I am reading the book Scary Close by Donald Miller and it is hitting home hard...but in this beautiful and freeing way. It's about relationships and so much of it is resonating with me. One topic he touches on in particular is about believing lies about ourselves. As we go through life, other people as well as ourselves label who we are. Situations or bad choices creep in and make us believe that it a reflection of our identity. Manipulating relationships make us question who we really believe we are.
This is heavy stuff and I am learning to break free from the labels and lies I have allowed to creep into my life.
In the book he writes:
I realized that one of the reasons I'd been so isolated was because I'd subconsciously believed I wasn't all that good for people.
It's true what I am saying. If our identity gets broken, it affects our ability to connect. And I wonder if we're not all a lot better for each other than we previously thought. I know we're not perfect, but I wonder how many people are withholding the love they could provide because they secretly believe they have fatal flaws.
As I have mentioned before, Brent and I are in a hard season. While we are out of the deep trenches, things are still hard and every few days one of us gets really discouraged about our current conditions.
In the midst of this I am ferociously cutting back on my commitments. I have stepped back from everything that I could and I am only carving out time for people and projects that are one hundred percent beneficial at this point. I have very little left to give and so I am choosing to protect that of what I still have.
Pulling back from my responsibilities has been needed but it has left me feeling empty. I find myself feeling discouraged that I am not pouring myself into anything. And then I start questioning my purpose and any life giving ability that can be found through my words, relationships, or whatever type of programming or work that I can offer.
As I sit down and really think about this and wanting to do more for others I realized that I am neglecting to do more for my husband. That I need to be giving him some of my best first...always but even more in this difficult season. If I can become more centered in where my foundation lies as my role as a wife, as well as in who I am as a person, it is only then that I can wholeheartedly be effective in giving myself to others.
When we are not doing well and our life feels out of balance, I cannot go outside of our life and into the world without also feeling unbalanced. So often I have tried to protect our time, which is so important. But I got so concerned about protecting our time together and forgot that I needed to also be protecting our hearts.
Our current circumstances and belief in ourselves is breaking us and it is keeping us from our ability to connect.
So after reading these words from Miller I took out some paper and I decided to rewrite who I am and who I believe Brent is.
Some things I wrote about myself are:
...your emotions are important
...people need to hear your story
...you are loved
...you are beautiful
...you are authentic
...you are brave
...you see beauty in the ordinary
...you know when to speak and when to be quiet
...you are strong
...you are gentle
...you are focused
...you live intentionally
...your sensitivity allows you to love better
I realized that of all people in my husband's life, it is I, his wife, who is going to have the most influential role in his life right now. How I treat him and how I respond to things run deep. Instead of trying to figure out my purpose and work outside our home, I realized I was neglecting the heart mending that needed to be going on inside our home first. We both need to be picked up and I play a big part in that.
So as I made my list of who I am I also made a list of who I believe Brent is. I wanted to remind him of the man that he is. I wanted him to be reassured that I know him. I wanted him to not forget that despite certain circumstances or other people's views of him, where his identity comes from.
We need to be reminded and rooted in who we are in our family life first. Our identity is determined within the walls of our home before we can go out and be in relationship with others. It is in rewriting our identities that we can offer the world our true selves and make a real difference in the lives of others.