Wow…40 years between these photos! So much has changed, and yet some things haven’t. For I may look like the photo on the right. But I have often felt like the one on the left. Especially this morning. Let me explain.
I look reasonably happy at 15, but I was actually miserable. I had my heart broken by a girl and quit track over fear of failure. I often felt disconnected and alone during school. Depression began to rear its ugly head. And underneath it all was a deep self-hatred. I wanted to be anybody except myself.
Over the years, I tried on many costumes to cover it all up. I thought that success or fame or approval could somehow cure all the aches and sadness. But I was deceived. It only made things worse. That’s because I was always running, running from that 15 year old with his shadow haunting my every step.
I knew that I had to do something different. And terrifying. I had to turn and face the shadow and descend into it. I had to surface all the longings of that 15 year old, with all of the pain and confusion, and just wait. I had to wait for someone to come and get me. I had to wait for God.
The waiting has happened in early mornings on my back porch with my Bible and journal. I wait for the Father to come and get me. Just this morning, I was reading this out of the Bible: “And to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” I was asking to feel that love. And what surfaced was a memory of looking at myself in a mirror at home during those early years. I felt contempt for what I saw, longing to be the popular or athletic one, but knowing that would never happen. I felt trapped.
But then something interrupted that memory. I heard the Father’s whisper: “I love that geeky boy, that stumbling boy.” And about the image in the mirror I heard this: “Let that go. Let me love you.” And with that the release of tears. I was feeling it, the love that surpasses knowledge, no longer trapped.
This is how the boy on the left is becoming the man on the right. Where do you need to let go of your past?