Life, you are one sneaky son of a bitch… you make fools of us sooner or later.
In an article written by Sr. Maris Stella, SV of the Sisters of Life, she wrote, “Imagine walking down a spiral staircase into your own heart.” The staircase will have all your fleeting pleasures, distractions, memories, past failures, anxieties, your thoughts and ideas for the future, your trauma’s, and just everything hanging around as you walk by. The spiral staircase highlights the ability for you to see some moments over and over again, but eventually going further enough will solidify you on solid ground of sorts. Take away everything you have and what’s left?”
At this point, it should be God and here He loves to dwell within you. THIS is what you can get right when nothing else is going for you.
Life has taught me, yet again, that when I try to give up cookies and donuts for my health I can’t do it. Life has taught me, endlessly, that I still yell and whine around my family when I am mad. And of course, that when I meet a cute boy, I get all head-over-heels.
If I don’t make room for God to dwell in me, deeper and deeper, if I don’t let Him touch my weaknesses and faults, or allow Him to crash my idols, I will never encounter Him and let Him heal the parts of me that are so crucial to my identity.
Instead of guarding, grasping, and holding onto my past relationships, memories, jobs, or pleasures, I introduce them to God because they are too painful for me to hold sometimes. I present them to Him, show them in raw honesty and say, “Help me, please,” and let the voice of truth, wisdom, and love speak for itself (quietly and slowly) as I live each day.
A part of my heart seeks peace and true freedom to be myself, to live fully and abundantly. This use to be rest in having job security, relationship status, movement towards my vocation, or great friends, but not anymore. True freedom desires nothing more than a smooth effortless walk throughout my days without one cloud of anxious thoughts wallowing around me.
Without a loud head of lies screaming at me saying,
“you’re not enough.”
“that was your fault.”
or “don’t try because you will fail.”
A day without a situation weighing me down. Not surrounding myself around mindless conversations of gossip and judging. To not care so much about how perfect I do something, but to just enjoy doing it.
Walking with Jesus in His passion means waking up to my own realities. My ideas of perfectionism shatter and my ideals about relationships and family-life purify cause, guess what, family and friends do hurt you more than anyone else sometimes.
My thoughts on everything from food to chastity to work to yoga pants to Instagram and more has only evolved through surrender of my ways and openness to Jesus’ ways.
Jesus’ ways are nothing more than courageous nights of sobbing myself to sleep because I finally opened up to Him and letting Him ask me the deepest questions of my identity…sifting out lies, fears, and compromises only making more room for limitless love instead.
There is so much healing needed now and to come. Deeper encounters in Jesus’ arms can last 30 days, they can last five years. It is like a body cleanse, it gets all the junk out and let’s us reset ourselves. Usually, after the cleanse, we are changed, purified, and make new lifestyle decisions.
Jesus can’t take back Calvary — it is finished — and we are invited to reap what He sowed. Jesus chose to have a human heart that aches for you forever. We are invited to take our experiences, our memories, our hurts, and failures and unite it to the His strength where it belongs to be carried and where it painfully undergoes a huge amount of painful suffering, dies, and is later brought back to life.
I’ve experienced Jesus take my own ideals of sex, of people, of judgments, of food, of my image, of my idols (which you can read in other letters) and break them down painfully, only to restore them beautifully and lovingly.
He heals: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and all we have to do is offer faith.
Lastly, life has taught me that the root of all my weaknesses and sufferings lingers in the ache of loneliness. I fear certain situations because I am afraid no one will have my back. I hold out on friends because I have been hurt before. etc.
This lonely ache comes up every day and every day I am surprised to find that my deepest desire still is to be known and loved and heard, noticed, appreciated, seen, welcomed, understood, and desired. I want to know what I do matters, what I say is taken seriously, and that my stories are meaningful. What’s changing are the ways I find satisfaction to these desires through a relationship with Jesus.
I pray, laugh, and cry thinking, “wow this has been a messy life—I need to shape up!” But if Jesus is who He says He is (and to this I believe) than I know Jesus’ reply is, “you already are shaping up because you’re willing to work hard against the evil in this world and what it does to you.”
The hope Christians have during life is that Jesus isn’t going anywhere and He did us a great, insurmountable sacrifice. I take what He’s done for me with me and keep close to Him. This life with Him gives me the grace of being honest and humiliated. I can admit my disappointments, my sadness, my shame, and my wrongs and let Jesus hold them, see them, SEE ME, and make moves changing me and drawing me out of them. He doesn’t run away when He see’s them or me. The opposite, actually, He takes them right out of my hand and says “mine. this one is mine. Let me handle this one.”
The beauty of life is that in the misery I experience I still desire for my identity to evolve beautifully and to have purpose. That is a lot more effective that giving up soda and chips for 40 days. And to get to that involves change and lots of it. Hell wouldn’t be the place I get punished for not being “holy” and “perfect,” but the place I go to stop loving, being honest and real, falling entirely into purposelessness…
which ultimately means having no Savior… which I realize is how half the world lives.
Life, you humiliate me to the point of admitting that yes, I do need a Savior.
Be honest with yourself,
an old perfectionist