Today someone told me that they can sense that I’m still harboring anger and that people can sense it and they will be repelled by it. The solution she says: go to this Christian healing conference to explore relational issues. The implication is that my life won’t prosper until I get past this stuff.

I felt dismayed. I’ve worked so hard on my emotional, spiritual and relational issues all these years. And yet still … I’m not fully healed. So perhaps it would be helpful to go to this conference. But I remind myself that I’m in process – this will unfold as slowly or quickly as it will unfold, whether I go to this conference or not. I play my part and do my work, and, while I can do things to slow it down, I still cannot expedite the process. I’m at the mercy of God. I need to be kind to myself. It’s too easy for someone whom I’ve only known for a few months to just swoop in and make that assessment of me, without taking into account all that I’ve been through, all the work I’ve done, and the progress I’ve made to date. She has no idea where I was 15, 10, 5, even 2 years ago….  I’m far stronger today than before, but yes, so much farther to go.

I’m in a much better place than I was a few years ago, when I was a devastated shell of myself and my self-esteem had hit an all-time low. And I just never knew how anyone would ever want me – as a friend, a spouse, an employee.

But there was so much mercy in that place.

A woman whom I met at a conference who turned out to a believer, helped me get the job I have now. She saw in me what I could not see in myself. I felt as though I had nothing to offer, and yet she believed in me despite my lack of belief in myself. She believed on my behalf, in me for me.  Is that not divine love and acceptance in its absolute fullness? This is true vulnerability – being utterly disarmed, masks off, totally exposed but, in the context of love, completely safe.

Her faith in me, or rather in God’s work in me, reminds me of the story of the man who was lowered on the mat by his friends, so that Jesus could heal him. Jesus saw the faith of his friends (not the man’s own faith) and healed him. Sometimes when we lose heart in ourselves, others are called to have heart for us, in our stead.

And I found mercy with friends. I made admissions that I had never made before, that I had been afraid of speaking aloud. I also felt like I had nothing to offer my friends and was deathly afraid of being perceived as being dependent on them.  In some cases, I was met with judgment and criticism. But in other cases, I was met with utter kindness and acceptance. Glorious!

And so I know that over time I am healing in degrees but I don’t know if in this lifetime, I will ever be fully healed. And, as I progress on this path (and at times regress), I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is to somehow accept each other in our weakness and brokenness- to have the empathy and wisdom to know that everything is a process and we are all on a journey. If we could somehow reach and attain our best selves in this lifetime, we would have no need of Jesus or the gospel. The very crux of the gospel cries out for the need of God’s healing — the very truth and appeal of the gospel relies on the fact that we simply cannot do it on our own.

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