September 12, 2008

Who Knew?

I grew up the third of four children. For my first eight years, I was the youngest of three. I was apparently the easy one, the good one, the strong one, the dependable one, the obedient one, the smart one. (I knew inside I wasn't all of these things, but I sure worked hard to be them.) I don't remember necessarily being praised directly for these things, but I overheard them regularly. Most times they were said in my presence as a compliment or by way of introduction. I was eight going on twenty, twelve going on thirty. That's a good thing, right?

I seemed to know my role in the family. I had two siblings who seemed to cause trouble of their own, so I learned not to cause any more. This served two purposes: it kept me in my place of the easy child, and it made me very self sufficient. It also made me very prideful. As long as I was doing better than they were, than I was doing just fine. I also seemed to think that I should do as much as I could without help, only going for help when I'd done all I could on my own.

I believe I have had this strong, self sufficient personality all along. (This is not my parents' fault, I mean.) I'm pretty sure some of us are just born this way, but it was very much my identity, so there's no way I could have sacrificed it. I suppose I could have rebelled in order to demand attention, but by that point, negative attention wasn't what I was looking for.


Adult life is full of issues to conquer. Emotional issues, health issues, family issues, childrearing issues, spiritual issues, etc. I tend to do most of this conquering by myself. I do most of my crying in the shower by myself. I find my answers on my own. I tend to deal with my issues on my own, then come out into the light once I'm put back together. I don't want to be a bother. I don't want a fuss made about me. I am very stoic on the outside when in reality, I am totally in pieces on the inside. Sometimes I wonder if I'm functioning as if I don't need relationships other than Robert, or if I've built scaffolds around myself to replace them.

I struggle greatly when I know I've let someone down. I know very well that I'm not perfect, but times are few and far between that I'm not bringing my personal best to the table. My best includes being real and trying to do the right thing to begin with, and being quick to make it right when I know I've blown it. I feel like I'm not allowed to offer any less, or I won't be that person I've always been anymore. (Not to mention it's what scripture requires of me.)


Put all of that history together and into my walk with the Lord. Earlier this summer, I was emotionally drained. I had been through months of challenges and weariness was setting in. I actually felt like our family had relocated I pulled back so much. I was tired for a lot of reasons and weary of our house/job situation that has needed resolution for two years now. I was absolutely exhausted of trying to please people. I was doing my best and it seemed that wasn't enough, and my best had never not been enough before. And I was done trying. I didn't have anything else to offer in any of it. I had never not been able to pull myself up by my bootstraps before.

I was talking to the Lord one day after the Beth Moore Simulcast in August. I had so many good notes, but my brain was so jumbled up I couldn't even articulate an organized thought to pray. I said to Him, "God, all I have to bring today is my hurt, my weariness, my brokenness, my wrung out heart."

He answered me. He said, "That's all I've ever wanted."

Mmmmmmm. What rest there was that day. I had nothing to offer. I wept, thankful He didn't want me to try. He didn't want my warped view of our relationship. He wanted me to come at the beginning, not after I'd done all I could on my own. He didn't need me to say I was sorry or try to be someone I wasn't. He didn't want me to pull myself together before I asked Him for help.
He wanted me.
Me. He met me right where I was and took care of all the rest.

"Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29 NASB

What a blessed God I have. To allow me every one of those struggles so many months in a row just to get me to that one day. That sweet time will be a cornerstone of my relationship with Him from here on out, I'm certain. It will change it forever. I had never realized how much self sufficiency I brought to my relationship with God. Not because I thought I could do it on my own, but because I didn't want to be a bother to Him.

Life is hard, but oh! God is good.


Kjirstin C said...

Wow! Thanks so much Lissa for your honesty and humility in this post. I love having you for my sister, and it's wonderful to get a glimpse into your heart. I love you, and we are praying for you guys.

Linda said...

WOW!! I'm thrilled for you that God met you in that way at that time. He is SO good! And thanks for sharing it with us. I love seeing the depth of your heart, and we often haven't - not always because you're hiding it, but perhaps because I'm not trying hard enough.

ILY lots! MOM

Peggy said...

Thanks for the treasured gift of sharing your heart. Your honesty is appreciated. I can sure relate to much of what you are saying as I have been there, but it is a very good and blessed place to be. God just wants us in our brokenness, looking to Him as we see how weak we really are. He will do more in your life where you are as you discover this great truth. And He truly loves you just as you are!
"For when I am weak, then I am strong" 1 Cor 12:10
With love, peggy