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Part 2

19 July 2013

Yesterday I took my formal parting from the imaginary young woman I’ve spent too long trying to become. I realized that, I think, there must be a thin line between inventing ourselves and discovering ourselves.

And I mentioned a couple of introspective walks.

On the first, I remember thinking at some point,

“I’m kind of melancholy.”

Not in that moment, just in general, and it was like a lightbulb turned on.

Part 2-2

I am not that girl who lights up a room. I’m not the one that’s always bubbly, or the one everyone hopes will show up at a party. Not because I’ve failed. Not because I missed some imaginary mark, or because I’m not good enough to be her … I’m just not her.

I’m just not. (Especially if I’ve been alone most of the day. This extrovert needs to bounce off other people something fierce.)

And that’s okay.

Not that I’m always sullen and morose. A lot of people who know me might argue, because I like people and I like crowds – they make me happy. But in general, if you saw me the rest of the day, I’m kind of like that. Ask my husband.

The second walk was a little more striking. 

First, a confession: I am a terrible disciple. I know I shouldn’t admit that, especially in writing, because I’m on staff at a church, but it’s the truth. I don’t read my Bible every day. Some days I hate prayer.

And I had let my relationship with the Lord slide for about the hundredth time that week, and I was pushing a sleeping baby in a stroller and choking up as I apologized again for my apathy and my hard heart and my general suckiness-at-being-a-Christian. And for the hundredth time that week I promised to do better.

When the still, small voice of the One who still somehow loves me broke through and whispered, “Just quit.”


Just quit.

Quit trying so much, so hard. Every time you try to do it, you fail.

But I know the sermons and I know the theology. Peter stepped out of the boat, and then he walked on water. The prodigal son walked home, and then the father ran to meet him. I have a part to play. I have a role in this. I won’t be the (spiritual) 30-year-old kid still living in my Father’s basement, mooching and loafing, expecting Him to do everything for me …

But Peter stepped out when he was called. And the prodigal returned home when he came to his senses.

And Peter took Jesus’ hand when he started to sink. And the prodigal didn’t refuse his father’s affection.

Do it because you’re called. Do it because you’ve come to your senses, and you love the Father’s love. Don’t do it because you have to do better. I would probably never preach this, but I think there’s a season for quitting, for letting go, for resting, for grace and nothing but grace.

Not that we can really quit our faith for a season when it gets hard, or let go of our God when we don’t feel like it anymore. Because real rest isn’t from Him, it’s in Him. Real grace doesn’t make excuses for ignoring His love, it draws us into His love. “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden,” comes at the end of the sermon that starts, “the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence …” I get that.

But real faith, and real grace, and real love are not homework assignments either. I can only love Him because He loves me, so if I’m finding it hard to come to Him, maybe it’s because I’m not letting Him love me.

Part 2

And last Sunday night, those two moments – and a couple more stressful evenings and at least one talk with my mommy – suddenly came together, and I slid out from under the weight of trying to force myself to be her and trying to make myself into what only He can make me.

How are you? If you need to formally say goodbye to the person you’re not, please feel free to do so here. (Or post it on your own blog, and link back to me so I can internet-high-five.) If you need to quit striving and rest in God’s grace, confess and do it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Shaun permalink
    19 July 2013 9:42 AM

    Lex, you have no idea how closely my conversations with God of late have paralleled your “discovery”. And I so agree with the revelation that if we are struggling to get close to God then maybe we are just not letting Him love us – maybe because we still feel like we aren’t that guy or that girl who is worthy to be loved by Him cause we just aren’t getting it all together. Thank you for the transparency. You helped one frustrated reader see much more clearly…Excuse me now, I have to go say goodbye to someone who has overstayed his welcome by three decades…

    • Lex permalink
      19 July 2013 11:53 AM

      So it’s not just insecure young women. 😉 Good to know. Thanks for the comment; it’s good to know I’m not alone.

  2. Chris Brewer permalink
    19 July 2013 11:15 AM

    Thank you for posting this article. Your honesty and integrity are so refreshing, and I absolutely relate to what you are saying.

    I often find myself behaving like Martha in Luke 10:38-42, busy ‘doing’, when God really wants less ‘doing’ and more ‘loving’.

    • Lex permalink
      19 July 2013 11:57 AM

      Thanks for throwing down. I think part of the trap is that it’s easy to feel like everyone else has it together, so it’s hard to admit I don’t.

  3. Mom permalink
    19 July 2013 2:16 PM

    Just remember, there is nothing you can ever do to “earn” the love and grace of Jesus. You are loved just as you are and what you have been and what you will be. Think of how you love your child and know that the Father loves you on a far grander scale.

    Those people that you think have it more together than you do just know how to hide the fact that they really don’t.

    • Lex permalink
      19 July 2013 5:38 PM

      I know. Sometimes it just becomes something I “know,” though and I need to really know it again. 🙂 (Fortunately I have a good mommy to help keep me on track.)

  4. 19 July 2013 10:54 PM

    *sigh* Amen.

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