For my second year of Lent, I decided to let go of a third of my belongings. I like my things and I knew going through all the memories and the way this thing or that makes me feel wanted or smart or shows how far I have come or proves how relevant or hip or fun or friendly I would be hard.
What I didn’t expect was that it nearly broke me.
And you know what the funny thing is? It isn’t a priceless family heirloom or an irreplaceable painting or book that the girls made for me that was so hard to get rid of.
It was the extra D&D 4E rulebooks, all of my notes from grad school and French graphic novels. I’m talking about books I read once, thought ‘meh’ and slide onto the bookshelf…3 years ago. I nearly cried when I put a copy of Carl Sagen’s ‘Cosmos’ in the sell bin (never mind that I had 3 copies).
I realized that it wasn’t items per se that I was throwing away, but the pieces of my finely engineered persona [Sique], the brave face that I showed t o the world (at least in my own mind). I love this brave face and it has served me well. And as I look over this stuff, trying to leave that persona [Sique] and that way of life behind, I ask myself ‘What if I the person that I am giving all of this up to be [that is, the person God has called me to be] is nothing like the person I have spent so many years building a life to be? What am I going to when the hard times hit?’
That’s the question I wrestle with.
Whenever I was worried, felt not-so-great about myself, or wondering what I was doing with my life, I would look at these things and think:
“See! You have education, you have passions, and you have thousands of books!! See how [insert wonderful adjective here] you are?”
And I feel better (I put this in present tense because it still works).
But then I think back to the times when I didn’t have these things. I think back to when I was a widowed ghetto girl with two girls that wanted to see the world. I remember days without food so my girls could eat. I remember when all we had was what we could carry in a couple of backpacks. I remember when I struggled to read all the assignments and raise my girls and watch as my marriage died.
I would later get married to a wonderful man that gets on my nerves regularly, have a bunch of travel stories, and get that degree. I even found reconnected with God again; but during the times when all I saw darkness, I would sit and pray:
“I know that I don’t deserve this from You, but please give me a small taste of the strength and love I had when You still loved me.”
And even though I didn’t fully believe it, there is no doubt in my mind in hindsight that He did carry me through all of those times. When I had nothing but hopes and studies and blind leaps into fate to define me, I leaned on Him…ish.
But what about now?
Now, as I look at all the things I have given away or sold, I admit that I still wonder if I should let this stuff go. It scares me to think about having to deal with pain and loss and disappointment without Sique and I spent many days crying and talking myself into and out of taking ‘just one or two things’ back.
But it is done.
I may not fully trust that He will be there to lean on, but He is there and he wants me lean on Him. He craves it. Removing these things and the labels that they bear leaves room for Him to define who I am.
I hope I like her.