I have been on an inward journey the past three years. It has been a season of self-examination and seeking God. The God I knew no longer fits the box I made for him.
Sometimes I resist God, backing away from this deeper intimacy with him because it hurts and I’m afraid. What if he engulfs me and I lose myself?
I find out I’m not so good. I’m not so smart. I’m seeing my motivations like never before and they aren’t so pure.
I wrap my robes of goodness about me. I work at self-control and control of my world to appear perfect. I thought my theology was good and that my life experience made me wise. Instead, I discover I am not good enough and I don’t have all the answers.
I feel lost. It’s where I am some days.
Church feels dry, my relationships feel off and it seems I don’t quite meet expectations. This is hard for a redeemed people-pleaser.
My grandbaby, Mandy, is a relief. Her smallness and dependence, her curiosity and play console me. I love experiencing the world again through Mandy. Her smell, her snuggles, her little hands tangled in my hair while she falls asleep tenders my heart. Her smiles and giggles tickle me. No expectations. No performance. Just loving “withness” as I delight in her and her discovery of her world.
I embrace my own smallness and lean into Holy Trinity, knowing they delight in me and in my discovery. I believe they are at work in my dark soul shadows, uncovering stuff for me to deal with to make room in my heart for God.
Our home building project is another welcome distraction, yet I know it won’t fix my restlessness. Perfect relationships won’t fill my soul. A wonderful, fulfilling career won’t either.
I’m beginning to get it. Only God.
I long to love God with all my heart and serve my neighbor motivated by that same love.
The wonderful freedom in all of this is that I don’t have to fix myself. I don’t have to work harder or tighten my mask of goodness. I place myself before God in prayer, not demanding anything, simply trusting, knowing he is present and at work no matter what I am feeling. My job is to be present, to wait and keep my heart open to God.
Perhaps this losing my self is actually more about being found.
Photo credit: Deb Turnow
Melanie Horning is a brand-new Grammy looking at life with fresh lenses through a baby’s eyes. She enjoys books, a good laugh, running with her husband and soft-serve ice cream. God is redeeming her perfectionism and control issues. She counts it a privilege to be a companion to people through spiritual direction and friendship.