Thursday, October 9, 2014

NEW {day 9} :: stop running

{for the beginning of this story click HERE}

My propensity towards relational perfectionism.
My inability to accept and offer grace completely.
My tendency towards running away instead of sticking it out.
My deep-rooted pride that kept me forever focused on what was best for myself.

As I turned my back on my marriage I had no idea that I would stand facing these and other dark places in my heart.  The damage there had been years in the making.

For a season I continued to run the other way, unable to look myself in the face.  
And yet I carried all that darkness with me like a noose around my neck - heavy and choking.  

But no one knew.

Even as life is being choked right out of us we somehow manage to dress ourselves up in a cute outfit and a shiny smile that lie about the real condition of our hearts.  It's a slow, lonely death of the soul.

And then one day, 
on timid, shaky legs, 
I took a step towards the truth.

For me, goodbyes had always been wrought with tears.  I grieve what I leave, but it never takes me long to fully engage the new life in front of me.  As I began looking back on my life I realized what I had always considered to be an 'adaptable personality' had been causing untold damage.  

I remember getting so busy my freshman year of college that I completely disconnected from my high school friends.  Despite their attempts to write or call I never reciprocated.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think about them.  I actually thought about them often and even missed them.  I was just busy and instead of making a quick call or writing a quick note I kept waiting until I had more time to give to them what I knew they deserved.  

As time passed something shifted in me.  When I thought of them it wasn’t with fondness anymore…it was with guilt.  
Why hadn’t I called?  
Couldn’t I just sit down one day and write a few letters?  
No…now it was too late.  I had failed as a friend.

Because I had wrecked those friendships I decided it would be best to focus on new ones instead.  My old friends would be better off without me anyway.  And if I’m really honest I was too chicken to face them and possibly be confronted about my ‘mess up’.  It had nothing to do with them.  It had everything to do with me not liking who I had become in that relationship.  It was me not being the perfect friend.  So I never wrote or called and I hid my face every time I went in public on my trips back home.  
I struck out seeking new.  
Being the relational person I am, finding new friends was not a problem and so I just keep moving forward because I faced guilt every time I looked back. 

This was just one instance of me abandoning people or situations in which I had messed up in hopes of finding a new place to start over.  
I guess it was maybe some twisted form of perfectionism.  
It was for sure my pride.  
And it definitely didn't worked.  
It never dawned on me that new could be found right where I was…right there in the middle of the mess.  

My inability to make something new didn't mean that it couldn't be made new at all.

And so I always kept going, pulling my dirty feet up out of the mud, shaking them off as best I could, and moving forward.  It would take me nearly 30 years of life to discover that all the places I sought new were just illusions and although they looked clean and shiny from the outside they would only add another layer to the filth once I got a hold of them.

When I reflect back on that season of life I often tell people that by the time my blind eyes could actually see myself and who I had become I was completely covered in dirt at the bottom of a pit where moving forward was no longer an option.  Everything was dark and confusing until a hand literally reached down beneath the filth and scooped me up and power washed me clean.
It was painful.
The powerful waters of truth sprayed holes through me
and, one-by-one, tiny pinholes of light began to burst open inside of me.

The new you're looking for can be found, but instead of running out to find it you'll have to stop and let it catch up to you.  When it does, the clean up process may be painful, but it will be worth it.  I promise.
{for all the posts in this series click HERE}

If you've still got that journal, here's something to write about today.
How have you run from a situation that could have been 'made new'?  
How did you try to chase down new somewhere else on your own?