Charissa Garver, a good friend of mine, wrote this to me last week. She gave me permission to reproduce it here. I love the way her self-image has changed as she has found freedom in Christ.
“Be who God meant you to be and you’ll set the world on fire.” — St Catherine of Siena
I don’t know why but for some reason I picked up some of my old diaries and began reading through them. I’m not sure what possessed me, and I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good idea or bad.
I had a few good memories in there that brought me some smiles. But mostly, I was completely overcome with sorrow for the girl in my diaries.
I wrote over and over and over, countless times, Scriptures, quotes, sermons, etc about women needing to be meek and quiet. Submissive. Happy, content, all about service to others with no thought to self.
I wrote over and over how I was too loud… too opinionated. How much I disappointed people because of my sin nature — my nature being “rebellious” — rebellious meaning “strong willed.” Basically, I am a strong person, with thoughts, independence, leadership skills, assertiveness, boldness, etc. All of those things being “man-like” qualities and reserved for men, I should be repentant, and learn to put my natural self at bay — to repent and turn away from myself. My natural self is the “old man,” etc.
It’s so heartbreaking. I started reading a few parts out loud after I realized the effect it was having on me. And I started saying, “Charissa, you are strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Charissa, you have an independent nature which allows you to stand alone in trying times.”
So I started to name my nature, and allow myself to see how it points to godliness, and points to HIS work in who I am, rather than me being sinful.
I’m having a very hard time though.
This abuse I grew up in has saturated me very, very much — and it is extremely hard to battle.
Please pray for me.