It's come to my attention recently that I still hold an old image of myself that I still react to and through.
The Bible tells us now that, in Christ, we are a new creation - the old has passed away and the new has come. All things have been made new. But while I'm more than happy to hand over old sins and ways of doing things, I've still managed to keep a few thoughts that reflect the 'old creation' rather than the new one.
For example: I've been invited to share my knowledge of capturing an image with my camera, and altering it in a program such as PicMonkey. I agreed to do it because, at the time of being asked, it had already been on my heart for awhile to be part of a casual/non-professional photography group. I was happy to do it. But then the advertisement for it was put on Facebook and I was confronted with my own name. As soon as I saw my name highlighted like that, I freaked out - on the inside.
My old insecurities rushed to "comfort" me. Anxiety instantly gripped hold of my stomach. My old fears of being rejected and ridiculed, and that 'faithful old friend' intimidation leapt up to demand attention. And I instantly regretted agreeing to do it and even started praying for a way out of it for me. But then Tim (my hubby) was talking about how someone he knows tends to build themselves up before others because of their insecurities. To which I replied, "I'm insecure. I don't talk myself up." And he agreed. But then he added, "But you're not as insecure as you think you are." So that got me thinking. It also started to point out to me that I was still viewing myself through old eyes.
Jesus has healed me of much heartache and many insecurities over the years, but I have had to admit that I was a little confused over why some still hang on as they have. And now, through what I've mentioned above, I started to see that I was still holding false images about myself, and those false views were allowing me to react to certain things as I used to, when insecurity ruled my life.
As I thought about it, I said, "I think you're right," to my husband, "because I've been getting a little niggling in my spirit lately that tells me that I wouldn't react to certain things in my life as I still believed I would. For example, once, if someone tried to manipulate me, I would've laid down and let them walk all over me, but now, these days, I'm more likely to rise up and knock them on their backside for daring to." In love, of course. ;)
In other words, my old nature has been altered drastically in many ways. But there's still a few lies I've been holding onto.
This morning, I said to Tim, "Why is it so difficult to give up being lazy?" And we went off into a long conversation over that, but what stuck with me - because it annoyed the nonsense out of my pride, lol - was Tim's thought that it was something to do with not growing up; with not taking on responsibility - or, at the very least, not wanting to. And not wanting to give up comfort, as well - which western society is greatly fond of.
So, on taking in what he said, I bit down on my tongue and reminded myself that only yesterday I realised that removing one's favour from someone simply because they displease us is NOT love! And because God's been working on my heart to love even my enemies, I figured loving my husband when he treads on my toes was a great place to practice not removing my favour from someone - and, for the beginning of that journey, I simply had to bite my tongue and wait on God for correction and/or wisdom. Which gave me plenty of time to meditate on private thoughts.
Anyway, so, with my tongue trapped firmly between my teeth, we were driving along and something beyond our car, on the side of the road and beneath the gentle late-winter sun, reminded me of my childhood. In this particular memory, I could see myself in the back of the family car, with Dad driving us somewhere. And I remembered how much I loved those days - the picnics, visiting my dad's family, and such. And my very next thought was, "If I could return to such a time, when life was so simple, I would do so in a flash." And that shocked me, because it lined up with what Tim said about not wanting to grow up! lol (Don't ya hate it when you're partner's right! ;) )
So, I accepted there was part of me that wanted those 'simple days' back, when the responsibilities of life rested on my parents' shoulders and not mine. I wanted to be there, in their care, safe and comforted.
I thought about that a little more later on in my morning, and comparing the worries I had then compared to the worries I have now, and comparing the peace in my heart that I had then, to the angst I have in my heart today, I realised part of me would willingly set Tim and the kids aside and go back to being that child. And not because I don't love Tim and the kids - for I do, with all I am, but there was obviously something inside me, inside my heart, that longed for those simple days in a big way.
It was as I was going over all that that Tim once again mentioned the laziness matter, and the not wanting to grow up factor attached to it. He spoke of responsibilities and such, but what yelled at me the most was when he mentioned "the big picture", to which I said, "That's where you go wrong in motivational speeches to me and the kids. You see the big picture. You aim for the big picture. But the big picture freaks some of us out. We non-big-picture types are way back here, and you tell us we have to be way up there, but that huge gap in-between scares the nonsense out of us. We're one-step-at-a-time kind of people. We need the steps of how to get there - not the big picture of what 'there' looks like." When I shared that, I suddenly remembered God once placed on my heart, "If I [God] were to tell you everything you were called to do, you would run..." And, of course, He was right. I knew that then, and I knew it now. I'm a step-by-step type of person, not a big picture kind of girl.
This thought and conversation led me in new thoughts, and images of my childhood and marriage journey, and such. I then recalled how I used to seek affection from "this particular character type" with the hope of having them love me so I knew I was ok. That character type played on my mind after these previous thoughts, and I felt annoyance touch my heart.
Pondering this stray response, I thought of what God had revealed to me a few weeks ago - that I was less like mum in the housework department and more like dad, and in eating habits, too, because I found unconditional love, and therefore acceptance and great peace, in dad's love. Even years after he's gone, I still find that acceptance and peace in poor eating habits and poor housework skills - or rather, when I feel the need for such emotional comfort, I sway towards less housework and poor eating habits because childhood showed me that I found love, peace and acceptance there. Whereas I did not find those things with my mum. I am NOT saying she didn't love me; I just couldn't find in her what I found so easily in dad, that's all.
Anyway, as these meditations circled around my heart and mind and I asked the Big Fella why I suddenly had this anger in my heart, he kind of pointed my heart's eye back towards a certain character type in my life, who are also attached to good housekeeping skills and good eating habits, and as I looked, I felt a fresh bout of annoyance, because I did not want to focus on them, and in a moment of silent anger, I all but screamed out from the depths of my heart, "I DO NOT WANT TO BE LIKE YOU!"
As soon as that truth was released from my heart, a heaviness I must have been carrying for years fell from me. It was true. I didn't want to be like that certain character type that I had tried so hard to get to love me. And on realising this truth hid in me, and as I focused on it and welcomed in the truth that sets free, I suddenly realised I DO want to be ME.
Suddenly, I knew that not only did I want to be me, but I would prefer to be me rather than a certain character type that has all but haunted me throughout my life. I also registered that I held more anger for that character type than I had ever dared to confess to myself. When I viewed the anger, I understood why I had it. I understood why it was aimed at who it was aimed at. Yes, I was surprised to find that I had hidden this anger so deep in my heart I didn't know it was there, but in the next breath I also knew I was ready to not only release the anger, but to release those attached to the anger from this dark prison in my heart. At the same time knowing that in forgiving myself for the anger, and forgiving those that wanted me to be more like them, I realised that I really don't want to be anyone but myself, and a sense of independence rose up in me that I had never owned before.
This then reminded me of when God asked me, "Who is Donna Keevers?" He didn't ask me who is Donna Driver - my legal name since getting married. He didn't even ask me who is Donna Keevers Driver - the name I go by online. No, he asked who is Donna Keevers - the name given to me at birth. And I guess He did so because He was trying to get me to see myself as more than somebody's something; to get me to see that I am an individual. Now I also know that He's been leading me to rise up in independence also because He knew I would then rise up in strength and dare to face the big picture ahead of me - whatever that may be when the next challenge comes.
Yesterday, I would have told you that I am God's child, Tim's wife, Amanda's mum, Tim's mum, Matt's mum, Kathleen's mum, Brooke and Amy's stepmum, all the while comforted by the fact that I can live in their shadow, while watching them go off and live their life and be who they are. But now I would reply I am who I am, and that's good enough for me. :)
Now, I am seriously ready to cast off the remainder of my old nature. I am ready for independence. I am ready to be a grown-up. I am ready to be me. I am ready to come out of the shadows of others. I am ready to shine... without fear, and in the name of Love.
- it's about leading others through the darkness and on to safety..."
~ Donna Keevers Driver ~
(Image and statement first posted HERE)
I hope this make sense. :)
In short: I'm free. I'm healed. I'm me - and that's ok. And God IS good! :)