Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and barely recognize the person you've become? I feel that way lately. I am finally on the other side of grad school and half expected to just return to my "old self" after grabbing my diploma, passing boards, and securing a job. I look back at photos of myself from a few years ago, and I remember how happy and optimistic I felt. I was excited for the future, for growing up, owning a house, starting a career.
I looked at a girl in the mirror today who was 40 pounds heavier than the girl I once knew. And not that my weight defines me, but it certainly says a lot about how I've coped with stress over the past few years. I miss choosing things that are healthy and good for me. I miss running and training for half marathons. I miss feeling strong and capable, like I could conquer many things, physically and mentally. I miss cooking healthy meals. I have spent a lot of energy worrying over the past few years, and when I worry, I get awfully hungry.
Aside from physical health, my mental state is not what it was once either. The happy-go-lucky girl who felt carefree and excited to face each day has been traded in for a glass half-empty, "realistic," downtrodden girl who complains often and fights negative thoughts by the minute.
What does it take to return to who you once were? I think for me a lot of it lies in turning back to Jesus and finding identity in Him. Which, for me, is easier said than done. I've come to the cross few times in the past year; I still love God and believe in who He is and what He has done for me. I still revere Him and am in awe of His goodness. But somewhere along the way, I started focusing on me more and started seeing less of God. There isn't room for two masters in your life, and I pushed God out as master of mine. Now, coming back feels like all I can offer are filthy rags, nothing fit for a King.
Thankfully, that's all that he asks of me. That I come back and surrender my dirty rags and surrender the self-seeking life I have acquired. I don't deserve to be welcomed back; none of us do. But like the father welcomes the prodigal son, the Father welcomes us back with open hands and an open heart. I do not understand these things, but I know them to be true. Do you ever wander so far from God that you wonder if even he will recognize you? This is how I feel as of late. My life is consumed with me, and my heart feels so far from the One who calls me His.
I suppose this is a rather bleak post to write as my "welcome back" to the world of writing. But these things are heavy on my heart, and I don't know where to go with them. I need to sit and faithfully read the words of Truth in my Bible. And I need to listen to what the Lord asks of me and where He calls. And I need to pray for a renewed heart, a spirit of repentance, and a way out of this rut that I feel stuck in.
I pray that if you are in this place, that perhaps we can hook arms and start walking up the path again, closer to light and love. It has been so very dreary these past many years. I am hopeful that the bright places are coming into focus once again, and that Jesus will reign once again as Savior and Victor.