Steppin Out from the Ring

I’ve noticed I’ve been lacking inspiration. 
Perhaps even feeling. Maybe, I’m actually numb. 

Is it possible to be numb and actually know that you’re numb?  Or is that just something someone else notices when you don’t cry at a Hallmark commercial or when American Idol is chosen and it’s the one who’s overcome the most and triumphed over their upbringing in the hood?  Perhaps it’s a little of both. Its not like I don’t cry. I have my moments when I listen to the radio and hear an overwhelming story about how the Lord saved a teacher and her students from the tornados of OK that just demolished an entire school! – She leaped across her students yelling “we’re gonna be fine, Lord protect us!” as the kids were screaming in terror and one little guy yells to his teacher “I love you! Please don’t die, I love you!” – Um, how can you NOT tear up at that story???  

But perhaps it’s a bit deeper. Perhaps it’s a bit more personal. Perhaps it’s my guard?  It’s almost like I’ve got my gloves on and although Im not in the boxing ring anymore Im afraid to take them off in case I have to protect myself or use them again. 

You see… I can’t say I know what its like to overcome trials, like I grew up in East St Louis and walked home on 19th street instead of 21st street because I didn’t have to dodge neighbors bullets, or I had incredible learning disability and had to work 9times harder than anyone else in the 9th grade to even pass and while all the kids made fun of me calling me dumb, I proved to not just my teacher but the entire school I could do what it took to graduate high school with honors and actually graduated with a 4.7 and was class valedictorian; BUT I can say I’ve overcome hardships just like any other. 

I’ve been broken and stripped of almost any feeling imaginable. I’ve spent countless nights in tears, wrecked over a decision one person made that would impact the rest of my life, and in the midst of being so raw and broken and hurt, I’ve known the pain of not wanting to see if tomorrow’s weather would bring sunshine or not. And so today, while thankfully I can actually say there WAS a new day and His mercies were granted new every morning, as I had to muster the energy to get out of bed and face the day for what it had for me.  I remember mornings wondering if the pain would ever lessen. I’ve had days full of joy to have one thing remind me of the past and come crumbling down. I’ve had times where I’ve dwelled in the past almost a minute for every five… but it got easier.  And Because He is good to restore my heart; I began to live again!  I could taste my food and enjoy laughter and moments of joy again without feeling like that wasn’t supposed to happen. 

You see, when you experience any type of depression or loss, the mourning phase that turns into healing can almost send a sense of guilt for feeling happy again.  Remember that movie, “PS I LOVE YOU”?  She was overcoming losing her husband and in the years to come remembering him less and less and feeling bad for moving on.  BUT its part of the healing process… From an abandon child to earn a home, to a divorced couple moving forward in life, or a death in the family, even the loss of a job – Healing takes time.  Time sends healing. IF we let it, though.  

And so every minute of every day and every day of every month can seem like eternity if we’re not willing to let Him heal the parts of us that seem to be broken still.  They might be glued together while being ever so fragile, but God wants us whole. People NEED us to be whole.   

As Cecil Murphy prays on a daily basis “Lord, heal the parts of me that need to be healed”  I’ve taken that prayer into my daily praying too.  

Have you ever heard that saying “God loves you the way you are." What about the latter of the saying?  “God loves you the way you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way” …. Wow. Sobering?  What’s wrong with me and why wouldn’t God want me to stay the way he created me?Because we’re human and selfish and we can all become better versions of ourselves, don’t you think?? A naturally skilled athletic person who picks up a sport doesn’t want to just ‘be good at it’ when they take on coaches and training, they strive to be the very best, right?  So, why not allow God to continue molding us into the “BEST” versions of US that we can be?? Easier said than done right? 

Funny enough I sit here today, looking back and seeing the wonderful work God has done in allowing my heart to heal – and I can look back and say ‘there is no way, but God!’ But, today; I still carry that scar. Unfortunately some days over others my scar still feels like a wound and other days I forget its there. More recently, I’ve forgotten it was there. But similar to a real scar in life – when you massage the scar the area underneath can actually be sensitive enough to send signals of pain.  This is what happens when you massage scar tissue… you have to break down the deposits and cross stitching your muscles did to heal the wound and create a scar in the first place.  

On the days Im blessed with not noticing that scar, or being reminded of the past, I tend to be a bit lighter in my step. Some days Im reminded of the wound before healing, and the Lord has graciously allowed me to share my own journey with some who’ve needed the encouragement and the hope of a new day. Other days that Im faced with the reality of my scar and implications of where that puts me today, I want to jump.  Its kinda like those first few weeks of physical therapy when the PT is massaging out the scar tissue and it hurts sooo bad, but you know it will help in the long run to address the scar and the pain in the moment? That feeling of wanting to jump off the table with the PT hits a nerve is the feeling I get when Im faced with the reality of my scars.  

My state of “numbness” is a coping mechanism, just the same as the boxing gloves.  I wont get hurt if Im numb. I wont get hurt if I can protect myself. If I have gloves on though, I know I cant let anyone close enough to impact my heart (like Edward scissorhands – woah!  Flashback to the 80s! sorry, I know;) 

But when we’re numb to life and people and situations, what fun is that?  
We cant experience the highs and lows of life and eventually anything exciting seems minimal or we talk it down convincing ourselves it wont really be that exciting. And when we have gloves on, or we’re like Edward Scissorhands, we’re in the ring so much that people cant get close enough to impact our hearts. Or for some, they get hurt too.  That’s what happens when we keep boxing.  

I don’t know I can say theres an answer to not have daggers for hands like Edward did, because Im not sure what its like to have a tongue that lashes out at people and hurts them first so I don’t get hurt… and Im not sure theres a perfect way to take the gloves off or rest from the ring we’re always in… but I know something that MIGHT help. And I know someone that is safe.  Its called a conversation & His name is Jesus. Some might even call it prayer, but its just like calling up your bestie on the phone. 

“Jesus, Im tired of being numb in life. Im tired of the front I put on pretending everythings perfect when Im a mess on the inside. Im tired of going back to box in order to protect myself and times Im even tired of hurting others with the  sharp daggers I carry.  Would you allow me to step out of the ring?  Would you take away my gloves and give me a chance to feel again?  Would you show me its okay to not have everything together and pain is part of the process of healing?  Would you restore my heart and heal the parts of me that need to be healed?  I’ve heard that you promise to never leave or forsake me, and just like my pain I don’t think anyone else could’ve endured, You bore the cross and took on all our pain and hurts before we even asked. Show me its ok to feel again. Help me to do so. “  
I look at my state of NUMBness and wonder if its just a season? Good news is I just prayed that prayer with you and I believe there is a new day waiting for both of us.  I don’t want to be numb and certainly don’t want to wear big ugly red gloves around outside of the boxing ring if I don’t have to (I mean they’re not exactly fashionable! And how am I supposed get my nails done with gloves on or scissors ready to cut?;) My hope is that as I continue forward, my numb state would dissipate and Id learn how to take my gloves off so I can confront the scariness of whatever Im facing.  The GOOD thing is there’s help for that too.  

Now, heres to experiencing and fully soaking in the HIGH moments and enjoying them for what they bring and knowing that even when the low moments come or the scary moments of real conversation, that we would know we still have a comforter in it all. In the HIGHEST of HIGHS and the Lowest of Lows… a better state to experience LIFE rather than a straight and narrow state of numbness. Im sure the scenery is beautiful along the journey too ;)   


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