Removing the Barnacles

I am learning a lot about patience.  And grace.  And truth.
I am learning that gold really does have to go through refining fire in order to shine.  You know what they say, “No pressure, no diamonds.” (That was for my brothers.)
I’m learning that I cannot let other people affect my shine.  Or as a wise person once said (or a very dumb girl on the bachelor), “Don’t let them steal your sparkle.”  Despite the fact that she is outrageously annoying, she isn’t totally wrong.

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared about my new name? God’s treasure?  Well the thing about a treasure chest is that a lot of the time when we picture it, it’s on the bottom of an ocean.  And it’s abandoned.  And gross things grow on it.  Unless someone cleans it off and is careful to consistently rid it of the moss or barnacles or whatever, it won’t ever shine.  It may never even be found.
So I’m learning about what it looks like to “remove the barnacles”.  This means a careful examination of the relationships and attachments in my life.  And usually, my attachments are to my relationships.  Even the unhealthy and hurtful ones.

I’ve realized that I can be loyal to a fault.  Loyalty is awesome, except when you are being loyal to someone or something that is not loyal to you.  Often we can be loyal to people or ideas that are hurtful to us. 
I grew up not being a quitter.  I remember the first time my parents sat me down and said, “Ok, Kallie, you canquit your basketball team.”  It was a huge deal.  We as a family did not really quit things.  Which is awesome. I think it has made me a committed and responsible person.  It has made me a loyal and committed friend.  But it can also blind me to the fact that sometimes loyalty is not in our best interest.  Our emotional or spiritual health can be sacrificed.
I’m experiencing that.  I hate it.  I hate being so affected by a situation that I feel like I’m not me.  I don’t like feeling like I am not living the way I want to live.
But I cannot let a circumstance dictate who I am going to be.  I cannot let barnacles keep me from being a light.

So what are the options? One, scrape off the barnacles.  God calls us to love and forgive and extend grace.  Not once, or seven times, but always.  But I think that we are allowed to say, “You are not allowed to hurt me any longer.” I think we are allowed, and encouraged, to protect ourselves from people or things that will hurt us.
The second choice, when you can’t exactly ‘scrape off the barnacle’ at this particular moment in time, is to live above our circumstances.  I feel completely unequipped to write about this. I don’t know what it looks like or how to do it. I definitely don’t know how to do it well. 
I don’t know how to show grace to someone who makes my blood boil.  I don’t know how to represent Christ in a hurtful relationship. 
I want to so bad.  I just don’t know how.
What I do know is it is not possible, not on my own.  This is one of those “With God nothing is impossible” situations.  Sometimes these are the situations we need to be most grateful for.  Because it is in these times of extreme pressure and challenge that we draw closest to the Lord.  It is when I don’t know how to do it on my own that I snuggle up in my prayer chair and cry for Jesus to comfort me.  And He always, always, does.
I can’t wrap this up with a pretty bow, or in this case some words of wisdom and closure.  I’m in the middle of the fire and just hoping to come out on the other side shiny and gold rather than as ashes.  I’m just trusting that God is always teaching us something…and that nothing is every wasted. 
Listen to these beautiful words:

(“What if every tear you cry will seed the ground where JOY will grow? Nothing is wasted…in the hands of our Redeemer nothing is wasted.”)

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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