I came in like a wrecking ball, I never hit so hard in love. All I wanted was to break your walls; all you ever did was wreck me.
– Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball
HAPPY EASTER EVERYBODY!
Lent is over, make up can be reapplied! But I’m please to tell you that today I haven’t worn any make up at all. I told my mum this morning before church I’m gorgeous without it, so my original aim of this whole Lent thing was to feel better and more comfortable in my own skin. Yes, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had a single day of Lent go by without wanting to put a paper bag over my face or just ditching the whole thing and chucking on the old Rimmel again (cheeky tip if you ever find yourself doing something like this – remove the temptation from where you are! I left all of my makeup in my uni room when I came home!) But I’d also be lying if I sat here now and said I wasn’t feeling a little bit proud of myself that I made it through this ordeal! And yes, I use the word ordeal because the first few weeks of this were horrendous. But as I looked harder in the mirror and even when I wasn’t feeling completely fabulous, there was always that voice in my head telling me I was beautiful anyway. Good old Jesus, eh? And thankfully, I have some seriously supportive people in my life who’ve been cheering me on through the whole thing. Thank you everyone for your support.
So it felt weird it being Easter Sunday and not writing the last blog of this series on Lent. I guess I just want to go over a few things and I’ve been doing some thinking this evening and generally (dangerous, I know) and there’s a few things I want to share. Probably with some funky pictures and maybe even a cheeky verse or too!
Before I say anything else, I want to assure you: yes, that is Miley Cyrus you see at the top of the page. Why?! Well, the first thing I want to talk about is the past.
This song, whenever I hear it on the radio, always reminds me of a girlie night in with chocolate and wine and nail varnish remover. Pjs and slippers and probably even some popcorn and tweezers for our eyebrows. It’s one of those songs that sounds like it should be belted out by slightly merry teenagers who are seriously annoyed with a guy (or another girl, whoever takes your fancy) and need to just say HEY, I’M DONE.
But does she really say, hey, I’m done? I’m arguing for no on this one. See, Miley sings about how she did her best with this person and how she just wanted to love them and all that, but does she let go? Really? No. I need to stress now that I am literally writing this to myself. If you take anything out of it as well, praise Jesus, it’s not just Easter but my words work! Something I struggle with, I don’t know if it’s the depression or it’s just me (probably a bit of both I guess), I have a real habit of holding onto things. I can forgive, with difficulty I’ll admit, but I forgive. It’s just the forgetting part I have a bit of trouble with. The hurts never seem to go away, or I can’t feel the same way about someone or something ever again. I struggle giving it over to Jesus, I suppose. I also have a habit of giving things to Jesus and then taking them back, because I think that’ll be a really smart move?
Err. No, Annie.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Hooray! The first bible verse. 🙂 (I don’t have a set number, let’s see where the Spirit leads us, eh)
The key bit I want to focus on here is the second clause – “the old has gone, the new is here”. Amazing, right? I think, if my theology serves me right, Paul is talking about what happens when we enter into that relationship with Jesus for the first time. Jesus takes away all of the old stuff and gives us lots of lovely new things and a new us, as well. I’ve always been one of those people who have a bit of a issue with this, because I find I tend to take 10 steps back for every one forward and it can get a bit frustrating reading this and wondering whether Jesus really did take away the old. Thing is, I believe that he did. When I met him for the first time and said yes to him, he took all of the crummy stuff away. I think, however, it’s also a process of taking away. I’m still sinful and definitely NOT perfect, so it’s going to take some time. I was thinking about some stuff earlier and I remembered when I was seeing this guy for a bit, I was a little bit intoxicated (okay, quite a bit) and I can remember seeing in his eyes he wasn’t happy with me anymore. Don’t know whether it was my behaviour or it had just fizzled out or whatever, but I remember seeing it. It really hurt at the time, and praise Jesus for his amazing strength, when it did end and it didn’t end well, I managed to find the strength to forgive him (took me ages, again, genuinely not perfect!). But sometimes the sting of that stuff still gets to me. Not just that one incident but the whole thing, and other parts of my life and people who have put me down or hurt me or made me feel bad about myself and like I’m not good enough. I wonder whether Jesus takes that away – of course he does, Annie. Of course he does. But as I said, it’s a process. I need to keep giving that stuff to him when it hits me again or I have a nasty flashback or whatever. I need him to be in charge of that, and not me.
Sometimes, as I said, I feel like I take 10 steps back for every one forward. But then, as I typed that the first time, I remembered this verse:
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6
So it does take time. Thank goodness for that, I’m not just being slow! I’m gradually getting to a point. What I’m trying to say, is that through all of this Lent stuff I have to remember that all of those bad days I’ve had and steps backwards I’ve taken, Jesus isn’t finished with me yet. Jesus hasn’t topped up my self-esteem and now I’m set for life – it’s an ongoing process. It’s a constant reminder of: “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” until it is drummed into my heart and it’s pumping around my body until the day I die. It’s crying out to him when I feel rubbish and insecure and unloved or unwanted. When the sadness comes, it’s about telling him I have no words and no energy, but take that nothingness as an offering in itself. Jesus has it all. He takes broken, damaged people and he makes them whole. No, it doesn’t happen instantly. I can’t tell you why it doesn’t, other than for me it’s my stubbornness to keep doing it on my own and my own way. To get miserable and hide under the covers or to eat so much food I feel sick or whatever. That isn’t a way forward, Jesus IS the way.
So, unlike Miley, I propose that from now on, as a new beginning at Easter, that the past goes into the Maker’s hands. He’s holding my future. I need him to throw away the crummy stuff so he can bring in the new, right? I’m so glad I did this no makeup business for Lent. Probably one of the bravest things I’ve ever done, mind, but that’s Jesus’ strength for you right there. What Jesus did for us on the cross that day he died and the day he rose again meant so so many things. Obviously, the most obvious and important is our salvation and our relationship with God renewed forevermore – but this is also a new beginning. A new start, a new place to begin – with Jesus.
I don’t want to be like Miley anymore and hold it all back from Jesus. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide, or cover up, or pretend anymore – all of the things I’ve described in this blog series I guess! I want to be that new creation and I want to reach completion. Jesus knows what he’s doing and that is the most amazing thing. I also want to say that, unlike the certain gentleman friend of mine I used to have, Jesus sees me in a state and loves me anyway. Unconditionally and eternally. He took all of my state-ness and rubbish and put it on a cross for me. He loves me, and he’s looking after me. Like the woman at the well I mentioned a few posts ago, Jesus knew all about her promiscuous past and he loved her anyway when the rest of the world was judging her. I come from a place where makeup is pretty much focal and being single isn’t always the best thing. But I’m deciding, all over again, to choose Jesus this Easter. A new start.
Because he loves me anyway. All the baggage, all the mess. He loves me. Just the way I am.
Peace and blessings x
Picture from Bethany Pearce on Pinterest 🙂