I wrote last week about how our house, now gray, has been hiding a bright pink secret for a few years now. The strange hidden hue spoke to me, as strange things in life seem to with me. (I’m wondering more and more if perhaps I’m the strange one, since “strange things” seem to communicate with me on a regular basis…)
Not only did the pink paint remind me of God’s phenomenal ability to see past the present into our potential, but I saw something else there.
As I looked at the pink paint peeking out from behind the more acceptable-for-a-house color of gray, I thought about the strange hues of my life that still hide under the surface of my more socially acceptable exterior appearance.
There are shades of self-consciousness that color every interaction with others.
There are different colors of remorse that sometimes emerge to remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done.
There are hues of anxiety and sadness that still appear in random moments to hinder any and every step forward.
I am a different person than I was when those things dominated my life and declared who I was. Yes, certainly. Thankfully. I am no longer defined by those things…
…but try as I may, they may remain there under the surface. It’s a struggle for me.
God promises to create a brand new creation in me. I feel every day that He has made good on His promise, yet there are still fragments – hues, if you will – of my prior existence under the surface. He has repainted me, but the other colors of life before still remain tucked in unlikely places.
I beg Him to take them away.
I plead with Him to not allow me to travel those roads anymore. The landscape is all too familiar, and the path is well-worn from my footprints. I don’t want to go there any more. My pillow has been soaked with those tears already. I don’t want to do it again.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42)
Sometimes, though, God reminds me of the new paint He has overlaid me with. He reminds me gently of the growth that happened in me because of those other painful colors of my past. He shows me how He is using them even now, and that it is because of those things that I am who I am. It is because of those things – whether hidden or rising painfully to the surface again – that He is able to use me.
It is because of those colors that I remain dependent on Him.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
I think, personally, that some of those things God has allowed me to experience are not meant to remain in my past. No, there is no place in the victorious Christian life for regret or self-condemnation. Jesus Himself has made allowance that those things need not have any power over me, and I need to repent of the hold I have occasionally allowed them to have on me.
Other things, though, are in my past…and my present…and probably my future. My struggle with depression and anxiety is ongoing, and I don’t know that I will ever be fully confident in who I am. I have learned a lot about how to manage those things and how to live with them, but I am not defined by them anymore. They will resurface on random Sunday mornings or difficult Wednesday afternoons, and when they do, I know what to do. I lean on the Lord, and allow His power to prevail. I trust Him to continue to cover the ugly colors of my past, present, and future.
I think those colors are allowed to hide behind other colors in my life because in them, I will remain dependent on the Lord’s power in my life, and my story will remain relevant and real.
It hurts. It hurts a lot sometimes, and there are times when I still cry out for God to please…please take the thorns from my flesh. I beg Him to not make me travel those familiar roads again. It is then, though, that His peace comes and reminds me that even if I do travel the road, I won’t be going alone.
And anyway…I think that maybe the color of who I am today is prettier with those other colors shining through a little.
“…yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)