One of many.
When I first started blogging in 2006, I chose the name “Lilies Have Dreams” for my personal blog.
It was a reference to Matthew 6:28-34, which compares us to the lilies of the field and says we need not worry — that we are important to God and that God will take care of us, even as he takes care of the lilies that line the earth. It was a reference, too, to dreaming — to living out loud, to taking risks, to standing on the precipice of my own life, which I had been slowly learning how to do (and was about to do in great measure, as I packed up my belongings and moved across the country to marry Kirk the following month).
Ultimately, it was the idea that I could be small yet valuable to God and that even in my smallness, I could dream big dreams and then, because my value was rooted in God, I could take risks.
Learning to be a small yet beautiful and fully beloved lily of the field … that was a big part of my formation journey my first time around the formation spiral. It’s something that took many years as I identified and then began unlearning key beliefs and behaviors that showed up in my life as perfectionism, over-responsibility, scruples, phantom guilt, and what I came to call the superhuman tendency.
It was about unlearning my need to be God.
It was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
I don’t say “unlearning my need to be God” from a place of pride but rather fear. I believed with every cell in my body that I needed to hold the world aright. I carried the responsibility for things that went wrong, even if I had nothing to do with what happened. I believed myself to be other people’s saviors, needing to know what they needed and supplying it. I wasn’t allowed to have needs myself.
Again, this wasn’t a prideful thing. It was what happened when a whole lot of mixed-up, messed-up messages tumbled around in my head and my heart at a very young age and then were given a mixed-up, messed-up interpretation through my too-young lens. I didn’t realize at the time that I was ingesting these messages or interpreting them the way I was. And I really didn’t realize the impact those messages and interpretations would have on my life as I continued to grow up and live into the world.
God is merciful and gracious. He took me through a long unlearning.
As he did this, he took the burden of responsibility off my shoulders. I could live free. I could breathe. Even better: I could make mistakes. I felt, truly, like one of those lilies of the field, small and one of many, yet dazzling in her beauty, twirling and dancing and smiling and laughing in her utter freedom and belovedness.
I’m relearning this now.
As I continue to grow forward from my healing journey, I’m dealing with the fallout of what happened to me at 15 and 16 years old. I’m looking at the ways it damaged and messed me up. I’m feeling angry. I’m feeling sad. I’m struggling my way toward the place where forgiveness lives.
And I’m bumping up against that old need-to-be-God proclivity again.
This means I’m struggling to let myself feel what I really feel, as I’m constantly second-guessing whether those feelings are right, correct, and perfect (since everything God does is right, correct, and perfect). It means I’m afraid to tell people they hurt and failed me, as I’m not allowed to be someone who gets hurt or needs people to hold up their end of the relationship. It means I’m afraid to take steps in any direction, for fear they’ll be the wrong steps, since I’m not allowed to do anything wrong or make mistakes.
It’s about learning to be human again.
Human. The thing I previously came to see as one of God’s greatest gifts to us. The not-God-ness. The imperfections in us that are so heart-achingly beautiful. The vulnerability of it all. The permission to stumble, to mess up, to learn. The ability to grow, which means the reality of not-yet-developed-ness. Not having to have all the answers. Not having to be the expert authority.
Just human. Walking alongside.
I’m relearning this right now.
Do you ever live inside this struggle?