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I was reading the “Living as God Designed” post on Recovering Grace and started crying (something I almost never do). Here’s the part where the dam burst: “Just as the deer glorifies God by being swift and agile, the elephant glorifies God by being strong and loyal, the flower glorifies God by being beautiful and sweet, and the sunrise glorifies God by being radiant, so we glorify God by being just what He made us to be, and doing those things that delight us. He doesn’t create anything that He doesn’t delight in. So we shouldn’t be afraid to pursue and become what we delight in. Live life fully alive. There is no one on the earth that can be precisely what you delight most to be. You cannot be replaced. You are unique of all God’s creations. Don’t waste any time on those who would tell you how you ought to please God, asking you to become something you are not. Simply delight in His delight in you. Pursue your joy. Pleasing God cannot be life-limiting, but life-releasing. He said so. (Ecclesiastes 9:10; John 10:9-11)”
I was told growing up that my purpose on this planet was to serve my dad, because someday I’d have to serve my husband. No matter what I thought, it was his way or the highway.
If this is true, then why did it make me so miserable? Why did my dad tell me I have a hard heart (and no one wants that)? Why have I always felt condemnation and inadequacy from him, no matter how hard I tried to “submit” to his authority? Why have I never been able to measure up, even after “serving” for over four years in the Institute in Basic Life Principles? Why can’t I trust him? If I was supposed to feel safe in this situation, why did I contemplate driving my car off a bridge on more than one occasion?
Then one day, you’re told you can’t display them anymore. They aren’t practical or proper, but instead a distraction. You must shut them up in a plain box and shove them far into the attic. You’re devastated, but you obey. Confusion and hopelessness grow in your heart. The future, which had once looked so promising and bright is now a pile of ashes. A narrow, dark path is before you, with glowing eyes of disapproval glowering down from every angle. Instead of sallying forth with a song in your heart, you creep along one inch at a time, desperately hoping you don’t make a wrong move. Your walls are now bare and blank and gray. You can just make out the marks on the shelf where the figurines once sat, a mere shadow of the light that once sat there. You sit and stare at the empty space, your heart breaking. Then someone gives you an ugly thing made of barbwire and darkness and fear and tells you THIS is what you are made for, THIS will bring you holiness and happiness. You’re reluctant, but you put the thing on the shelf anyway. After all, they seem to know what they’re talking about. It isn’t long until the ugliness on your wall tears your heart to shreds, and everyone wonders what happened to you.
Time goes by. Then one day, you are struck with the thought that this isn’t right. You dig around in the attic, find the plain box, and carefully take it to the shelf. You pick up the ugly thing and toss it in the garbage. Then you take each figurine out of the box, dust it off, and put it back in its place. The shelf is scarred and dented from years of misuse, and you’re scared half to death you might do something wrong. But then the sun breaks through the gloom, catching the crystals and sending arcs of light bending across the walls. You stare, transfixed. A giant weight falls from your shoulders and for the first time in years, you can breathe.
I haven’t arrived. I haven’t figured it all out yet. I’m still scared to death of making mistakes, of making the “almost-but-not-quite-best” decision and failing somehow. But like someone very wise once said, “What have you got to lose?”