I have heard many a woman say that they began to finally feel "comfortable in their own skin" in their 30s. I think there is something to that.
Now, I am not one of those people who think that one's strength is found within themselves (as in - from themselves), because I strongly believe that my strength only comes from God. I am not one who feels that I need to "find myself", or any other combination of "we must love ourselves first" narcissism.
What I am saying is that I spent many long years battling an unhealthy lack of confidence. It was a malady that caused me to be stagnant in ministry and really hindered me from moving forward in several areas of my life.
There are certainly still threads of this insecurity/inadequacy/awkwardness that threaten my effectiveness in my daily life. But you know what? It's leaving me.
In 9 days I will be 31. Strange.
I feel so much like the excitement of entering my fourth decade was just days ago itself... but here we are.
I am at a place in my life where there is a new and exciting joy that has been growing within my heart. It has not been innate, but something that I have worked hard to nurture. Rephrasing: God has enabled me towards every ounce of nurturing this joy, which I know can only be found in him!
My friend Kristin recently loaned me the book, "Hinds Feet in High Places". In this Pilgrim's Progress-esque allegory the main character, Much Afraid, begins a journey towards the "High Places". She is so excited, and is under the impression that the "Chief Shepherd" will be going with her, in the flesh. He informs her that, although he will be with her, and she can call on him at any moment, he will be leaving her two guides who will assist her on this journey. She hopes her guides could have names like Peace, Joy... maybe something along those lines.
When he introduces her to her two guides, Sorrow & Suffering, she is very disappointed.
Annnnd at that point I almost put the book down.
a) Because I was disappointed as well
b) Because I had a sinking feeling that the book was going to go places I didn't want it to go
and c) Because sometimes truth hurts
As I continued through the story, cautiously reading each word, I could feel God's plan in having it in my hands.
Much Afraid began her journey, with these two unwanted guides, and stayed as far from them as she could. But then the way got much more difficult. When she got to a dangers precipice, she had to reach for their hands. As she drew nearer to sorrow and suffering, she could feel herself become stronger. They slowly began to be beautiful in her eyes. It took time, but they changed her.
There have been some things in my life that have caused me to have this floating question mark in my mind. I have glared at pain as if a worst enemy. But as I am reading this book, and as I read through the Bible chronologically, and as I devour other books and discover new songs this year, that question mark is being altered to look much more like a period, and instead of being an open ended, un-orderly wave in my brain, it is solidifying as a firm belief in my heart.
Yes, there has been pain in the past 31 years. Yes, my heart has felt rather shattered a time or two.
But more and more and more I am seeing it as unearthly beauty.
The process of pain,
and losing myself
is what is at the very core of this confidence and joy.
I am getting to know my Savior more and more. This is how he works.
It may seem backward and strange.
It may make us want to throw books :) and go into a place called denial.
But alot of what He does is hard to wrap our minds around.
They were looking for a king and they got, what appeared to be a man who was born with cattle and livestock as his welcoming committee.
Backward? It will seem that way to the world. But let His truth penetrate your heart.
It will produce joy that you never thought you could experience.
I can not wait to see where God takes me this year! There is nothing like being used by God.
I am looking up and telling Him I am ready.
Asking Him to use me.
Getting to know Him in a much more intimate way.
This is going to be an awesome year!
- And let me just say, I am so glad to have my laptop back so that I can blog through this next year and continue to use this as a means to remember the journey!