It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been six years since we moved to North Platte and left an amazing group of young Hastings College women who stole my heart. But here we are, so many years later, and they’ve all moved on to new cities, new relationships and new careers. I’m as proud as a mother-hen kind of big-sister could be.
Laura Bernero is one of those young women, now living a life full of spiritual and relational depth in Denver, Colorado, finding creative expression through her blog, Laura’s Letters. If I know you at all, I know that her endearing authenticity and wisdom will have you wanting to read more, so click here and bop on over to Laura’s Letters. But first, here is the moment she found a new freedom.
I wrote a blog post last year titled “I’d Rather Have the Old.”
The post was an extended metaphor about how my love of vintage clothing and old furnishings and my grandparents’ old love letters were metaphors for my nostalgic heart.
I never published it.
At the time, I was dwelling on old mental and spiritual battles. Most importantly, I was using old names for myself. When I wrote that year-ago post, I was still holding on to years-ago hurt and fears and grief. Lost relationships. Friendships that fractured. Jobs and roles that I knew I’d never occupy again.
It was like playing dusty VCR tapes over and over, breathing in the familiar sounds and the familiar-but-fleeting comfort they offered me. Those old names still worked, but not well. They fostered hurt, rather than healing.
I remember this truth first hitting me on a glorious fall weekend last year. Me and a bunch of my best girlfriends went to the mountains for a retreat. We laughed and cried until our sides and cheeks were a little sore and raw. We played volleyball and ping pong and dodge ball and we screamed on the zipline. And suddenly, in between cries of worship and heartfelt conversation, I realized a new freedom. A feeling of being known and valued and loved without guilt, and without worrying about pleasing anybody.
One of our speakers during this weekend retreat said this: “Some of you have been playing old tapes over and over again in your head. Old lies. An old nickname someone called you, an old pattern, an old habit. You’re chaining yourself to that old stuff and letting it have power over you.”
It’s true – some of us enjoy playing these old tapes. Maybe because they are comfortable. Maybe because it’s easier to believe the old than to work hard to redefine.
However. We have an invitation each new day to choose our names – the words we want to be known by. And this invitation is for our good. Old names make us miss the beauty, the redemption, the growth, the good around us in the present, as well as the hope of what is to come. New names speak of hope and who we are becoming.
The beauty of Christ’s aliveness in us is that we are always invited into new territory. He’s redeeming each of us moment-by-moment, bit-by-bit, always. So you’re never going to be who you were. You are evermore the person you’re becoming. The person you were made to be.
Those old VCRs may be comfortable, but there are new and better and freeing messages that are just waiting to crowd out the old, dusty tapes.
Here’s some old lies, old names, old tapes I’ve believed about myself:
- Little Miss Perfect
- Teacher’s Pet
- People Pleaser
- Never Says No
Recently, I have been on a spiritual and mental quest to phase out the old names for new ones. To replace lies with true words, degrading names with uplifting ones, old tapes with new technology.
Here is our invitation today and each day: Will we stop the old tapes and let God’s promise of newness become our name?
Here are the names that God wants to write, with new ink and new grace, on our hearts:
- “Gloriously imperfect”
- “Strong voice”
- “Worthy of deep connection and relationship”
- “Worthy of being heard”
What are these names in your life? Do you record them in your journal or write them on your mirror? Do you call yourself by the name that fits you best for this season?
Let us stop the old tapes and let God’s promises breathe life into us once again. Let’s turn off the VCR, friends. Amen.
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