This week I’ve had a wake-up call.
Ground has shifted beneath my feet.
Stirrings sit uneasy in my soul.
The life I thought I knew has become redefined.
As I reflected long and prayerfully on what my ‘love idol’ might be and the overcoming of it, some things have surprised me.
When you live in Shadowlands of sickness and pain, attempting to recover from a painful past, it can be hard to see your way clearly.
Now I have insight I wish I’d known about before.
God has pointed His finger at the familiar ~ people approval issues, insecurity, concerns about not being ‘enough’, putting other people and things before Him, spending too much time on social media ~ all painfully true.
Then another idea wove its way into my mind, threaded through my thoughts, and caused me to unravel.
How do I perceive myself? As a believer who is overcoming a challenging present and a painful past by the grace of God?
Or.. as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer who is still cloaked in shame, buried beneath pain, consumed by cares, ground down by the gritty reality of daily life?
A pit dweller, wilderness wanderer, valley-living soul longing to see daylight, scale mountain peaks, rest easy.
Most of my days I aim to see glimmers of grace, maintain an attitude of gratitude, emphasise the positive.
But I still define myself as an ill person with problems ~ and that’s the problem.
God is showing me I’m actually halting my own healing and preventing His full work in me by not seeing myself as I am in Christ.
I’ve stopped praying and saying out my healing in Christ. I’ve believed the lie that this is as good as it gets. I’ve made it my identity.
It’s become an idol because it steals my joy, inhibits faith growing, reminds me of where I came from rather than where I am going to.
And it has to stop.
‘Living with shadows’
A wrongly assumed identity
of living with shadows and infirmity
Christ calls me to believe I’m set free
unchained, unmarked, untainted, liberated,
whereas I see myself caught, ensnared,
decimated by childhood abuse, illness, M.E
As if I wore a label belonging to another
instead of one provided by my soul’s Lover
Living with pain and chronic illness over many years,
observing my career, hopes and dreams slip away
trickling with my tears as water down the drain
nothing quite the same, only weakness and fears
I’ve worn it as a shroud, death mask, daily dress
instead of clothing myself in His robe of righteousness
Feeling insecure, dis-abled, incapable
when God has gifts He wants to bestow
I’ve failed to receive and accept them all
while my thinking is focused on being unwell
We can only grow when we are willing enough
to let go of all that’s slowly killing us
I can’t deny the physical reality of my life; it’s effects are ever-present. Loosing and letting go of the idea of myself as chronically sick won’t be easy.
All the evidence is before my eyes. And the past is still pervading my days with its own anguish and pain. Abuse leaves a legacy, a scarring of soul, heart and mind ~ etched inky black stains.
But I deny the spiritual reality unless I begin to call forth those things which are not yet as though they are.
Look into the mirror of His word and start seeing myself as healed, whole, restored, renewed. Speak out the promises. Live as though I truly believed them.
It won’t be easy. I’ve lived this inhibited, limited life with M.E for over 20 years. Lived far longer with the scars of my past. Yet I know nothing is impossible with God. And I’m ready (knees shaking, heart quaking) to do this.
Not to deny the reality I live with but to embrace the life Christ died to give me.
Because when God won’t let something go, then neither should we. When He asks us to let go of something, we need to pay attention.
Those things He may be pointing to in your life? It could be time to #listentoyourlife and listen to His voice.
I’ll be writing more about where this journey is taking me in the weeks ahead and I’d love you to join me.