School holidays in our home were happy times. I allowed the children to build blanket houses underneath the dining room table and Lego cities all over the lounge carpet, tables and chair armrests. Days would go by with them playing, continuing their stories, army attacks and space missions. Then, out of the blue it would come, they would be stuck. I remember how hard it was the first time, to convince them to break it all up, to sort out the building blocks according to colour and size, to take a break, to go on a bike ride and then to come back and start a new story.
It was many years later, that I realised that this was exactly what I had to do with my life. I had to break it into small pieces, sort out the stuff, prioritise and then start over. It is a pretty daunting thing looking at your piles, and I thought that I would start with the one thing that I knew I had control over…myself.
Who am I?
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to me. (Psalm 139:13-16, NIV)
God knows my name.
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” (Exodus 3:4)
He knows everything about my life.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)
He has a purpose for my life.
But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man. (Galatians 1:15)
He is with me.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you. (Exodus 3:14)
I have real security in Him; no-one can take my relationship with God.
For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:25)
He specialises in giving people a new start.
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (Psalm 32:1)
He gave me a new heart and a new spirit.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
What about my stuff?
I had to convince myself to stay focussed on God’s plan for my life. He blotted out my sinful past and therefore I could not allow memories to torture me. I could not resign from the adverse situation; I had to hold on to God’s purpose for me. Trust Him to direct my steps.
I found respite in thinking that God initiated the change, and that He was using my life circumstances to develop my character, to prepare me for my ultimate destiny. I realised that if I couldn’t heal my past, I would go on bleeding. If I didn’t focus on God, I would not be able to withstand the enormous stressors in my life.
You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3, GNT)
Pray and work towards what you want, but eat what God puts on your plate today. (Bruce Marchiano)
You will handle whatever shake-up the next moment brings when you get to it. (Oprah Winfrey)
Sometimes you have to break the rules around you, to keep the rules within you. (Martha Beck)
You have to name it before you can claim it. (Dr. Phil)
I needed to remember that the real betrayal is forgetting who you are and to whom you belong. No matter how profound the crisis, attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
Does that mean I forget about my pain?
It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had. (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross)
Grief puts us into “deep rest”, weighing down our muscles, wringing tears from our eyes and sobs from our guts. It isn’t pretty, but it’s nature’s way. (Martha Beck)
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. (Steve Jobs)
You can’t leave something like this on good terms. Good things don’t end unless they end badly. (Ben Flajnik)
So where do I go from here?
This was a pivotal moment. I couldn’t go back; unless I gave up…I couldn’t move forward because my reference system was outdated…
I decided to turn back to the Creator. Back to the person He created me to be. I was relieved, almost happy. I made a decision to do things in a different way. I was also making a declaration to respect myself. He had my blueprints; I was excited to get acquainted with myself.
Some women wait for something to change, but nothing does change so they change themselves. (Audré Lorde)
It is when all our ‘somethings’ are collapsing that we may finally turn to ‘nothing’, and find the ‘everything’ we need. (Martha Beck)
A crisis might be like a veld-fire. Everything might look dead but it is the first to turn green afterwards. (Anonymous)
I knew that it was going to take time to sort through my stuff, so I decided that I will show up for my life. I will be present and make conscious decisions, I will choose every moment whom I wanted to be in this life. I would open time, with no commitments except towards my inner world and what is happening there. I would have conversations with myself and write myself into well-being. I would never again be forced to move to the rhythm of others and never again betray myself. I realised that even silence has an end.
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. (Maya Angelou)
If you want to live peacefully, joyfully and abundantly in the years to come, you must walk your talk. (Martha Beck)
I was grateful that I smashed my make-believe life. I knew that my repentance had resulted in a change of mind, I had a new purpose and God initiated action. There were many days when I didn’t know what to say, or to think…I spent those moments in worship and I learned to laugh. Laughter connected me with truth, with love and with God.
Stillness before God gave me clarity. Weakness before God brought peace. Transformation started.
While insisting that you are right is gratifying, accepting that you’re wrong can be transformative. (Martha Beck)
I realised that we cannot be victims of wisdom, we have to choose it. I knew that the sunset had seen me, but in living the life that God intends for me…the sunrise will always find me!
While you’ll feel compelled to charge forward it’s often a gentle step back that will reveal to you where you are and what you truly seek. ~ Rasheed Ogunlaru
Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~ Ovid
No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it. ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick