This past week I spent time doing some self-work with Rakel Chafir. Each day involved movement, reflection, and action. About halfway through the week, Rakel referenced Michelangelo’s comment to his pupil, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
Lightbulb moment ?
Part of the internal work I’ve done is to release the real me, my angel, from where I hid her in the stone. It’s an ongoing process to chip away at what holds me back.
We’re born without shame or embarrassment.
Spend ten minutes watching a toddler. What do you see? Curiosity, confidence, joy, and innate knowledge of who they are. Children under two years old who’ve had a nurturing home are entirely themselves. They know what they want, where they end, and their intrinsic value.
Our youngest granddaughter just learned to walk. Watching her struggle to learn revealed her confidence in her abilities. When she sensed she could take those few steps, she took them. But, if the object of her desire was too far away, down she dropped and crawled toward it. Faster that way. She reveled in our praise for her tries and encouragement to master this new skill. No shame, just breath-taking smiles.
As we mature, we learn shame and start wrapping ourselves in stone.
We aren’t born this way.
I’m embarrassed ?? to admit to speaking shame over my children. Have you ever heard yourself say something like “Shame on you” to your child? In my frustration and anger, I spoke life-stealing words over my children. God forgive me! When we say those words, we communicate to the receiver that something is wrong with them.
When was the first time you felt shame? Perhaps you were bullied or made fun of for looking or not looking a certain way. Maybe someone abused you. However you learned shame, please understand that God created you perfectly unique and wonderful.
Shame teaches you and me to bury our greatness, our angel, in stone.
We don protective coverings to protect our wounded hearts and soul. We add a new layer to our stone covering with each wound, convinced our authentic self somehow isn’t good enough.
When I first learned about my husband’s porn addiction, I felt numb, unable to process the simplest thought. I chose to crawl into a prison of my own making. Then I learned about my suicidal depression, and the darkness I chose felt safer somehow than confronting the truth. It wasn’t true. That darkness exacerbated the pain I felt, increased my isolation, and destroyed my feelings of worth.
God tells us that light overcomes the darkness. Truth always sets us free. Satan whispers that God is a liar and can’t be trusted. In those first moments of discovering the betrayal, our wounded heart goes into hyper-protective mode. The ego, which God built to protect us from danger, kicks into high gear. It’s like a flashing warning sign blinding you.
It takes great courage and fortitude to choose to reveal our real self, our angel in the stone.
Trust God first.
God calls us to Himself, to trust Him to care for our wounded heart, mind, and ego. To choose chip away the stone, you and I must feel safe.
Ask God to reveal a safe person for you.
- Where do you find safe people?
- Who is the person you can say anything to, who always stands by you?
- Are you part of a small group Bible study? Perhaps there’s a friend there.
- A counselor or coach
Set up a time to talk with them where you won’t be interrupted. Give a little bit of your struggle first to see how the person responds. If they don’t feel safe, discontinue the conversation and move on.
Commit to change.
Re-discovering and revealing the real you takes time and effort. It’s hard work to remove the stone. While Michelangelo said he simply revealed what was already there, he didn’t discuss the training, years of apprenticeship, and hard work he invested in knowing how to chip away the marble. It’s the same for you.
Choose to invest in yourself.
It’s one thing to say you want to change, but another to do the work. Recovery takes a financial, emotional, mental, and spiritual investment. Your first decision is to believe you are worthy to receive help.
If someone kidnapped your child and demanded a ransom, you’d move heaven and earth to pay the ransom and get your child back. You are worth ransoming. What will you move to ransom yourself from the grip of this betrayal?
What were you like before you wrapped your angel in the stone?
When was that? Take a few moments right now and remember the last time you felt like the real you. Write this down. Be detailed and describe you as if someone who’d never met you needed to find you.
Next, find an image that reflects the real, authentic you. Do a Google search or sketch one if that’s your preference. Study this image. What do you see?
My image goes back to a young girl spinning in a pretty dress, what I used to call a twirly dress. I found a picture a while back that I look at often. There are sunlight and flowers in the meadow where she’s twirling as fast as she can go. When I lose sight of the real me, I look at this picture again and remember.
Finally, tell yourself the following truths from the Bible:
I believe you can reveal your angel in the stone—YOU.
Unique, wonderful, creative, accepted, forgiven, loved you.
I believe in and for you. Need to process through this more? Please reach out. Let’s talk.