“I’m totally judging you right now.”
A student’s snarky response to what was an attempt on my part to connect with him cut me right to the core.
I know better than to take things students say personally, and most of the time it’s easy for me to let statements such as this one roll off my back, but not this time.
This time I had to put on a mask to hide the intensity with which his words echoed into my soul. Because this time? I felt like I should be judged.
My inner voice had been whispering messages of self doubt into my heart in recent days, and hearing one hurting, unsuspecting person’s attempt at humor at my expense confirmed that the murmurings in my heart were true. I was a worth being judged. I should stop fighting it and accept that it was true.
As I continue on my journey to lean this year, I’ve been learning in the most painfully vulnerable sorts of ways that it is crucial to lean around the obstacles that stand in the way of me living in grace.
I believe in grace and it’s power, and yet there are more times than I usually acknowledge that I want to earn it. I want to be worthy of it.
If those silly desires were true, however, then grace wouldn’t be what it is. Grace can’t be grace if it’s able to be earned. Grace is the most genuine driving force in my life in spite of the countless ways I screw up and don’t deserve it.
And yet there are times that I get stalled in front of voices of negativity, where I shut out the message of God’s grace so that I can soak in the painful blows of self-doubt that spew out, washing over my confidence and peace. The acidity of the lies burn through my shield, and I become a sponge that expands with each backhanded comment, deflecting truth and joy as I swell up with despair.
It’s during the times in life that I get this lethargic with anguish that I must choose to lean around the hurdles that say I can’t live a joy-filled, grace-permeated life.
For some reason, I tend to resist this necessary stretch. I despise hearing the voices that bring me down, yet I willingly make myself susceptible to their toxic messages.
Thus I’m making myself learn to stretch rather than cower. When I stand before an impugning barricade of any kind, I willfully choose to defy its deft attempts to hold me back by leaning around it so I can instead blaze a curved yet determined path towards freedom and truth.
The winter seasons of life require a staunch effort to survive, fight, and plow through dark days. There will be voices of doubt and criticism that will practically shout hopeless lies. The trick is to hear them, but then lean around them to keep moving forward anyway.
Learning to lean is tough, but each day that I endeavor to do it, I become more convinced that it’s the worthy way to truly living.
So lean around with me, won’t you?