I don’t know how to start this post. I’ve tried like 20 different ways. One way starts out telling you how I turned 38 last week. And, that it was a difficult week. A week where getting groceries felt like a ginormous task and the only thing that felt small was me. Another way I begin was by telling you of a verse in the Bible that found me last November. One that keeps coming back month after month, in way after way. Both feel like odd ways to start and not connected, but I suppose they are.
I felt like I should have been celebrating all last week. Writing posts about birthday wish lists, the perfect cake recipe, and goals for the year ahead. It wasn’t like that. But, life isn’t always like a blog. Life is real and raw and beautiful and sometimes awful and many times boring. Maybe you have felt this way. Maybe even on a birthday week.
I do my best to try and dig deep on days and weeks like these. Looking for treasures amidst feeling tapped out. In the dark is where light shines brightest. We either go straight towards it, like a fly, or bury our buzzing heads to cover our blurry eyes.
This past week I did some excavating in the dark. Digging and deciding. Taking the tiniest giant steps towards the light. The heavenly light blazing bright into the freshly dug dirt holes.
Will this beautiful light warm me? Blind me? Burn me?
The light will warm you.
It will blind you.
It will burn you.
It will warm your eternal winter. It will blind you from the lies you tell yourself. It will burn and brand the truth into the deepest parts of your heart.
Since November this verse has had me digging in the dirt.
Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Digging isn’t so much a one time action; it is more of an unearthing excavation. And, unearthing takes time. Sometimes it feels unending.
But, the day before 38, I decided. I have spent 37 years wanting approval and validation and I’m tired of the trying. I decided that 38 don’t need no validate. Pardon the bad rhyme (I have a problem with that). I decided I was ready to be blind to my own lies and to be burned by the truth.
In November and and every month after I’ve heard the whisper and felt the warm of Psalm 37. The whisper of the way of the upside down kingdom that is in Jesus. This spinning blue and green planet, and everyone on it, has programmed us to . . . work hard, do your best, be your best and then you will be loved, cherished, valued. Essentially, what you do or don’t do defines you. What you produce or prove is the currency of this place. Be your best. Be something. Be someone. Do something. Define yourself. Be Good enough and then you will have enough (enough love, value, acceptance and so on). Earn everything, including love. Because nothing is free.
BUT……the burning truth is, with God it’s nothing like that.
It’s like this:
1. Open up – Show me the real you. Don’t hide.
2. Hold nothing back – Tell me everything.
3. Lay everything before Him – The good, the bad, and the ugly. The real and the raw.
And, after our barring and His glaring light over our nakedness…comes approval. This is how God’s validation comes for his children; when we bare ourselves…our true selves. Nothing to do with what we do. Everything to do with who we are. THEN…. He validates and stamps us with approval. He clothes us in it. Approved becomes who we are and approval becomes what we wear.
I’ve been wearing the work clothes for 37 years and they are dirty and worn and heavy with the sweat of my own striving. In my 38th year I want to wear approval, adorn myself with validation, and have the sweet scent of acceptance on my life. And, the most upside down truth is that it’s all free. For you. For me. For everyone. It came at a great price, but is gifted to us through grace.
Lovely ones, whether you are digging in the dark or frozen in an endless winter…if you are either letting light shine on you or too afraid to look at it, or for it, I pray that today you will lift your buzzing head and see a glimpse of the warm love light that is shining straight into the direction of your life. The direction of your past, present and future self. A light who’s kindest intention is to blind you from the lies you tell yourself (or have believed from others) and burn the eternal truth, in your heart. The truth that approval and acceptance (not for what you do -but – for who you are) are available for you to be covered and clothed in.
Dig and decide in the direction of the dazzling light.