I was about seven years old when the father of a friend walked past me at the Kmart in Homewood, Alabama.
“Hi Becki,” he said warmly as he walked by.
Instead of saying, “Hi Mr. So-and-so, how are you?” I froze with fear. For me to speak words was like giving permission for someone to know me. And I couldn’t allow that.
Without saying a word, I ran and hid. Little did I know, I wasn’t hiding at all.
SCHLEPPING THROUGH YEARS OF STRUGGLE
Fast forward a few decades, and this word-battle still plagues me. Although the adult version is less conspicuous, it still operates within my born again self. How can this be?
I have two dear friends that could talk the paint off the wall. They are so free with words about their lives, families, friends and activities. They are literally walking, talking open books!
I affectionately (well, maybe sarcastically) refer to this type of folk as Loquacians of the Gregarious Verbose clan.
I’m being silly. Though I am in awe of their chitchat-ability. And here I lord over my words so carefully lest a single one escapes!
At best, it’s grueling work. At worst, it has an unwarranted authority over me.
And herein lies the problem.
THE UGLY TRUTH
I could justify this behavior by labeling it as introversion. But this entrenched habit of withholding words is powered by lies I choose to believe. Lies that say my opinion is incorrect and I have nothing to say worth being heard. Lies that say I don’t matter.
For someone else, the habit could be anger, gossip, fear, judgement, addiction, unforgiveness, or a number of other offenses.
Yes, these are offenses. I know, it’s hard to hear. But there’s hope.
There’s always hope.
THE HUNT FOR EASTER
I was at Walmart a few weeks ago (I’m not sure what the connection is with big box stores) on an ordinary, run-of-the-mill day. I grabbed my buggy and headed toward the produce.
As I approached the greens section, a girl with a downcast demeanor was standing in front of the lettuce. As I came closer, I spotted the reason for her dejection.
Wilted. Slimy. Sparse.
I’m a Romaine girl myself. But this young lady was interested in the Green Leaf variety, which unfortunately fell into the wilted/slimy category. Without prompt or forethought, I began talking to her about our puny options and the advantages of Romaine (which although was sparse, there were a couple of doable options). We spoke for a few minutes and had a laugh or two. Then I grabbed my bunch and headed toward the milk.
It wasn’t until a while later when I realized what had just happened.
I was not guarded. I was not ashamed. I was not poised to run.
Not only that, I spoke several words to a girl I didn’t know about an off-the-wall subject. What?!?!
For you Loquations, I know this sounds lame. And you may even be thinking, “Who cares?”
But this is where the hope is…
“You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord” (Psalm 139:4)
This is evidence – evidence that the Lord is working in me, drawing me into the new – leading me through my word wilderness to the restoring rivers winding through my desert of doubt (Isaiah 43:18-19).
This is what Easter is. Jesus traded His life so we can be restored to the Father. The One who already knows our words. But more importantly, He knows us – intimately. There’s no need to hide. There’s no need to doubt.
Easter also reminds us of Jesus’ gift of new life that only He could give us. And in this new life, He walks with us as we release parts of our old self, little by little, as we are willing to experience more of what He has for us.
No matter our affliction, perplexity or despair, it’s within these fragile places where restoration opportunities lie.
LET’S BE HONEST
So, you’ve got some bad habits, huh? Maybe you’re believing some lies and rolling them around in your mind? Here’s what you can do:
- Say It – Lay it all out in the Light. Tell God all about it. (1 John 1:9)
- Give It – You’re not made to carry these heavy things. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Do It – Take that first step into freedom. (Galatians 5:1)
- Live It – Take hold of this restoration and run with it! (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Will you allow Easter to transform your struggles into opportunities? Are you ready for the Lord to reveal your restored life?