I’ve been spending a good chunk of the afternoon preparing to serve on my church (www.eastlakeccc.com) music team tomorrow. And the song selections are kicking my butt. They’re not particularly challenging to learn or difficult to sing, but the lyrics are hitting me in a way I didn’t anticipate but really, really need.
You know that catchphrase all over Pinterest, about never letting anyone dull your sparkle? No?
Here’s one. It has chevrons, so you know it’s current:
Those words about refusing allow someone to take away what makes you shine have been haunting me, as of late. I don’t think that I’ve been letting anyone else make the smudges lately (though goodness knows I have in the past) but the fact remains: My sparkle has been dulled. I don’t feel the way I used to, and no amount of exfoliating or pretending is restoring ME.
That was certainly not my prettiest time, my skinniest time, or my most successful time. I wouldn’t even call that period of time a happy one. I wasn’t married, and was a year from meeting my future husband. In fact, I was a year and another bad breakup away from all of that. It wasn’t the time when I got it all right and stopped making the kind of selfish decisions that never served any purpose except to bring more pain. But that time remains so precious to me. It’s when I fell in love with Jesus for the first time. It’s when I learned the kind of sweet dependence that can only come from brokenness and the simple need to be saved–sometimes daily. Life wasn’t perfect then, but I look back on it and recall being so completely content with ME. I felt loved, beautiful, and always ENOUGH.
Now…eh, life gets in the way, doesn’t it? A full-time job that takes some serious energy, a spouse, and age creeping on slowly but steadily. Not enough hours in the day and always too much to be done. And I find myself striving. I find myself struggling to be “enough” in my job, in my relationships, and usually in my bathroom mirror. Or any mirror. John and Stasi Eldredge made the point in Captivating that STRIVING–the quiet yet glaring desperation so many of us wear, is often what robs us of contentment with ourselves and our lives. Stasi writes:
“What if you have a genuine and captivating beauty that is marred only by your striving?”
Huh. I can see that. I’ve been striving more often than not since birth, I think. And if you ask me, my husband, my friends, or even my coworkers, it certainly isn’t an attractive quality. So in my car on the way to work, or in the shower at the gym, or on the wrong end of a pizza box, I’ve asked God, “WHAT! What is the deal? Why aren’t you fixing me?”
To which He has been gently replying: “Beloved, because you haven’t asked.”
And in a brief but sweet moment of clarity, I got it. I understood that the secret to restoring my sparkle lies in the One who placed it within me. Singing these lyrics today confirmed it:
“Oh God of Mercy, God of Light
God in my darkness, would you be bright enough?
‘Cause I’ve got no fire in my eyes
Oh God of mercy, would you be bright enough?”
(David Lunsford, “Bright Enough”)
I guess no one really dulls your sparkle. It’s the striving and stressing of being alive that does that, if you let it. And oh, I’ve let it. So many times over. But I feel myself being called to a brand new season of being brand new. It’s not an overnight transformation, and it may not lead to me losing thirty pounds. Which is okay. Because what I need to do is get to know once again the God who created me. Every part, every imperfection, every piece that shines. It’s so simple yet so hard to believe, that I’ll never shine the way I should without Him. I’m not bright enough, not on my own. But He is.
More than enough.