The Edge

edge of the world

It’s that moment…that moment when suddenly, your feet are no longer on solid ground. You hang in the balance, suspended, and there’s nothing below you. On the edge of a precipice, and nothing to hold onto; that jolting feeling that sends adrenaline through your veins. The moment you realize that just now, in this moment, you don’t belong anywhere. You can’t call anywhere home. You are between places, in the middle, like a floating hot air balloon, and there are not enough anchors or weights to tie you down anywhere. You are free falling. This…this is like cliff diving without knowing there’s a bottom and without knowing whether you’ll be able to get back to the top again. This is heart pounding, hyperventilating, trembling shock. The moment when you realize you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. The moment when you realize you don’t belong anywhere. A chasm below you and a chasm of stars above.

I don’t know if people remember this about their twenties. But just for the record, we have those moments. So if we sometimes seem like oversized teenagers, or if you think we should have it all together and we don’t, or if you’re wondering why we do the things we do and get all emotional and have complete flip outs, and undergo personality changes, this is why. Maybe you were level headed and perfect in your twenties. Maybe you don’t have this happen to you, ever. But no matter how glass-half-full you are, no matter how resilient and strong and fierce and determined and free, this is The Edge. Like the edge of the world. And this whole time there’s been a path, and some stairs, and now suddenly there are no more stairs. There’s just…nothing. It’s hard to be in a place where it’s the beginning and the end and the middle all at once. It’s hard when you’re not a kid and you’re not an adult and you’re kind of nothing, really, except confused and adventurous and sometimes lonely and a little bit scared. (We can admit that, right? That sometimes we’re scared?)

It’s The Edge. And it’s where we are.

The Me Inside

ImageOswald Chambers said something along the lines of “Change isn’t adding things to become new, it’s God taking things away to reveal the you He made to begin with.” In other words, it’s becoming more and more who you really are. It’s a little sad that we allow so much to be plastered onto us; things that we think are more lovely than we are, but that, in reality, make us like works of art splashed with discordant colors and textures.

Who is the you inside? Why are you hiding yourself? Is it because of insecurities, comparing yourself to other people, wanting to be someone else? Is it because you’re afraid people won’t like you if you show yourself? Or, more likely, because you’d rather someone dislike you for something you’re not than for something you are?

I hide myself for all these reasons. But lately, the conflict has become too great, too tiring and stressful. God is working on the me inside, and she wants out. For a while I projected this on other people, going on rants in my head: “Why do they want to put me in a box? Why can’t they accept me the way I am? Why do they want me to be like them?” But that’s not the issue at all. The only one standing in my way is me. I made the box. I built the walls. I wanted me to be like everyone else.

But I’m not. And I’m writing this because I think there are many other people who struggle with the same thing, and you need to read this. But really read it; don’t just skim and go, “Oh, that’s cool.” I know that’s what you normally do with these things, because that’s what I normally do. But don’t do it this time. For yourself. Let it sink in.

God made YOU the way YOU are. You ARE unique, you ARE original. God doesn’t make copies and clones. He made YOU because He wants YOU to be alive and to be who YOU are. He has given YOU unique talents and gifts and quirks and personality traits that combine to depict to the world a specific aspect of who HE is that only YOU can depict. If you are not letting you be you, the world is missing out on something great, grand, and glorious that God wants to show. And you are cutting beautiful, breathtaking, awe-inspiring pieces of yourself off and throwing them away. You are plastering big black-out sheets over magnificent artwork that is meant to shine out and show people the heart of God, the beauty of God, the majesty of God.

So stop. It will take time, but allow God to peel off the black-out sheets. The reason why you don’t have peace despite your good relationship with God is because you are battling to be someone you’re not. But you know what? No one is as good at being you as you are. And the thing we often envy in other people is their ability to just be themselves. So do it. Be yourself. Who you are is between you and God; no one else has the right to intrude on that sacred ground. They can build you up and help you and raise you, but your core identity is a place only God can and should speak into. Let Him speak. Let Him build you with His breath. Let Him call you out of the box you’ve built.

In His name, there is freedom. Be free.

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A Letter

letter blog

Dear fellow, flawed human,

You have your beliefs about “Biblical interpretation” and I have mine. You think you’re right but so do I. And while I can never say that I am right, 100%, it’s not about that; it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong, because God is right. My life is one surrendered to Christ. And if parts of it aren’t surrendered yet, they will be, because God never begins a work in anyone without bringing it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Just as I cannot judge you or how you live because I don’t know your heart, you cannot judge me or how I live (Romans 8:1). The Bible is truth, and if we are submitted to Christ, with His help we will all come into alignment with that truth. The only one who can bring about any transformation is the Holy Spirit; I cannot transform you by sheer power of my will, nor can you transform me.

You do not define me. We do not define each other. Jesus defines me. We do not have influence on each other’s fundamental identity, because our identity is in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3:26-27). You are not God in my life, nor should anyone be God in my life, or in anyone’s life, except God Himself. We can encourage, we can tell each other in love when we believe the other is doing something contrary to God’s will (2 Timothy 4:1-2), but we do not define each other. And if you try to define me, or try to put me in a box, or try to change me to be like you and think like you and do things like you, we will clash, because Christ alone is Lord of my life and no one should try to take His place (Exodus 20:4, Daniel 3:8-18).

If you cannot accept me and love me and respect me as I am now, today, in this moment, without trying to mold me into what you think I should be in the future, and if I cannot do the same for you, then we are failing at loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. I respect you and try to see things from your point of view. I take no pleasure in trying to control you or change you. Love is seeing who the other person is and respecting them for it, and accepting them the way they are. Love is patient, kind, unselfish, and humble (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). If we cannot do this, or try to do this, then something somewhere is gravely wrong.

Christ is Lord of my life. Christ sits on the throne. I love Him and follow Him and, though I fail and often, my heart intention is to obey Him and worship Him all the days of my life. None of us should try to take His place, no matter how “good” and “noble” our intentions. I don’t try or want to take His place in your life, nor do I try and define you or make you mine. We should be standing together, pulling each other up and forward, brothers and sisters in arms, sharing the load, fighting side by side instead of with one another. God is God, and we are not. It’s as simple as that.

Sincerely,

a fellow, flawed human