What if?

Three little miles.
That’s what I’ve been running this week.  I’ve been taking some time off…resting. And now, it’s time to jump back in. With both feet. 
I thought you were supposed to give up bad things for Lent!
That’s what they’ve been saying to me these past months. It’s hard to explain—this surrender.  After all these years of striving and reaching and trying to be good enough…the Mother–hand of God tapped on my heart and whispered, What if?
What if you don’t get the best grade?
What if your house is not the cleanest? If the laundry isn’t folded right away?
What if your kids aren’t picture perfect?
What if you were late, just once, or maybe…just maybe you have to call in sick to work?
What if?
What if you don’t write everyday? Post on the blog everyday?
What if your figure is not slim and trim? What it…what if you let yourself go?
What if?
I didn’t know. I didn’t know the answer to the what-ifs. It felt like maybe the world would end—the sky come crashing down. Maybe my husband would stop loving me, my children stop respecting me, others look upon me with pity.
What is the answer?
And then She told me. Plain as day the Goddess whispered it into my heart.
I will still love you, Laura.
 
And then, Do you believe me?
Do I?
For so long I’ve tried to earn the love of those around me. Maybe if I make straight As my father will love me enough to stop drinking. Maybe if I am attractive enough my husband will do what I want him to. Maybe if my house is clean my girlfriends will admire me.  
I’ve always felt that I had to prove I was good enough. I’ve had to work harder and do more…I’ve had to be more…to feel that I was acceptable.  
It’s all good stuff. Cleaning and running and writing and working and painting and taking classes and sewing and leading and teaching and giving and holding and…
God said, Be still.
Be still and let me love you.
But I disbelieved. If I stop doing all these things, how could I be lovable?
Stop one.
So I did. I stopped the one that I have come to depend upon like a crutch. The one that restores my sanity when it is broken. The one that has been part of my life since I was twelve years old. The one that keeps me centered and healthy.
Let me be these things to you.
And these past weeks as I’ve slowed, as the cold mornings have given way to sun, as I watch the sidewalks fill with new runners, as I feel myself grow softer…
I have learned new things about myself and about the love of God.
Those mother-hands have held me close, whispered of beauty in my ear.  The tenderness—the vulnerability of trusting these hands with these parts of me has given me a new sense of who I am—why I do these things.  
And the what-ifs no longer frighten me. 
Because there is this constant: A Love so big and beautiful to conquer any what-if that is out there. This Love is bigger than any change my body will undergo. It is bigger than anything I can do (or not do) around the house, or at work, or on the page.
My God loves me.
No matter what. 
So, I start with my three little miles. And I know that I take each step for the right reasons. And each step falls properly in its place.


Sharing with Jen today:

Comments

  1. says

    My grandfather gave me an article shortly before he died when I was fresh out of college entitled, “Know when to be Average.” I was on fire with achievement and he knew what I needed. I can still relate to the attempt to earn/deserve/accomplish perfection myself.
    God always knows what we need, evidenced once again by your Lenten leading. And now? 3 miles! This walking woman, never a runner though you inspire me here, is impressed by 3 miles. My husband loves running long distances–no hope there for me. But 3 miles. . . firm up the soft? Sounds like maybe yes:)
    Always love reading your words. Your real words. And the irony of letting some things go is how much more people can relate to us:)

  2. says

    YAY….I’m praying that God breaks the woven chains of lies that mis-spoken words can often entangle us with. Sometimes those are words we’ve thought to ourselves. Jesus came to free the captives….praying you continue to burst forth. All those lies have no legal right to reside within you….YOU ARE HIS BELOVED and YOU ARE FREE….keep embracing that!!!!!

  3. says

    I have all of those same “what-ifs.” I think I am in the process of letting them go, but some, oh some, are rooted so deeply that I can barely even see the stem because the weed has gotten so big. You have given me a lot to think about.

  4. says

    “And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since he knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.”

    A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

    You are His beloved daughter!!! I am His beloved daughter!!! And His Love casts out all those fears and rebukes all the lies whispered in our ears by the evil one.

  5. says

    Thank you for the reminders…God loves me. I have especially been hard on myself lately and I need to see myself as God sees me.

  6. says

    Laura,
    This is so beautiful. It’s hard, isn’t it, to really embrace the idea that it’s not about how good we are…it’s about how good He is?

    I can imagine Him shaking His head, sadly, when we berate ourselves.

  7. says

    Laura, you skimmed a deep surface of all the what ifs. I imagine if they were set end to end they would not out distance the love of God. Thanks for sharing your heart. Run like the wind miss!

  8. says

    I am with you sister…I love your courage to speak it. Something similar came up with my counselor this week (Jared and I have been working on our trouble areas in preparation for overseas) and though I thought that ‘perfectionist’ ‘holding it all’ task master was de-throned, you know, it goes so deep…did you read this, it’s my Perfectionist’s Anonymous Poem Testimony:

    http://findtheflametofan.blogspot.com/2011/01/good-better-best.html

    hugs:-)

  9. says

    This is so…amazing, wonderful, true and necessary. Thanks for putting it out here for us to learn from and empathize with! You have described almost all of the women I have ever known or worked with/counseled/
    directed/prayed for – including me.

    I am thankful with you for the lessons of love learned through this Lent (and no, that alliteration was not intentional, just couldn’t be avoided somehow…). Just lovely.

  10. says

    Laura, OH MY… how I can relate to this post… it is me saying my every day “WHAT-IF’s” I am going to STOP right now! to spend some time in prayer… stopping to hear God remind me of the awesome love He has for me. THANK YOU SO MUCH for blessing me… Patti hugs to you

  11. says

    This post is so timely for me Laura. I had a little epiphany the other day. I heard the words “approval addict” and knew they were talking about me. It is this constant striving to do it all right so that the Lord and all the people in my life will like.
    He is calling me to surrender it – these need – and find what I’m longing for in Him alone.
    This has ministered dear heart. Thank you.

  12. says

    As someone who also has at times substituted exercise for God, I get it, and I admire you so much for listening and following through.

    Also, I love your images of God as mother this afternoon. You’re the second person to bring that up this week.

    Finally, the new blog design is lovely. Just like you.

  13. says

    I am so incredibly deep down happy to read this..
    I felt the shift..

    ( three miles is not little , girl, see , even in that you are too hard on yourself )

    pride and shame and quiet and doing are all interesting parts of our being.

  14. says

    I have been going, going, going trying to not just do things but do them perfect. Honestly, I feel like more of a failure in this mode.

    Thanks for the reminder I am love anyway. I so needed this especially this past week.

    Jen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *