This is part 10
With one rash decision to try and dye my own hair, and then fix it, and fix that, and then fix that, I was left with dark, dried, over processed, broken hair. My hair has always been one of my strengths, if I had to name one. Maybe if a lot of people were to be asked about one feature that they knew about me, it most likely would be my hair, and now it was destroyed and didn't reflect the me I had always found identity in. It was dark brown, and it had been bleach blonde. And this was the beginning of a period for me of stripping away of false identities, and that started with my hair. I began to refer to this time as my "dark period" because it all kicked off with my dark hair.
Even as I read the above paragraph as I proofread it struck me that in many ways, this was what I was trying to do with my life. I had made a mess and I didn't know how to get back to where I wanted to be. Instead of admitting my mistake and running for help, I kept trying to fix it myself, only making things worse. In the end I was broken and dry, looking nothing at all like myself anymore.
One by one God began to address the things that I considered to be part of my identity and asking me to release them. No, that is not right, rather He ripped them from my stubborn and frustrated and broken, confused hands. It was as if He was saying with each one that was removed, "No, that will not save you. That will not offer you strength, security, value, or worth. You have created this safe world that has always told you who you are, what you are worth. But who are you, really, when all of that is stripped away? Will you know? Can you see?" And it was crushing. But He, in His faithfulness, was killing my idols. The places I ran to, to tell me I was OK, worthy, of some value.
He reminded me of the verses in Psalm 115
Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
lower (someone) in dignity or importance", although that was happening. No it was a season also of humiliation.
This definition is seen as "to make (someone) feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and self-respect, especially publicly".
And so, the conclusion is, I was proud. Yes God humbled me and He also allowed me to be humiliated, if not humiliating me Himself.
This doesn't sound right of God, but as I did a word search in the Bible,
it is something He does.
2 Samuel 22:288
You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.
You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.
You make plans that are contrary to mine.
But those who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
So, it seems to be it was two fold. One because I was proud and was self reliant and felt entitled for being a "good Christian girl" that God owed me in some way. I was annoyed that my life wasn't easier, why He seemed to be blessing others who I had deemed "unworthy" of such blessing. I was mad at Him because even if I never said it out loud with just those words, I deserved more for all I had done to obey Him.
And I had this great sense from Him that I was not to try and run from it, to fix it, to even seek relief from it, but rather submit myself to what He was allowing. To feel the weight of what it meant that these false idols could not now, nor ever, save me or tell me my worth.
And how juxtaposed this felt to someone suffering from depression, someone who hated herself already, who often assumed everyone's life would be much better if she wasn't in it. What was this intense message of pride. Lord, surely you know I am not proud, I hate myself. But slowly He revealed to me, and to this day is still speaking so loudly to me, that even self degradation, is still self worship. It is still self focus, it is still pride.
Over and over God had me mediating on the words of Philippians 2:3
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself."
And I would find myself saying that over and over again, "consider others better than yourself" and what a hard pill to swallow in the middle of God allowing humbling and humiliating. My knee jerk response was to defend myself and run back to all the places I felt safe, but those places were crumbling. And so I stood there, exposed and broken, and allowed God to dig deep into my haughty and sinful soul. And while He was there digging up bad weed roots, in that soil, He planted something, and in the middle of that pain, new life was forming. In more ways than one.
To be continued...
, by Ashley Jackson