I've been going through what you could call a "soul detox" over the past few months. A season where I've decided to stop running from myself, escaping the hard things, and actually face my demons head on.
For as long as I can remember, I've been an escape artist. Not so much in the literal sense, but more so emotionally and spiritually. Whenever something would become too difficult or challenging to face, I'd find a way to avoid, an escape if you will. I'd run away, figuratively, and sometimes quite literally, from dealing with whatever it was that was presenting itself as the current monster.
Crazy as it may be, it took me twenty-eight years to be able to face this and admit it about myself.
I was running so hard and so fast from anything that made me feel too much, especially things that forced me to be vulnerable.
I was tired of being hurt by people I thought I could trust, that I decided that shutting off and barricading myself in a fortress of self-protection and emotional isolation was the best solution to prevent pain and heartbreak.
2016 ended in what felt like great defeat and I found myself in slowly beginning to recognize my brokenness and need for repair.
I had been treading water for so long, carrying heavy weighted burdens and my strength was running dry.
I couldn't run anymore.
Several things unfolded, which forced me to realize and acknowledge that it was time to face myself. It was time to stop trying to escape and stay and let the pain wash over me so real healing and freedom could come.
Slowly, little by little, the things I had been running from for longer than I can calculate began to find their way to the surface.
When you start to face yourself after years of denial and circumvention it's as though you're drinking from a fire hydrant. At incredible speeds you are hit on all sides with realization and truth about your toxic, self-imposed cycles, and negative behavioral patterns that keep you trapped in unhealthy mentalities, emotions and relationships.
As these truths begin to be realized and accepted, years and years of scar tissue also appear. Old wounds feel fresh as you recall what initially was the cause of the puncture, and relive the choices, decisions and actions that brought you to this point.
In the midst of all of this, God can feel so far away. As though you've been abandoned in your filth and dysfunction.
Yet, that's the furthest thing from reality.
When silver is being refined, the ore is placed in the hottest of flames. The silversmith may leave it alone at times to allow the impurities to begin to fall off, yet he always returns to remove it from the fire once he can see his reflection in the brightly shining, newly refined silver.
And so it is with God.
He tests us, puts us in the midst of the flames to allow our impurities to begin to fall off so we too can be refined and become a clearer reflection of Him.
And though it's painful, and far from easy, He never leaves us alone.
As the impurities begin to fall off, the wounds start to heal and a true sense of self arises as you become a clearer reflection of the Creator.
I'm far from being fully refined, but I'm a whole lot closer to having a better grasp on who I am, who I'm created to be, and Whose I am.