I have been camping lately, so to speak, on the concept of home. For much of my youth and young adult life, the idea of home was something for which I felt distrust, a disconnect, because it conjoured up feelings of pain and rejection. At the same time, however, pulsating just under the surface was a primal need to belong, compelling me to search for the very thing I feared. Two competing desires, propelling and pulling me into constant motion, making me a conflicted wanderer.
What I now call “My journey Home” was initiated this past summer when family circumstances converged making it necessary for me to quit my job. My outward response was to embrace my family’s need, however, inside I recoiled at the thought of being home all the time. I entered my new normal in default mode: physically present but emotionally guarded. However, it wouldn’t be long before my hypocrisy would be laid bare.
Upon returning from picking my kids up at school one day, my daughter stopped at the threshold of our front door and said, “I don’t want to go in. I don’t want to be home. I can’t relax, here.” Stunned to see my own struggle mirrored in her reaction, I knew something had to change. I cried out to God to do a deep dive in my soul, to do whatever He needed to keep me from passing on my pain to those I love.
The first thing God did was to challenge my understanding of home. My troubled and lonely childhood had sealed in my soul the belief that home was not safe, it was unpredictable and that to survive I had to hide. It also deposited in my inner being values that became behaviors: keep working, never rest; always keep the peace; never venture out and try something new; don’t ever be weak; don’t trust others, they will leave you or betray you. I was living out these values in my own home without even being aware I was passing them on.
As He dug deeper, however, God revealed that what I was really running from was not so much home, but from being known, because to be known is to be vulnerable. And to be vulnerable was never safe. He exposed my fear of unworthiness, of being insufficient, of feeling invisible, and my learned survival skills to cover that shame.
Next, in the way that only He can, he gently showed me His heart about home. How His sacrifice defeated shame’s grip by declaring me worthy of love; how He adopted me, bringing me into His family and making me a new creation (really); and how, because He couldn’t wait to meet me at my new Home some day, He and the Father came to make their home IN me. IN me! Really, there is no way to be more fully known than THAT! He whispered that I no longer need to search for home because He had settled home – being fully known, loved and accepted – IN me.
The truth is that now, shame can only stay if I let it. And shame isolates. The power of shame is silence, and I am choosing to break the silence and embrace my vulnerability, exposing it all to the light of grace. God is asking me to turn around and face the beliefs that have haunted me and kept me from being known to myself and others . To let His Truth set me free and, potentially, change the course of my family’s history.
I’m choosing to let God bring me “Home”.