As I Am? Seriously?

27 Mar

I love Henri Nouwen. I feel like he’s talking to me, even though he’s no longer here. His book, “The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom” is one of my favorites. I can pick it up when I’m feeling terribly ashamed or guilty or incomplete and it reminds me to relax and breathe. It reminds me that there is a God who loves me and I can rest in that. Not always easy for a recovering perfectionist.

He writes: “Do not despair thinking that you cannot change yourself after so many years. Simply enter in to the presence of Jesus as you are and ask him to give you a fearless heart where he can be with you. YOU cannot make yourself different. Jesus came to give you a new heart, a new spirit, a new mind, and a new body. Let him transform you by his love and so enable you to receive his affection in your whole being.”

“As you are.” Wow. As I am? Then I think, “But I’m flawed. I judge myself a lot. I don’t love people well. I try too hard. I fall short. I don’t know how to not try,” and many more harsh thoughts from my inner critic. What if “as I am” is uncomfortable or awkward? When will I ever be okay with “as I am”? It still feels like work. I’m really diligent when I work hard. I don’t always finish what I start, though. I know that. Sometimes it keeps me up at night.

How do I rest? How do I let go of control and let myself be transformed? Some days are harder than others. Like today. If I’m honest, today is a hard day to trust. Today I’m having a hard time believing. It’s as if in an instant I can forget whose I am. I can forget that this isn’t about the striving and struggling. It’s about freedom. It’s about resting in who I am and was created to be. I’m taking a few breaths. Drying a few tears. Giving myself the pep talk I need to move forward.

I’ve asked friends to remind me of who I am, who I’ve become, who they see. I’m pretty biased when it comes to all of those questions and not in the best way. “Committed to growing.” “Dedicated.” “Courageous.” “Strong.” “Beautiful.” “Lovable”. I ask God what he thinks and he reminds me that he loves me and is jealous for my attention. He tells me he’s going to calm my fears. And I still wait on him. I’m patient to wait. Even in the desert, I wait. I don’t believe in random coincidences. I think there’s a plan. I don’t always think I’ll understand it, but I believe that there is one.

“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.”

I’m in the desert. He’s speaking to me. He won’t leave me or forsake me. God loves me right here right now no matter what. To me, that’s comforting.

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