Hi. I’m Deborah, and I have been so blind.
Blind to what was really going on in my family as I grew up.
Blind to the roles handed me early in life – roles that, in adulthood, I continued to play.
Blind to who I am, apart from those assigned roles.
Blind to whatever the people close to me profoundly denied.
Blind to the things their behavior revealed, when their words and actions did not match.
Blind to my own unmet need to be affirmed as a person – and how very unsafe, the places I tried to get that need met.
Blind to the many, and oh-so-predictable, ways I’ve let others pull my strings.
Blind to the false responsibility I’ve constantly carried.
Blind to the false guilt I’ve kept agreeing to take.
Blind to the difference between religious and godly.
Blind to anything going on behind a convincing Christian façade.
About a decade ago, I began to see. It was marvelous, like a veil lifting, and such an astounding change that I didn’t realize how very much still needed to come into focus.
I didn’t know then how hard it would be to face each new revelation – or how many good Christian people would fight to keep me from it. I didn’t know how confusing it would become when people I loved and trusted hated my every movement toward the light.
I didn’t know how much my identity in Christ would be compromised as I tried to go forward with God – and also tried to please people who really mattered to me.
The more the Lord showed me, the more I found myself fighting against the FOG that author Susan Forward first described. A cloud of fear, obligation and guilt swirled just below the surface of my understanding, while a chorus of voices relentlessly shouted, “No! Don’t see that! Don’t go there! Change back!”
I’m Deborah, and I have been so stuck.
A decade has passed, while, time and again, I’ve taken a few steps forward and then, lost in the fog, fell down and back. Stuck is depressing. Stuck feels hopeless. It keeps you going in circles, while whispering, “There’s no way out.”
I got stuck because I wanted to follow God fully, and I wanted people to understand that’s what I was doing. Thankfully, some did. But some people, that I really, really, really wanted to get it, still do not.
It costs to say, “Though none go with me, I still will follow.” It costs more to do it. But now I realize: By getting stuck on that cost, thinking it too high, you set yourself up to lose everything.
- You don’t please the people who desperately want you to stay blind and bound. And you do them no good, no good at all.
- You forfeit living in the fullness of the identity Jesus died to give you. And you do not honor him.
Thank God for his grace. As I stumbled around, stuck in the fog – confused as to what was good and what was evil, what was true and what was not – my Lord knew I wanted to see. And he kept showing me what I needed to know to be free.
Embracing what he’s revealed has required a fight every inch of the way. The latest battle, the hardest and by far the most intense, has lasted more than two years. While God has worked to strip off blinders, I’ve tried to process the emotions; the anger and sorrow, the guilt of not seeing sooner, the shock of what I now know.
The people whose approval I’ve tried the hardest to gain still withhold it. The loss makes me sad, but now I see why validation from certain quarters has mattered so much to me. The lie I’d unwittingly embraced since infancy said: “If they disapprove, I don’t count. At all. I’m not even an actual person. Just a place for people to dump their trash.”
At last, I know in my inmost being what I would have told you I knew all along:
I’m created in the image of God and made new in the Lord Jesus. I’m accepted in the Beloved. I am fully me in him. No one’s disapproval cancels that, and the only person who can hinder my living it out is me.
The fog hasn’t completely dispelled. Sometimes, it still gets really thick. But now I recognize what it is and what in me opens the door for confusion to roll in. Now, I can cooperate with God the Spirit to blow the fog away.
Several situations in my life remain difficult and distressing. FYI: That’s an understatement. Repeatedly, God shows me not to lean on my own understanding as to what might help or hurt. He leads me to choose the light – and to say no to what would deter me from it. In this new forward movement, as I dare to go with God where fear, obligation and guilt forbid, I rediscover hope. Once again, I taste joy.
No longer blind, no longer stuck, I’m embracing the light, and pursuing the God who gives it.
I’m Deborah, and I am choosing life.