For the past year or so, I have felt like God has been calling me back to life. Like I was in a slumber of sorts for awhile before. In my marriage, in my parenting, in my relationships with my extended family, in my relationship with the faculty and with other parents at my kids’ school, in my relationships with strangers… and even in my own soul. I feel like, in some ways, I was comatose for a good long while there.
I’m not sure when this slumber started: was it when my hormones went whacky after the birth of my son a few years ago? Was it when I lost my unborn baby? Was it when my husband started working as a cop? Was it way back when I became a mom for the first time? Or was it even farther back— my wedding day? My parents’ divorce? My first heartbreak? Or did the numbing out, the state of unconscious “dead-ness” reach all the way back to when I was five and my cousin touched me in a place boy cousins aren’t supposed to touch girl cousins…?
I honestly don’t know.
All I know is that I’ve felt guarded and resistant to true, unabashed joy for… pretty much as long as I can remember. I’ve had my moments of wonder, for sure, but there has always been a fear there, pulsing under the surface of everything. Just when I start to feel real happiness I quickly get it’s flip-side: panic that this will all soon be destroyed or taken or twisted in some way.
So anyway, back to the good stuff:
Coming back to life— that’s the topic of this mental meandering I’m hammering out here.
About a year ago I heard God start to call to me: Come out of hiding, He prodded.
Not knowing what He meant, and fearing that it might require parts of my heart and soul and time that I wasn’t yet ready to feel or see or show to the world, I cowered a bit.
You matter, Kristi. YOU. Just you— as an individual. As my daughter. As my chosen treasure. You matter. And it’s time, He called to me.
First it was just whispers in my soul; gentle invitations and coaxings.
Then He got more obvious as I saw His finger beckoning me come to Him: I heard a sermon wherein women specifically were blatantly called out— we were encouraged to be brave and follow Him… even if we were scared. From the pulpit at my very own church, we women were told that our dreams matter, that our desires and personalities and talents and passions… matter. They matter to the God who created us and they matter to the world.
Follow Him, the preacher said, even if you’re afraid.
And that night I knew it was a call to me. God, who had been whispering and speaking and prodding me for months now… was now shouting to me. He couldn’t have made it plainer:
It was time.
Time to stop cowering in the shadow of others, hiding my true self from my most precious loved ones. From even myself.
Time to stop using the excuse that I couldn’t do this or that because I was a woman. Or because I was a wife. Or because I was the wife of a cop. Or because I was a mother. Or because I was a hormonal mess who feared she was a bona fide head-case. Or because I was introverted. Or because I was extroverted. Or because I was married to an introvert. Or because I still had so much room to grow. Or because I had screwed up so many times before and what if I screwed up again and people noticed and then it would prove once and for all that I had no business putting myself out there and sharing my story…
And yet: He motioned for me to come out. To simply follow Him to the next thing He had for me.
And I was so scared. So anxious that if I started following Him that my whole life would fall apart, that my marriage would crumble, that my anxiety or my depression would only get worse and worse and worse until one day I would just explode. Or implode. Or something equally dramatic. And then I’d have to live out the rest of my days on lock-down in a mental ward.
I feared walking out into the light. I feared the pain of blooming. I feared the potential persecution I might face if I actually became a healed and whole and healthy human being.
But most of all… I think I feared the beauty that I might see if I truly let God water me and tend to me and grow me. I feared it would be just too damn good to handle.
But, in the end, I accepted the invitation.
Tentatively, cautiously… shakily… with faith and hope tucked into my breast pocket… I took tiny step after tiny step into the places God was leading me to go. He led me to books, to conversations, to journal pages, to Bible verses, to friends, to hikes, and to challenges I wouldn’t have taken myself to if I wasn’t being drawn there by my Maker.
Scared, but with courage and boldness growing incrementally with each new encounter, I began to follow Him out of my dark and cozy cave into a more spacious, more open, more alive place.
He is still drawing me out. I’m still finding parts of myself in this process. I’ve still got some momentous growing to do. I’ve still got a lot of blooming to do.
But I’m on my way.
And, good God, it feels great out here in the fresh air.
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What about you?
Is God luring you to come out of your shell as well? In what ways? Does following His lead ever bring you fear or is this life of a faith-walking person a breeze for you?
Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences in the comment section below.