This above all, to thine own self be true.- William Shakespeare
Sometimes I think the person we hide most from is ourselves.
It was March in the year 2013. I was sitting in a little office with a dark brown leather chair next to a medical degree hanging slightly crooked on the wall. I was brought back there to cry in a hidden place, well a place I could feel safe to cry, I guess. And I was thankful for that space and that silence, for a while anyway.
I had just been in the the ultrasound room. I had seen my baby. My baby that was supposed to be measuring at ten weeks, but measured at eight. My baby that was supposed to be wiggling, but was still. My baby that was supposed to have a heartbeat, but was silent. I was not thankful for that silence. Not one bit. I am still not, not really.
It was miscarriage number one. There was a rollercoaster of emotions over the next hours and days and weeks. There was numbness and anger. There was confusion, heartbreak, fear. So much fear. I wanted to curl up in a dark hole and not face any of those things. I wanted to just go back to before I lost the baby. I wanted to pretend it had not happened, that it was not real somehow. Maybe if I thought it hard enough it would come true.
I wanted to hide away from God because I was so angry with Him. I wanted to hide from the world because I could not bear to talk about it anymore. It was ripping me apart. But I really wanted to hide from myself.
I did not want to feel the things I was feeling. I did not want to accept them or acknowledge them. They were too dark, too painful. They required so much energy that I just did not have.
I did not want to look at myself in the mirror, the person at the time that I believed was responsible for the loss. The body that for some reason did not work right. The stomach that never grew.
I did not want to stay in my head at all. The thoughts there were full of confusion, doubt, anger, and fear. It was too much to pay attention to those thoughts. Just too much.
I just wanted to hide.
But soon the hiding planted a deep root within that started choking out the life that had once been there.
And I knew, if I did not get that root out, I may not come back.
So I decided to face the mirror. I decided to look at the stomach that was not growing, and I allowed myself to think all of the mean thoughts about my body that I felt must have been broken.
I allowed myself to feel. To question. To think and process and grieve.
I asked God some really hard questions.
Where were you? How could you have let this happen? What did I do to deserve this? Is this punishment? What's wrong with my body that it killed its own baby? Will I ever be able to have another?
And guess what? As I started being raw and vulnerable and honest and authentic with myself, I became more honest with God. As I became more authentic with God, I felt a deep connection with Him that I had not felt in so long. He spoke truth over me in the most beautiful ways.
"I never left you, Kerrah. I hate that you are going though this pain. It was not supposed to be this way. Death was never supposed to be a part of the story. I can't give you every answer, but I know this pain. I have lost a child, too. And believe me, believe me, your baby is safely in my arms. Never to feel pain or shed a tear or know any trouble this world brings."
I accepted this truth and admitted it. I knew it. I held it. Actually, I clung to it. And it brought new growth in me that the deep root had choked out. It brought healing and restoration and hope.
I guess the wider road would be easy to take. The road that avoids knowing ourselves. Being aware of how we think or what we feel or how we are really doing. Knowing the pain and the struggle and the sin. Knowing our personalities, our strengths and weaknesses, our motivations.
To see ourselves too closely feels too exposing. Maybe if we hide long enough the real stuff will fade away.
But that's not how it works, does it?
There is power in being aware and accepting and acknowledging. There is SO much power in it. It pulls out the deep roots that choke us. It allows another into the dark hole, too. It opens the door for truth to pour fresh water in, to plant a new thing in our hearts and help it begin to grow in place of what was lost. It grows new hope and purpose and peace and gratitude and grace. It grows new trust.
Without authenticity there is no connection.
Without connection there is no truth.
Without truth there is no growth.
Without growth there is no healing.
To face myself seems impossible.
The sins I have done.
The thoughts I have had.
The feelings I have felt.
It is at times dark and awful and too heavy of a burden to bear.
But you say to cast my burdens on you
Because you care for me.
So I choose to be aware of my thoughts, my feelings, my sins, and my struggles.
I choose to know myself and be true to who I am.
And then I choose to tell you.
I choose honesty with you.
Because I know that you will come into this open door,
And you will bring light into my darkness.
You will speak truth to the lies in my head and in my heart.
You will show grace for my sin.
You will heal, and You will restore.
In Jesus' Name,
Creative Journaling Prompt
Under this post, sign up to receive the Five Steps to Authenticity with God, Self, and Others! I made it for you to have as a resource to help you in your journey.
Find a Feelings Wheel on google. There are SO many that I really don't have a favorite, but the more feelings the better.
Then draw a large heart on an empty piece of paper. Choose the feelings you have felt lately from the wheel, the colors the coordinate (or others if you are the rebel sort). Fill the heart with the colors of your feelings in proportion to how much/intensely you have felt them.
Then ask yourself for each feeling:
When do I feel this the most?
When did I start feeling this?
How intense is it?
What people or situations are present when I feel this?
What thoughts accompany this feeling?
How do I usually handle this feeling?
Read Psalm 22.