastating to realize that the Me in Papua New Guinea was unrecoverable. For much of the summer, I wedged myself in between the four corners of my room and my inescapable mind.
It's all quite dramatic, I know. But I only say these things because I hope that someone, somwhere will be encouraged by the endgame at the conclusion of this article.
When I asked God to "change me" in the beginning of the year, I never expected to feel like I had been changed for the worst. I was hurt and painfully insecure, what kind of transformation does that?! Since my transition out of missionary life, my existance consisted of these "changes" that destroyed who I thought I was before. I felt my worth slipping away as I fell deeper and deeper into depression. I wanted my summer to mean something, to perhaps, make up for the loss I had created for myself as I let my internship go. Problem was, I couldn't. Getting out of bed was a task in itself.
It wasn't until two weeks ago did I begin to realize that all this mumbo jumbo couldn't all be as hopeless as I made it out to be. It was a day when I had a hankering for McDonald's snack wrap (or glorious grease and carbs, how you saved my soul) near one of my mom's favorite stores. LifeWay is a small, nook-and-cranny Christian bookstore that just so happened to be the catalyst for God's still, small voice. I walk into this tiny store and my kid-in-a-candy-store eyes come out and it's quite brilliant. Even though I have always had a hard time finishing books (it's ironic, as a writer and all), I love the smell, and the sound of a brilliant writer's words are my favorite. I walked around for a few minutes before finding a spot (I literally sat down at this point) and began flipping through the different books on display. From fiction novels to biographies and self-help collections, I read.
But it was only one in particular that really caught my eye.
In it, God spoke to me. The first words in this book convinced me that I am still a woman full of purpose, love and life, despite all of my recent incapacties.
Be prepared to be blown away:
Psst....pull up a chair and I'll tell you a secret. You'd better lean in close for this one.
You don't have to do more, be more, have more...You should probably hide this book when you're in-laws come over. And this could be the makings of a Sunday scandal.
But it's true.
This is the kind of true that will change your life, set you free, and make you up smiling for the first time in a long time.
This is an excerpt for Holley Gerth's You're Already Amazing.
As I reread this passage, I realize that this is what my parents and my church have been telling me the whole time: in God, I am worthy. Heck, it's even what I said in the last post, "in God, I am enough." But truthfully, I still know exactly why I loved it so much, and ultimately why I bought the book.
It forced me to as the question: what does it even mean to be worthy?
Knowing what my interpretation of the word means versus what God defines it as, has turned the past several months on its head. I have always been a task-oriented person, focused more on the next step than the day I am living. I look so far ahead, I forget to live in the moment I am given. I have convinced myself that the more things I do, the more commitments I make, I will increase my worth. To God, yes, but in all honesty, the world applies here too. It is paralyzing to think of how people's opinions scare me. "Worthiness" can vary from anything from appearance, to preparedness, to aspirations. It exhausting and terrifying, and it is inevitable that one day, the mask will begin to slip.
I have never felt good enough, for anything or anyone, and with the mask, it is on me to make the oh-so-convincing excuses. Why can't you understand this? Why are you so jittery all the time? How are you even a college student? The I'm-too-different-to-act-like-other-people is a common one, limiting myself to the infamous Box of Mosts. True worth is discussed in Holley Gerth's book, bringing everything I have ever thought about normalcy, purpose and passion to a screeching halt.
"Most people don't do what you do, love what you love, feel the kind of passion you feel about that thing...If most people don't do what you do, and you're passionately pursuing Jesus with your life, then it's probably not just a human plan. The heartbeat of God is probably somewhere within it. We need you, just you, to fulfill that purpose, complete that project, bring that gift to the world in a way no one else can.
Most people don't...but you do."
I don't know about you, but when I read this, my whole world shifted a little. God doesn't need us, he chose us. He chose us because He knows we can. Because of this, the world needs us. To be us. To be our own selves. His "chosen" brings hope to the world that desperately needs God. It is only because we are so incredibly different from one another, does this work at all. The body of Christ can't work as a bunch of thumbs. We weren't meant to be a community of "mosts", we were meant to build a home for those who can't, all with a Kingdom Purpose.
"Most people don't build an ark.
Most people don't lead people through the desert to the Promised Land.
Most people don't die on a cross to save the world."
Why is it that we live in a world that promotes the Individualistic Same when we were hand-crafted to stand out?
Maybe it's okay that the Unrecoverable Me has been left in the past, because maybe - just maybe - I'll have room to become something greater.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.