He said, "No, there's something different about you. There's light in your eyes."
I didn't feel different. My clothes weren't new. My hair was the same. But the inside had changed.
It was Jesus.
Though I had been a Christian for a few years, something was missing. I had darkness inside me that I kept tucked away for safekeeping. Even though the darkness was destroying me, it was safe.
Shame was safe. Brokenness was comfortable. Distrust of others had become routine. Though everything in me wanted to change, wanted to let go, I had created a feeling of being content with the crazy safety net I had built around my heart.
God was calling me for something bigger. I drowned out His voice with negative self-talk, followed by food, and then added another dose of hurtful words to my wounds. You're not good enough for that job. She doesn't really want to be your friend. You'll never amount to anything. Why don't you just give up now?
I didn't deserve to be called by God.
Somehow being sexually abused was my fault. No one, not even God, could love me. My father's choice to be an alcoholic was my fault. What if I could have done something different? If only I could have been better, men wouldn't have hurt me. If only I could have tried harder to make everyone happy.
When you reach a level of brokenness and the only way you can go is up, you're right where you need to be. Right where God can finally get you to listen. That's how it was for me anyway.
I reached a bottom and the things that had protected me, or so I thought, had literally destroyed me. But only temporarily.
I came to a point of surrender. I unclenched my fists, waved the white flag and said, "God, you win! I'm yours."
He gave me these words:
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:5
Shame. Guilt. Pride. Day by day God stripped those things away. Layer by layer He removed the pieces of brokenness.
Radiance. That's what my friend saw that day. It was God's radiant light shining in me from knowing who I am in Christ. From the confidence of knowing I am the apple of His eye. From the assurance of knowing that He will never leave me.
What are you holding onto today that God is reaching out for? What fear is keeping you from surrendering to His call for you?
Let it go. Trust. Look up. Radiance is waiting for you.
Sundi Jo is a writer, speaker, and social media consultant, making her home in Branson, Missouri. You’ll either find her engulfed in the social media world, spending time with family and friends, running, hanging out in a pair of jeans, t-shirt, and flip flops, or writing for the Kingdom. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.