The memory is clear: six years ago, I was sitting behind the wheel of my car at an intersection close to my home, waiting for the light to turn green. I was singing along to a song on the radio:
“… when you feel like you’re done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you’re not lost.”
Lost, by Michael Bublé, has become one of my all time favourite tunes, because the lyrics are so close to my heart.
I know that lost girl well—the younger version of myself that I’m still trying to break down. She’s the one sitting in the corner of the classroom hoping the teacher doesn’t see her. She’s desperate for a part in the school musical, but too afraid to put herself forward. She’s the one blushing and stammering when her boss simply asks her a question.
Waiting at that intersection I felt her presence again, knocking on the door of my soul, whispering, Look at me—I’m here.
I wanted so badly to ignore her, to tell her, I’m over you. But there she was again, making her presence known through my fears, inadequacies and timidities.
That’s me, I whispered, as Bublé’s smooth voice drowned out my own.
I think God may have been taking notice, because not long after that I became a Christian.
Sitting in church week after week I thought I had given my eight-year-old self the slip. I was learning, growing, showing up. I could almost feel myself crawling out from a dark corner and stepping into visibility. I began to connect to the people around me, to offer my thoughts and opinions. I was starting to find my voice and step out onto the stage I had always shied away from.
So when I looked in the mirror one day and felt like I was staring down my inner child, I was exasperated. I didn’t want to pander to her needs or give her room to talk. She was the one who was lost, not the new Christian me. Surely not the new me.
I have to admit I was kind of ashamed of that girl. Just when I thought I had it all together she showed up like a pesky shadow, stealing my light and shrouding me in darkness. She came in the form of self-comparison, self-doubt and depression. She rocked my faith and she took me right back to that intersection with Michael Bublé. Lost. Lost. Lost. And I was afraid. Because if God couldn’t save me from her, who could?
Wasn’t God supposed to scoop me up into His arms and set me free from the past? Isn’t that what relationship with Him is all about?
Sometimes I want to go back to that time at the intersection and stay there. It was easier somehow. I didn’t have to face the little girl; I could ride along in apparent disconnect, numbing myself to the world. I could watch TV at night and pretend I was doing okay. I could post a certain persona on Facebook that I wanted people to see. I could ignore the constant niggling that told me I really didn’t have it together.
God sees it all. Hiding any part of myself is impossible. He knows the girl who is afraid to speak and calls her out of darkness. But He doesn’t call her out by bathing her in light—instead he challenges her to turn around and face the dark, to look that lost little girl square in the eye and figure out why she keeps showing up.
There have been times over the last six years when I’ve felt more lost and vulnerable with God in my life than without Him. I have faced my insecurities and hurts of long ago, and felt myself slipping into the shadows all over again. But then I have sensed Him with me, asking, “Where are you hiding?” I remember I’m not that lost little girl anymore; I am a woman who is fully alive, fully seen and with so much to give.
I don’t believe God has any intention of freeing me from the inner child I have continually punished. I think God wants me to embrace her, know her, and accept that she is part of me. He is taking the fragmented pieces of all that I am and stitching them back together, one by one. Many of the pieces are new to me; I’m discovering parts of myself I didn’t know existed. And many pieces I’d rather stuff away and forget. But I believe God is looking to stitch every piece of my life together into one beautiful colourful quilt—the bad turned into good, the good fully realized.
I know the day will come again when I’m lost, afraid and desperate to go into hiding. But when it does, I know who will be looking for me.