I’m scared. I’m scared to write this. To put it out there. 4 years ago I couldn’t even talk about it, never dreamed of sharing it, yet here I am and I have to admit:
I’m still shaking.
Fear isn’t idle. Fear will transform. Grow. Shape-shift, if you will. I was terrified back then to face it, a true runner from the past, and now the fear creeps back in as I offer my life as an open book- I am free to receive criticism from others. Free to be judged. Publicly shamed. And the worst thing: (if you are a people-pleaser like me, you’ll understand), free to be disliked.
What can push us past our fear? What can get us to a place where we follow the calling on our life, that notion in our spirit that says there is more. What can get us to step out and be vulnerable, regardless of the outcome? How do we embrace who we are truly meant to be with audacity and boldness when we are still lugging around past wounds, guilt, shame, distrust; all this baggage that we intrinsically believe has the sole purpose of reminding us of who we were and claiming to know who we will never be.
I don’t have all the answers, just a story that I have desperately tried to forget for most of my life. If I am frank with you, I shouldn’t be here. I should be dead. And at best I should be shunned, abandoned, addicted, broken. But I’m not. Call it a reversal of destiny. A life saved by grace- but not just a life saved. It’s a life redeemed. Regained. It’s a life of a girl who made all the wrong choices, ended up in all the wrong places and somehow God still saw purpose and value. It’s a life given freedom. Freedom from living in shame, regret, guilt and self-inflicted condemnation. And God put it in my heart before I ever felt worthy. No more hiding. No more running. No more feeling less than. I believe someone needs to hear it. Someone out there needs to know…
Here’s an invitation to the doubting, to the non-believer, to the hurting who have turned away, to those who haven’t had a chance or reason to know him yet: read this anyway. Something brought you here. Something has you reading this far… why not read a little more? I am not telling you that you have to do anything or believe anything. Just read. Maybe you will find a commonality in our stories. Maybe you will find a glimmer of hope you didn’t have before, maybe it will be a laugh you can have that you haven’t had in a while…or maybe you will find a God you never knew- but if you are here now and feel the least bit of a pressing, or a tiny voice telling you to keep reading, I implore you to continue on…
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us shake off everything that hinders and run with endurance the race set out before us.