perhaps its because i spent years creating a similarly subjective reality in my own life, desperately constructing a happy, fluffy facade. not only in order to hide who i really was but frankly, because i had no idea who i really was.
growing up in the bible belt, for years, i mentally equated "becoming a christian" with walking an aisle, praying the prayer, going to church. you do those things and you're in the gate. you know, for good. there was little talk of what happened after that. rarely a mention of a path, much less one that is paved with tribulation...
granted, words like tribulation and suffering are not prone to reeling people in. in fact, i'd have probably questioned myself as i bolted down the aisle the night i accepted Christ as my Savior, had i not heard him call my name.
in the years that followed, when life - real life and all its messiness began to unfold - those things, it seemed, were somewhat taboo to speak of. and when my life began to fall apart, i turned and ran from the ones - and most importantly, the One - that i should have been running to.
admittedly, i struggled with my identity for years. and the world was quick to supply a realm of faux wisdom regarding self-development: "be who you are"; "follow your heart"; "be true to yourself". such sweet lies. candy-coated half-truths.
it would be a very long time before i realized i had been asking the wrong question. the question was not "who am i?" - but "to whom do i belong?".
for years, i felt as though i was two different people. because i was. i would waste a lot of time trying to decide which one was "real", not realizing the truth is that the both were: i was one person when left to my own accord and an entirely different person during the seasons of my life when i was surrendered and seeking God. it seemed i was either running away from God or running to God and whoever i was in any given moment was solely determined by the direction i was traveling. what i didn't know - was that i was never going to be able to truly run away from the One who had called me His own. i believed, i really believed that if i ran fast enough, hard enough, far enough... eventually, He'd throw His hands up and come to the same conclusion that i had already, which is that i wasn't worth such an effort. we can't run away from God. we can only run to the end of ourselves.
in the naivete of my youth, i would've declared something along the lines of "yay, me! finally choosing the right path, finally doing the right thing...". but i see now - more clearly than ever - that it was His choosing and His doing all along.
"for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:2
to whom i really belonged was decided before i was born and written across my heart that night in the spring of 1992. in the years that followed - even in the midst of my faithlessness, He remained faithful. and in those times when i was on the run from Him, refusing to utter His name, He was still calling mine...
Can you hear Him calling yours?
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (MT 11:28)
for the first time in my life, i am not running. i am resting.