Inkspill No. 5: To a Young Woman

100_6328 My Dear,

You have discovered (to your astonishment) that the good opinions of other people are not, in the end, what brings you happiness. How much grief you’ve caused yourself, attempting to explain your spirit to the world! For in doing so you inevitably alter the truth of it in an effort to win their approval.

In this you’ve found neither profit nor satisfaction. Return to your old friend, Honesty, and escape the inward chaos you created in pursuing the things you thought you ought to pursue. You will find yourself back at the beginning; back where you were before you told your first lie.

It’s a terrifyingly wonderful place to be. The place where you no longer care what the well-meaning critics in your life have to say. The place where you finally recognize that you don’t know yourself anymore (and maybe you never did), but that whoever you are, the person peering into the mirror from behind your tired eyes is worth something. She is valuable. She has a destiny.

It’s the place where you stop believing in yourself–a lousy idol if ever there was one–and begin believing in the One who created you. Begin believing that whatever He makes, it’s good. Whatever colors He painted your heart as He formed you, they are beautiful and have a purpose that cannot be denied. Believe in God within you.

In this place, you are like a child. You are the way you were in the days when life was simpler. You are wiser than you have ever been before, for the wisest are those who acknowledge that there is only One who is wise. And though the “wise” of the world may turn their faces away from you for the adventurer and reckless dreamer you are about to become, the Wise One will never leave you nor forsake you. Even when you make a mistake. Especially when you make a mistake. He will always be there.

Stop being afraid of your own heart. Search it, for your Bible promises you will find God dwelling there. When you do, He will never be as you expect, but better; full of sweetness and grace. His voice is not the angry roar of the storms that rage around you, nor the earthquake that surges beneath your feet, nor the fire that sears your soul with doubt and sorrow, nor yet the sick clench of reproach in your gut. Put those voices aside.

God is a gentle whisper.

Listen. And if you hear nothing, listen some more. One day, you will hold the answers; they will be like sunlit treasures in your cupped hands.


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