I’ve rarely had such a month. A month where I’ve spent the entire time grubbing around in the inner workings of myself and trying to get to the nitty gritty of why I don’t work ‘properly.’ I’ve not been tinkering and tweaking, I’ve been embarking on a major strip-down and rebuild.
As we approach the last week in February I’ve learned an awful lot about myself on every level – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Having spent this time dragging everything out into the open, I have a clearer idea of the areas that still need attention.
This post might sound like something I might write on a Monday, on my Mother of Reinventions blog. Although I run three different blogs to separate out topics that people might be interested in, I don’t come fitted with such handy internal dividers. What affects me physically will have knock-on effects spiritually and emotionally. What affects me spiritually will affect the emotional and physical parts of me and what affects me emotionally has the capacity to wipe everything out.
I currently feel in a spiritually ‘low’ place. I don’t feel particularly Christian and there are times when I most certainly don’t act in a very Christian manner. But I’m not giving up, because I know that on 1st October 2001 I chose Jesus as my saviour and my status with God doesn’t waver like the tides of my moods, it’s fixed. As the wonderful words of Stuart Townend’s hymn ‘In Christ Alone’ go: ‘No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand.’ I may give up on myself from time to time, but God never gives up on me.
Rooting around in the (metaphorical) bowels of myself has brought to light a catalogue of atrocities, all committed against myself in my own head. If I spoke to anyone else in the way I speak to myself, I’d be up on a charge of emotional abuse and I’ve done it day in day out since I was seven years old. That’s 34 years of my life that have been ‘lost’ to low self-esteem.
I now have a clear plan of what I need to do to address it, but I’m not looking at those 34 years as ‘lost’ or wasted years. On the contrary, I have 34 years of experience of what it’s like being someone who mentally beats themselves up on a daily basis. I have experience of what it’s like to be depressed, severely overweight and battling esteem so low that it needs its own basement. I have experience of being made redundant (twice), of giving birth to a child with a cleft lip who needs surgery, of having an ectopic pregnancy and very nearly losing my life in the process.
There are many other things that I have knowledge and experience of, simply from just being me! And as if that wasn’t enough, God has equipped me with the talent to write about it and possibly help other people who are going through similar situations. I can use all this experience to help other people. Sure, there may be things in my life that I need to address, but I’m not lacking anything; God has given me everything I need to be me. I can’t be anyone else, I’m not supposed to be anyone else, I’m ‘perfect’ just as I am.
I attended a workshop today on building my self-esteem and self-confidence. During it I was asked to draw a picture of something that represented me. I drew myself as a flower bud, because right now that’s how I see myself. I have so much potential, but because of my 34 years of experience in beating myself up, I’m struggling to let myself burst into flower. The key difference is that I now know the potential is there. I don’t have to go out and search for it, everything God needs me to be is right here inside me. Anything else I need I know that he’ll provide, because God has an unblemished 41 year track record in that regard.
I’ve been in some dark places over the last 41 years, I may be internally as battered and bruised as a boxer who has gone a full twelve rounds in the ring; but I’m still here and there’s plenty still left in the tank.
If you’d have asked me two years ago to draw a picture of how I saw myself, I’d have drawn a half-dead plant; withering, perishing, better plucked out and thrown onto the bonfire.
Today I drew a bud.
…Check back in two years to see if I’m drawing the open flower.
“…Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.”
Isaiah 35:1-2 (NIV)