Learning To Live In Freedom With My Dark Places

I cannot hide from my darkness.

I can pretend it isn't there, or give it so much worry and attention that the dark places feel like a shadow surrounding me every minute of the day, but I can't get rid of it. I've tried really hard to do all the right things to cover the dark for a while. I've read the Bible and gone to church and put myself in situations to serve, all in hopes to outweigh the things that aren't right in me. But they come back and I get so tired. There has to be more than managing the hidden places. As each God-given, grace filled day goes by, I have found that my dark is a part of me. I cannot cut it off and the more I try to hide it the more it takes over. I have found great comfort in the thought that if God loves me and sees me, then He must find value in my dark. He's with me and His power out shines the things I cannot overcome on my own.

I don't think God created humanity to attain and handle holiness. We can do the right things and look absolutely put together, but I think after a while those things make us hard. As humans, we take the good we do and mess it up with thinking we've done it on our own. Pride is part of those dark corners. I've been reading through Acts as of late, and I've found myself amazed at how Paul is torn apart from the very people he came from, the Pharisees, which means Paul knows what he is going up against. Their ways are nothing new to him. He was one, a devout, passionate rule follower who knew all of the right things. As he's being charged over and over again by zealous Jews who are holding their lives together and above all others, Paul meets their accusations with his story. He is pulled in front of judges, kings, and rulers of all sorts and he tells his story of redemption. They hate this story, enough to want Paul dead (similar to Jesus). But Paul had come to the realization, by God's intervening, that after a while, pretending we don't have faults or that we can be level with God Himself will unravel our lives. We just can't keep that sort of living up without ending up with a hard heart.

I've found peace in seeing my patterns of destruction and hurt and then holding them up to Jesus as an offering. I know He sees them regardless of my attitude, but I want Him to know I see them too and I want Him to be with me as I grapple with my sin. I have found rest in sharing with Phil and close friends the things they could shame me for, but in love, God has allowed mutual respect and openness. Believe me, I'm not one to absolutely love sharing my crap with even those closest to me, but the necessity of this practice, of following the nudging of God's Spirit to open up in safe relationships, reaps fields of freedom. And then even still, I have found that trusting a counselor with things I still can't say out loud to those I love has brought God's light much brighter to the dark I don't understand. I find it necessary to have someone who is not emotionally affected by my words, by me telling the hardest truths, and can be a voice of clarity to my bouts of confusion.

This process of allowing myself to be human, to be less than, to let people down, with the knowledge that God's grace is going to pick up the pieces has made me feel like I have wings. Hiding doesn't bring abundance. Working these things out hasn't been a walk in the park either, but the work to feel at peace in my own skin, at peace with the people I love most, and to be close to God when I'm the least deserving has been worth it. My journey continues and I invite you to listen to God's Spirit as He nudges you to the light.


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