Have you ever looked back at your life and realized that despite how much you'd grown, some things still needed repair? That although you'd changed over the years, there were still some things you never stopped struggling with, fears you'd never gotten over? Have you ever realized that problems you experienced since childhood still affected you till this day? Have you ever realized, with disappointment and sadness, that mistakes you made in the past were the same ones you continue to make? That there were a lot of lessons you 'learned' but still failed to put into practice? Have you ever realized that advice you gave to others was still the same advice you needed to follow yourself?
Have you ever wondered: I've been here before, so why am I here again? Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the things we want to change still remain unchanged. Things we should do are still difficult to do. Problems from our past are still problems in our present. Lessons we've already learned are re-learned.
Are we running in circles? Have our attempts to change amounted to nothing? Have we not progressed at all, winding up right back where we started?
THESE WERE THE SAME QUESTIONS RUNNING THROUGH MY MIND ...
A few weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to speak for Live 31 Vancouver, a beautiful women's ministry dedicated to helping women discover their identity and dignity in the eyes of the Lord. I was honoured to do so; not only was it my ultimate dream to be a speaker (and still is), but it was even more amazing to speak for a ministry whose mission was so closely aligned with the one in my heart.
But the process to getting there wasn't pretty. In fact, I almost backed out of it completely -- not because I didn't want to do it, but because I felt like I didn't have the right to do it. I couldn't help but feel like a hypocrite, a fraud struggling to apply the very topic I was asked to speak about: self-acceptance. The truth was that although I had grown a lot in the past few years, there were still insecurities that never left me, certain things I wish I could've gotten over by now but still haven't. How could I speak about something I had never once perfected?
But that was the point: self-acceptance could never be perfected. My testimony was powerful precisely for the fact that it captured this: that the journey towards self-acceptance is a battle that must constantly be fought and re-fought over again, not something to be achieved once and for all. It's a life-long struggle, but worthit every single time.
Life is maintained; it is hardly ever cured. It's like personal fitness: we don't lose weight once and expect to keep it off for the rest of our lives. It requires constant exercise. In the same way, problems from our past will resurface again and again, and we will have to face them again and again. Struggles with depression might end in one season but re-appear in another. Spiritual dryness might end in one season but re-appear in another. We might feel invincible one week, yet broken in another. That's just how life is. The battle is constant, but it's worth every fight.
Our spiritual journeys are the same. Some days we're obedient servants, yielding to God's will and keeping his commandments, but other days we reach the lowest of lows in sin. That's simply the nature of spiritual life. It's a constant struggle, but God doesn't tell us to give up. He doesn't tell us to acknowledge our sins and stay in the muddy pit we've made for ourselves. He asks us to acknowledge our sins--the ways we've fallen down--and to get back up by seeking his mercy, forgiveness, downright love.
"God loves us right where we are, but he also loves us too much to keep us there."
"Saints are sinners who never gave up."
Keep fighting. Make necessary changes. Treat yourself with compassion. And always rest in God's unfathomable grace, mercy, and love.