It was a defining moment. I remember looking at myself in the mirror. I knew that the brokenness was gone, I couldn’t see the hurt. I knew that my previous self had overstayed her welcome. She was leaving.
It was a new experience for me. I had had no problem leaving people, belongings or dreams before, but this was different. I had never left myself.
I remember looking into my eyes, I saw nothing familiar. The familiar pull, sadness and longing were gone. I pushed for tears, there was nothing. I tried to fake a smile… I could see the curve around my mouth, but my eyes stared back at me…blank… I was at peace, my spirit was transformed.
I stayed a while, turned around and started an unfamiliar journey.
It took me a while to understand what had happened to me. I had spent many years of my life trying to improve myself, to think differently, to behave myself out of difficult situations. It was exhausting. I expected my own mind that had given birth to most of my problems, to formulate new solutions. There was a period when I tried to embrace two worlds, with two conflicting viewpoints about my true identity. My practical, rational self was going through the motions while my spiritual self tried to expand itself into an alternative universe. I was searching for meaning in my life, and I had no idea when my actual focus shifted from the outer lines of my life to the secret spaces in my heart. The price for spiritual transformation was high.
It took me a long while to realise that grace carried my heart to God, and in God it found its rest. The Spirit of God is the Author of grace, which initiated an inner transformation that had nothing to do with my outer life. God’s grace expanded my soul in the same way that yeast swells itself in dough. When I received the Holy Spirit, God established my heart in Him. He touched me and infused new and holy principles into my heart. That was the reason that I could no longer relate with guilt and shame. He changed me from who I was and transformed me into a woman after His own heart.
Within each of us exists the image of God, however disfigured and corrupted by sin it may presently be; God is able to recover this image through grace as we are conformed to Christ. (Alister McGrath)
God created spaces around my thoughts to enable me to have better understanding. He created sensitivity in my heart to change the way that I perceived life. He created a readiness to be flexible, to work with other people’s thoughts and opinions. He created harmony in my heart to give me the ability to change my surroundings and the way that I love people. God’s grace brought a moral change that is sacred; it anchored my soul in Christ and stamped the image of God on my soul. (1 Peter 1:2). He strengthened me (2 Timothy 2:1). It became easier to choose God’s opinion of me over what I thought and felt about myself, because my heart was established in Christ. (Hebrews 13:9). God not only saw who I was, but He knew who I could become through His grace. He changed me and grew me into His image.
Circumstances might derail you. Your heart may be filled with worry and fear. Each challenge that you face may toss and turn you. Your mind might be unsettled. You may have your own definition of grace. You may perceive it as something that falls on you and smooths life’s creases. It might feel like something you can fall out of. Something that can run dry, something that you have to work for, believe for…and then, work harder for. Maybe you are unsure and unstable. Maybe it feels like grace is always slipping away in moments when you need it most.
I was like that. I was locked into a struggle up until the moment when my personality surrendered to the Spirit of God. Up until the moment I understood what Christ has done for me on the cross.
…to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:6)
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
Appreciating, rejoicing and resting in what Jesus has done for you. (Timothy Keller)
I still have days when I doubt myself. And when those moments come (and they do because transformation continues throughout your lifetime), I remind myself of what Paul says in Colossians 3:5 “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…”
I return to the mirror as often as I can. I talk to myself instead of listening to my own conflicting thoughts. When the thoughts of yesterday haunt me, I remind myself that I am God’s chosen daughter. I am His beloved. I clothe myself with love, with self-acceptance.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
His grace gives me the courage to have bold faith. To believe that I can make good decisions that will bring me peace of mind. I can become the person that He created me to be; He enables me to dream and to fulfil the passions of my heart. His grace gives me the ability to endure hardship.
Remind yourself of God…and what he has done for me…and what he has pledged himself to do….
Unlike a cruise, which picks us up and drops us off at the same place with our personalities intact, the spiritual path transfigures the very nature of our being. By treading the path we become an entirely different being from the personality with which we were identified at the start, undergoing a metamorphosis that is, by its very nature, often painful.
I would like to invite you, to stand in front of your own mirror, to acknowledge the girl on the inside. See her hurts, listen to her untold story.
Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man I want myself to be but cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him.
Distinguish the false self from the real you. Look at her and be silent.
Be silent, and listen to God. Let your heart be in such a state of preparation that His Spirit may impress upon you such virtues as will please Him. Let all within you listen to Him. This silence of all outward and earthly affection and of human thoughts within us is essential if we are to hear His voice.
May God’s grace come and transform you.
May your exhausted heart find rest.
May you make yourself real by telling yourself the truth!