Healing Stones – Reflection for 28 April 2019
Have you ever noticed a line in song lyrics that just sticks with you? Sometimes it just comes and goes while other times it just lingers. This happens to me frequently, and one lyric that has stuck with me for many years is from Hosanna by Hillsong United; “break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdoms cause.” I remember when these lyrics stuck out to me the first time there were many things on my mind that fit right into this line and I attributed it sticking with me because of those things. Wanting to be so in tune with God that what breaks his heart breaks mine also fuels my desire to love well. I’m sure everyone has a different perspective on loving well based on our personalities and passions. Loving well to me means seeing more than outer characteristics, but instead seeing a persons beauty, strength, mystery, passions, interests and all of who they are, listening without judgement, without an agenda or the need to respond and seeing them, really seeing them. I fail at this often, but it is something I strive for. While loving others well is sometimes hard, what I find most challenging is loving myself well. When I look inward, I don’t see what I like or who I am in Christ, I see instead my failures, mistakes, things I don’t do well, all of my injuries, weaknesses and all the things that are shrouded in shame. Looking at my own heart without judgement, without an agenda and with the intent to understand, sometimes feels unattainable. It took almost ten years, but the connection from this song that my inward view was not honoring God is breaking his heart. This awakening has not been easy, and the challenge to love myself, believe I am enough and even accepting Gods love is certainly a battle.
Sometimes it is song lyrics that cling to my mind and invade my thoughts, other times it’s a word, phrase or verse from the Bible. When I stumbled on this verse: Revelation 2:17; “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it,” I got excited. This could be because I share my name with millions, or maybe I know how special it is to have a name only one person calls you. Growing up my grandpa always called me George, I loved it and he was the absolute only person on this planet allowed to call me that. It was something special we shared between the two of us. If a silly nickname from my closest relative can be this special, how much more would a name from my creator and my first love? Since this verse seemed to come alive for me, I have often wondered what my new name will be, but I still fail to see what God already calls me. I fail to see myself as enough, loved, wanted or even just acceptable sometimes. It’s just so easy to become complacent and comfortable where we are, it’s familiar and we know how to navigate through it. Fighting our way out is uncomfortable, messy and sometimes frankly it just hurts.
I tell myself daily in hundreds of ways that I’m not enough, and I belittle and knock myself down. I have called myself many hurtful names, and with each name and each hurtful thought the truth God tries to speak into my soul gets pushed and pressed and hidden. I fail to see myself as a beloved child of God and the consequences of this have been painful. Some unthinkable things happened in my church 7-8 years ago and I watched the church I loved and connected with fight, tear each other down and split filled with anger and malice. I was crushed and heart broken. I have had battles with churches before, but this one hurt me to my core. I was left feeling abandoned, stranded, vulnerable and afraid to trust. It also left me feeling like all the barriers I hide behind were stripped away. I was left facing my own insecurities and unhealthy view of myself as I no longer had my church to distract me. I started to question God’s love for me, because I couldn’t line up God’s character with creating me, someone so broken. It was during this time that the verse Revelation 2:17 came back to me. I began wondering what my name would be, what God calls me, and I realized I already know some of these things. So, I challenged myself to search God’s word for who I am and began slowly collecting words and writing them on stones. Sometimes a word would come to mind and bother me until I thought it through and would write it on a new stone, some came through studying the Bible. Some of these words didn’t hold as much meaning when they came to me, but later they would hit me and make an impact. One of these words was invited. This one bothered me for several years because I always felt so inadequate and too intense for any kind of invitation. I would imagine heaven but see myself far back, allowed in but not close. Then while sitting through a session at a retreat, eyes closed using imagery as I listened to someone reading the story of Mary and Martha it finally hit me. I felt invited to sit at Jesus feet. I spent so much time trying to give Jesus space from what felt like a chaotic life, and the whole time he was reaching out, waiting and inviting me closer.
It has been a while since a word came to me and I wrote on a new stone, but I still haven’t completely accepted all the positive words describing who I am through Christ that have already been written down. I clearly have much more to learn on this journey of self-love, acceptance and compassion. Hopefully, through this journey God will teach me to love myself, and to love others deeper and more richly. Hopefully, I will love my first love more intimately, going to him with confidence and humility, truly living a life that brings God glory and gives me peace. In this, I can eventually rest knowing that maybe there is one less thing that breaks God’s heart, and I can focus more on the injustice, pain and heart ache in other people’s lives, sharing the healing touch of my creator and inviting others to sit at Jesus feet.
Thank you to Christy Wright for sharing this reflection!