2014 was the hardest year of my adult life. I had a problem and I didn't know it. Actually. I had a lot of problems and I didn't know it.
But they could almost all be summed up in a lifelong problem that cam to a glaring forefront in my life when the metal started grinding together.
I have a lot of trouble owning it.
I'm actually pretty comfortable with change, with ambiguity. My ENFJ designation almost always involves a description of "chameleon."
Yeah. Maybe not the most flattering label. But it's true. I go to where people are instead of standing where I am. And the few times I have ventured out of that model? Have been devastating and damaging.
But when you are raw to your bones and you can't meet people where they are at because you can't get out of bed. You learn to stand (or sit, or lie in the fetal position) right where you are at.
Because sometimes putting a label on it, makes you free.
Broken. At the beginning of this year I discovered that all the healthy food and working out in the world won't stop my body from breaking sometimes. I was walking around in broken haze , trying to carry the pieces with me. The raging hormones of Post Partum Depression had stolen my days. When I said, "I am broken." I got all freed up to get better. I got free.
Hurt. You hurt me. Those words are almost impossible to say, they make me vulnerable to people that may have already exploited that vulnerability. I walk around aching and trying to make everyone else feel better about it. When I said, "You hurt me." I got freed up to lay down that pain. I got free.
Sinner. I'm messing it up. I'm messing it up every day. But that one. When I own up to that one? I'm free to surrender that burden to a Savior that washes my messes clean. Every day.
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:34-36
When I say "I'm a sinner." I get freed up to enter a throne room of a Holy God waiting to take my burdens. I get free.
But putting a label on the bad things was just the beginning. Because sometimes putting a label on the good things? Or even just the things that are things?
It can free you up to move forward.
Enthusiastic. I'm a little embarrassed (yeah I see the irony) to say that I have spent most of my life trying desperately to play it cool. Turns out I have lived in a self-imposed oppression in an effort to not make people uncomfortable with my zeal. Should zeal be tempered with love? Absolutely. Should zeal be smothered under pillow until it results in an awkward facade of faking it? Absolutely not. So I said, "I care about this." I'm freed up to pour my whole heart into the thing that God has set before me. I get free.
Writer. It's just a tiny part of who and what God has called me too. But the other labels, Mom, Wife, Friend? They are a little easier to own up to. When the world is crashing around you and you are still feeling called to do something you have spent years considering superfluous, it's time to own it. Bad writer, good writer. Doesn't matter. I had to say it, "I'm a writer." And I got freed up to write about what I want to write about, free to try harder and buy the books that will help me get better. I got free.
Holy and Beloved. I love that one. Already. No trying or striving to get there. Already there. Holy and beloved.
"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." Colossians 3:12
And when I say it first thing in the morning. When I start by believing that at the beginning of my day. "I am holy and beloved." I am free to start setting down my insecurities and defenses and start living with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
I am free.