My "Sole" Overflows

I came that they might have life abundantly.”
A “long time ago”, when I was about 14, a close friend mailed me a letter. At the end of this letter, he wrote: “Within us all is the strength to fly, the love to sustain us, and the dream to make us try.”

When you are 14 years old, it’s very easy to accept these words of inspiration at face value. How inspiring! How uplifting! How empowering!

But in the 12 years since the words were coined, I’ve come to a sound conviction: My friend was wrong. Dead wrong.

As the eldest of three children, I can tell you a thing or two about “inner strength.” There is a set of criteria that many would argue govern the psyche of the eldest child. While I know that this does not hold true for everyone, it certainly holds true for me. My mother recounts a story of a defiant two-year-old standing in the middle of the bathroom with one hand on her little hip, the other outstretched waiting for her toothbrush to be placed in it: “Me do it myself.”

I was always the obstinate do-it-myself’er, always telling my brothers and sister, my friends, my classmates, my parents, and everyone in between how it was going to be and how they needed to do it. There was no challenge I could not meet. There was no barrier that could hold me back. It was that same attitude that willed me to load everything I owned into my car and uproot myself from the only life I’d known. Piece of cake, I remember thinking. I’ve got this covered.


It was around that time that the self-reliance on which I’d proudly stood got ripped out from under my pretty little heeled feet. I landed in a heap. And it hurt. Bad.

Broken. Sometimes, this is how I’ve come to think about my heart and my life. This word has been reverberating in my mind for a week, ever since last Sunday when the feelings of loneliness I’ve managed to ward off for the past year began to resurface.

While there is certainly a will within me to achieve and to try, I’ve found my strength will eventually falter. I realize I am limited and can’t fix everything. I can’t give myself the kind of love I’m longing for…the kind that will heal a heart that has been hurt over and over and over. I can't make myself trust again. 

Furthermore, I realize, with increasing astonishment, that everything that I have touched, everything that I have every tried to piece together with my own two hands, is flawed. Try as I may, I cannot produce anything that is perfect. And the more I try, the more I mess it up.  

It is here that my personal convictions diverge from the popular mantra of the generation in which I live:

“Look into yourself.”
“You have everything you need inside.”
“Believe in yourself.”

It both infuriates and terrifies me that we so openly accept this crap (yes, it's crap) as truth.

If the last three years have taught me anything, it is this: I desperately need to be saved—everyday—from myself. I need to know a love that sees my flaws and accepts them, because they may not ever go away. I need someone who understands the deepest way that my heart has been hurt, and can offer the means to heal it. I need someone in my life who is more wise than I can comprehend, who understands the reason I was made, and who can guide me on the path toward the life I was destined to live.

So, anyone who understands even a smidgen of the Christian Faith knows where I am going with this. In truth, I've never been alone (since I was 12) even in the height of my "I've got this covered" days. If the past year and a half has been anything—it has been a lesson in giving every little pain and hurt to Him, one piece at a time.

There’s a freedom that comes with this kind of realization and this kind of practice. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. But I know that I’m on my way to some better and bigger than myself…and that it really has nothing to do with me at all. 
Look at the nations and watch-and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this - thanks for beautifully sharing.


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