layers under

Posted: March 16th, 2011 | Filed under: life | Tags: , | 9 Comments »

It’s hard to trust people with the depths of you. It’s hard to let them into the deep layers of failure and doubt. As we age, we learn the distance of safety and create protective boundaries. What lies within our walls is sacred, however flawed, it is who we are and we recognize the need to develop without being imprinted with misuse or stunted by being misunderstood. Only, we don’t realize we’re not developing and fear is what is stunting our growth. Boundaries are necessary, shutting everyone out isn’t.

I always kept people at a distance. I built my walls so that betrayal could never destroy me. I never let anyone in and I never came out. A symptom of my childhood. I was alone at the core of me, the depths that no one could understand without having walked in my shoes. I was the only one I could really trust.

I didn’t realize that keeping myself hidden away in soul deep isolation would become the ideal terrain for me to become prey to myself, my sin. An empty house with acres of seclusion became my prison when my flesh ripped separate and hunted what was left of my innocence… my, “I didn’t mean to.”

I became my enemy. I knew that no one would come and save me from myself. I wouldn’t have. Split in two with no desire to be joined with the ‘me’ in her, the self-hate was a bitter tongue.

Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, he answered. God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me? – Psalm 118:5-6

It was sheer desperation, a last resort, to run to the wall and open the door. I wanted the torment to be over and the only way out was to let the punishment in. Instead of running to me, He called out to ‘her’, the worst of me. Face to face with myself, who I hated, I had to forgive if I wanted to be with Him.

It took me a while to understand that by Him embracing my worst, I would never have to doubt Him again. I had to forgive myself so that I could understand what forgiveness was. I needed to know His love before I could love Him back.

I didn’t realize that I had kept Jesus at a distance. I trusted myself more than I trusted Him. When I betrayed my self-trust I was pushed to my walls clawing to get away from myself.

The tables have turned. He calls the shots. I no longer try to protect myself from Him because He protects me from me. Retrospect tells me that He knew that I wanted a relationship with Him, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know I didn’t know how. In order for me to learn, I needed to see my worst. If I clung to myself because of my self-trust, then it was my self-trust that needed to be shattered. Only when I couldn’t rely on myself, did I go running to Jesus. The only thing I hold on to now is Him because He promised that He’ll never let me go.

Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. – John 6:37

I don’t have to hide behind the walls of shame and fear. I trust Him and I trust what He did for me…for all of us. I went looking for Him, but He was already looking for me. With doors open and walls torn down, I know Who walks with me. Because of grace, I can live out in the open unashamed and drenched in in the tears of ‘thank you.’

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. – Romans 5:1-2



9 Comments on “layers under”

  1. 1 Juliet deWal said at 3:49 am on March 16th, 2011:

    This post reminded me of this song:

    I love that you have let me see your heart and to know you. The image you create here of living open and unashamed really is what grace is about.

    You are a beautiful woman, Serena Woods, and I am so very glad that you are who you are.


  2. 2 Serena Woods said at 4:22 am on March 16th, 2011:

    Juliet: That's a great song. 🙂 We'll have to make music a part of my Canada trip.

    That song reminded me of this one:

    <code><iframe title="YouTube video player" width="425" height="349" src="; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></code>

  3. 3 you know who said at 5:10 am on March 16th, 2011:

    Oh Serena! I have lived (and in many ways am still living) this very thing. I have hidden myself away, so sure that others would only hurt me if they "really knew" me. If they knew the darkness I had known, the thoughts I had, the saying of one thing and doing of another. I have been in counseling for a while and it was there that I too found a place where I realized I trusted no-one, not even Jesus, so save me or protect me… and it wasn't until I lost my ability to protect me from myself, that I was able to receive the love and grace of the Father.

  4. 4 Juliet deWal said at 7:42 am on March 16th, 2011:

    I love that song! Yes! Music is golden!

  5. 5 Katie said at 11:15 am on March 16th, 2011:

    I like this, Serena. I love the way you look for the light in the dark and the greater purpose of all of it.

  6. 6 Dana T. said at 11:21 am on March 16th, 2011:

    Your writing usually goes way over my head, but I get this one. I wish I could sit down with you and listen to you talk. I'm fascinated in a non-weirdo way. Keep it up! 🙂

  7. 7 Todd said at 7:10 am on March 17th, 2011:

    I have lived this life for 36 years. I had layers and layers of failure and doubt that I tried to cover up. I lived in the darkness, even though I grew up in the church and gave my life to Christ at an early age. My teen years brought me a lot of depression, suicidal thoughts, and major self-esteem issues. God was there, but I ignored Him. I feared myself and hated myself, but felt that I was the only one I trusted. I tried to hide from it and gain acceptance from other people by keeping all my fears and failures hidden deep inside of me. I eventually married and continued to hide it, even from her, and it came out in selfish acts as I tried to find relief for my pain (sports, friends, pornogaphy, etc.) Nothing satisfied me, but I continued to ignore God and fall into fear, depression, and worry. My confidence as a man and masculinity were jeopardized by never dealing with my fears of rejection. I feared rejection so much that I felt it was better to keep it all inside and not share my fears and shameful acts with anyone. I emotionally separated myself from my wife, friends, children, and God because being rejected was something I feared above anything else. Nobody could no the real me because then I would be rejected and seen as a failure. I techinically had a relationship with God for 30 years, but His grace has released me from the prison that I was in my entire life. Even if those closest to me do not offer me grace and do reject me, I know that God nailed my sin to the cross and he will never leave me or reject me.

  8. 8 eileen said at 10:47 am on March 17th, 2011:

    "Only when I couldn’t rely on myself, did I go running to Jesus. The only thing I hold on to now is Him because He promised that He’ll never let me go."

    Thank you for this post. He is the ONLY secure place to run to.

  9. 9 Serena Woods said at 2:23 pm on March 17th, 2011:

    Todd, we're all so flawed. Sometimes we're burned down to nothing but faith. Faith gives us hope. Hope enables us to love. Even ourselves.

    Thanks, Katie, Dana T., and Eileen. 🙂

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