Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I’m Learning from My Former Self

I had a bit of a run-in with my former self today. It was pretty unexpected, but it was great to sit down together and catch up.

I tugged an old journal off my dusty bookshelf this morning, and opened it to find the recollections, prayers, and processings penned by my 5-years-former self. Sitting comfortably in my bedroom chair, I walked with myself through what was an incredibly challenging and transformational season. I cried reading the words of desperation and loss, rejoiced in the moments of revelation as I found Jesus and learned of His incredible love, and closed the book, taking with me unexpected pieces of great insight.

Here’s what I learned:

This isn’t supposed to be difficult.

Lately I’ve felt tired. Spiritually tired. Like I’m tired of trying to figure out this God thing. I beat myself up so constantly for not doing this Christian thing right. I constantly feel the pressure to prove that I’m worthwhile. I remember what it felt like to look at my yesterday-self and hardly recognize myself for the crazy transformation that God was doing in my life. But I feel that lately my relationship with God has been more marked by toiling and trudging along than adventure and transformation.    

I’m tired of having my stuff together. That Hillary didn’t. She didn’t even try. She just brought her stuff before Jesus daily, convinced there was no other place for her to go to find healing, restoration, joy, or identity than at the feet of Jesus. She did not try to earn a position with God, but rested in the fact that God accepted her fully. Former Hillary knew that it’s not selfish to believe that God does everything for us, and that our role is to yield, to trust, to walk with our Father in great joy.

Salvation is not a place of toiling, but a place of trust in the man Jesus, a place of rest for all of those who have put their hope in Him. God made it that way.

There is gloriousness in surrender.

Salvation isn’t difficult, but it requires everything.

As I’ve grown and “matured,” I’ve picked up this idea that I need to be someone. If I really looked at my life, I would measure my success by how many people look up to me, by the jobs I’ve held, by the influence I have. Can I be honest? I’m really tired of having my stuff together. My prayers have looked more like “keep my life clean, keep my schedule in order, keep the people around me happy.” Easy.    My prayer is for things to just be easy. And you know what? I just want to feel the spiritual wind blow through my hair again. I long to throw “easy,” “manageable,” “controlled” to the ground and turn up the dust as I dance in a freedom that isn’t bound by my ability to hold things together.

My former self knew the richness of letting go. This line hit me hard this morning: “You have created me for such a moment, to be lost in you and found in you in the same breath of surrender.” I had joy when I was at my lowest. Why? Because I had loosed my hands from my life, from my successes and failures, from my identity, from my future, and cried out to Jesus to make something of me, to resurrect something beautiful when all else was put to death. My insufficiency led to vulnerability, which led to real intimacy.

Warrior woman needs her bow.

If I sat across from my old self, sharing life over a latte (in a sunny corner of a charming coffee shop, no doubt), younger Hillary would have leaned in and whispered these words to me: “Let Go. Be Fearless.”
After closing that tattered journal, I realize I’m pretty discontent with my settled, tepid self.  What am I DOING?

5 years ago I was weak, feeble, lost, and alone, and you know what? I fought like a warrior. I wasn’t content to let my insecurities, my fickle emotions, or my circumstances control me. I had nothing, but I knew that because of His power, when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12).

I’ve become squeamish to challenge. Insecurities, fears, and doubts I just sit with. But now that I am in Christ, weakness is not an excuse for me anymore. We are not fighting by our own power. We fight with a power that declares: “Look at God!” and through that our enemies shudder. We are not conquerors because we have our stuff together, but because it is our fearless God that fights on our behalf.

I’m ready to put arrows into my bow and to step out into the battlefield of my struggles. Come what may, it’s me and Jesus. Unstoppable.

“He trains my hands for war,
    so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
    and your gentleness made me great.
I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
    and did not turn back until they were consumed.” (2 Sam. 22)

Here’s what I want to say to you, future self: “Be Fearless. Let Go. Take No Prisoners.”

Hillary Krieger, 26, serves on the women's team at Flatirons. She believes that there is joy in the mundane, that the best days are spent exploring in CO, and that God writes the best adventure stories.

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