I’ve never been one to demand to be heard. I always stop my stories when I’m interrupted and let the other person tell theirs. And so I have been having trouble lately articulating how I’m feeling because no one has really been asking me. But this is really important so I thought I’d write it out.
I am not the same person I was eight months ago. I have changed and I have changed for the better. I will never be the Erin I was before I left and I don’t want to be. Yes, I still need time to adjust to living in the world outside the convent walls, but please don’t think that if you give me enough time I will go back to who I was before. That is just not going to happen. The Lord did incredible things in me and through me and with me the last eight months and I don’t want to erase that.
I want to figure out how to make those things He’s been doing stick and last and totally change me forever. Because while I was cleaning, fasting, keeping silence, studying, and praying the last eight months the Lord was growing freedom in me. He was teaching me that freedom doesn’t come from doing whatever you want whenever you want. Freedom comes when your identity is in Him and Him alone. Freedom is knowing I am loved and that I am safe because my Heavenly Father is good and goes before me and stands beside me.
I’ve realized that my worth doesn’t come from what others think of me or from what I do for a living or how much money I make. I am worthy because I was created in the image and likeness of God. My Heavenly Father loved me from the moment He thought me into being in my mother’s womb and He loves me now just as I am, not for who I can be or who society tells me to be, but for who I am.
The purpose of life is not to be the best most likable person. It’s not to be the richest most well off person. The purpose of life is to let God love me and love Him in return and to bring others into that love. And I can fulfill that regardless of where I work or what my job title is. The purpose of life is to make it to Heaven and bring others with me and I can do that no matter where I live or what I do. And knowing this, recognizing this truth, brings freedom like nothing else can. This realization changes everything. Even if everything seems imperfect here on Earth and even if life is hard we are still able to rejoice because this life isn’t the end goal, Heaven is.
Once we are able to set our priorities straight, we realize that being small, being poor, not “being enough” by the world’s standards actually leads us closer to Christ. When we recognize our inability to do things on our own, we realize that we need God. And then we can say “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) We can trust that the Lord will provide for us because He says, “seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given you besides.” (Matthew 6:32-33) Once we realize that life is about getting to Heaven not about being the best in the world we can finally live in the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)
This freedom is a game changer. It impacts every single part of every single day. It brings purpose to every act, no matter how small because God sees everything. It says that you are loved for who you are and that your Heavenly Father wants you to become even more who you are. He wants each of us to become exactly who we were meant to be and we can only do that by living in this freedom. When we realize the world’s opinions don’t matter, that’s when we really are able to start living and living in abundance, not marked by our inadequacies but by the love that is lavished upon us every moment of every day.