Over the weekend I was cleaning out closets (I am still in the midst of my great purge) when I came across an album of memories. There I found a letter dated Nov 2001, written by and addressed to myself on a retreat I had attended that month. It was written as an activity where retreat participants would write a letter to themselves. The letter would be mailed weeks later as a reminder of what they felt during the retreat. As you can see the message I heard in my heart that weekend was short, simple and to the point.
Lies! All Lies!!! Yep, it didn’t take long for me to recall my struggle to break free from the chains of lies that I believed as a young woman. I had early on bought into the lie that I was only “good enough” for love if I was thin enough, smart enough, popular enough, and polished enough. The problem with trying to be “enough” is that there is no end to the measuring stick, therefore, according to this lie, I would never be enough for anything or anyone, including God. When I wrote this, nearly 14 years ago, I considered myself a strong Christian, participating in weekly Mass, Adoration hours, weekend retreats, and other activities where people go to in search of a deeper spiritual understanding and relationship. Despite my many worldly accomplishments and prayerful efforts, I still felt an emptiness deep within. There was a point in my journey, and yours too I suspect, that I had to make a conscious decision to move out of the darkness and allow light to penetrate all my brokenness. I had to risk revealing my imperfections to others, most importantly to He who is perfect.
I can remember the Chapel in that retreat center very vividly. The carpet was tightly woven, light blue. The room was separated from the main meeting area by an accordion style partition. I spent long moments staring at the monstrance in that quaint, divine space. I remember feeling a need to run into the arms of Father God. I just wanted to collapse into His lap and sob away years of laboring in vain. It wasn’t a feeling of remorse for wasted time. It was more of a feeling of overwhelming Mercy touching deep wounds. Like pouring antiseptic on a wound that was left unattended and in need of a good cleansing, there is almost relief in the painful realization that you were wrong for neglecting the injury, but now healing has come. If you have yourself experienced this moment, you know that dysfunctional habits or ways of thinking, though destructive, can become comfortable. In order to move forward in your faith, in your pursuit of true happiness, A CHOICE MUST BE MADE to step out in faith, trusting He who is the TRUTH and the fullness of LIFE. Trust is essential.As St. Therese said, “It is trust and nothing but trust that must bring us to Love.” Fast forward 14 years and I am still meeting lies with Truth. It remains to be a conscious decision to embrace the truths that He is teaching me and to reject the lies of this world. When false ideals seek to whisper their lies into my thoughts, I will often literally stop and speak truth to that lie. I might recite a scripture verse or remind myself of a conversion moment in my journey. You see, I have learned that not only am I good enough, I have been fashioned by my perfect God who intentionally left imperfections in me so that His perfect plan of dependence on Him might be accomplished.
So today I will write another message that is short, sweet and to the point.
“Life is messy. Trust is essential. With Him, I am enough.” – Jeannette
Let us pray.
Lord, You are perfect. I am thankful for my dependence upon Your ways. I give you permission to guide me, break me and mold me. I am reaching out my hand to You. AMEN.