I can’t believe that I’ll be turning 30 this month. It literally feels as though I just started to live, figure myself out, and plant my feet. So much has gone through my mind as I see where I am today versus where I’ve been in the journey of my twenties. The richness of my life as I’ve begun to see it now, came from the last several years of being planted so deeply in the soil it felt suffocating, isolating, lonely, and broken.
As I’ve spent time in prayer, I was never quite sure of the “perfect” time to share this particular season of my life. Being healthy and emotionally strong enough to put into print those things that initially caused my heart shame and my soul to grieve have been bathed in grace and so much forgiveness of myself and others. But there truly is no time like the present. To keep stalling out of fear has only caused doubt and insecurity, which I desire less of in my life.
My 20’s were a season spent feeling like I had lost myself and not in a good way. My desire to be loved and wanted caused me to end up in an emotionally and physically unhealthy relationship with someone I trusted beyond myself and was a mentor in my life. For almost six years I pushed aside my family, became incredibly depressed, and resorted to self-harm as a way to cope with my dependence on that relationship. I was so enmeshed in who they were that I completely forgot who I was.
For years I blamed myself. I was angry at how I could allow someone like me to be manipulated, isolated, and shamed. I thought I was strong.
I had never felt so broken in my life…
To trust someone and have it broken is a very hard thing. To believe in someone over yourself is a very unhealthy position to be in. I clung on his words as truth for myself and it led down a path I don’t wish on anyone. Looking over my shoulder constantly, envying others daily, wishing if I did “more,” compromised more, that he would love me “more” was my cycle. I never thought it would end..and if it did it was my fault.
To express this so vulnerably is difficult, but I know I’m not the only one. And I know that season was not for nothing.
So how did it end? Well in the most abrupt way possible – he was removed. Sure you’re wondering, well where the heck where you…and I would share, at my church. Then you would probably say something like “see that’s why churches are horrible.” And I would smile, because I learned so much in that season…most importantly to fix my eyes on Jesus and no one else.
See I grew real roots. Not the ones I thought I had just because I went to church, I served at church, I “grew up” at church. When I look at my scars (which still exist on my body), I see a great big God who didn’t leave me nor forsake me. That loved me and was desperately wanting me to see I could love myself.
A fuel was lit inside my soul as time passed that I would be an advocate and I would learn what it truly meant to mentor and support others. I would realize that I already had everything I needed to excel in this life. That the words of others cannot satisfy me like living in real, genuine, authentic purpose…
More importantly I learned to begin to deal with shame, misplaced doubt, and to not carry a burden that wasn’t mine. To forgive for my sake alone, and to put into perspective that no man is better than another. Most importantly to love myself will always be the greatest gift I can give to me and those around me.
In hindsight those were my days of grounding…preparing me for this new season where I feel my footing is unsure. I’m nervous and hopeful for 30, I truly feel I don’t need to hide anymore.