This place was my favourite place. The old house that told many stories through all its creaks, secret doors and peeling layers of wallpaper.
My favourite spot was the treehouse. I’d always wanted a secret lair surrounded by branches. I’d try to keep my brothers out, and I’d retreat with my stack of books and get lost in other worlds. These were the years of Harriet the Spy, Famous Five, Encyclopedia Brown and the rest of my favourite childhood reading adventures.
My memories of home in that little town are so powerful and strong, it was my safe place and sanctuary. I still dream about that house. Yet that season was also a deep time of rejection. It’s not easy to start over, it’s hard to be new and for my young heart it was a painful place when I had to go outside the brick walls and leave my beloved treehouse behind.
I still remember the dagger-like words. The clothes I was wearing and places I stood. Hate that was thrown. A tender heart that was shattered. The moments I started to doubt who I was, the downward spiral that would come.
I created a mental escape. Every night in bed, I’d imagine this machine. It was like a slide. I’d start at the top as myself, then when I came out on the bottom I was whoever I wanted to be.
I’d imagine myself beautiful.
I’d imagine myself popular.
I’d imagine myself loved by everyone.
I’d imagine myself not as myself.
Life went on. We moved again. I grew up. I worked years on overcoming hurts from the past, knowing there is healing for deep wounds. Yet, somedays the past pops back in for a visit and tries to take over the future.
I’m back on that playground, the biggest misfit the world has ever seen.
Looking for the imaginary slide that will change who I am.
Inadequacy creeps in slowly. Envy sneaks in and tries to rear it’s ugly face. Hurt slaps you in the face when you least expect it. Pain shoots through your heart like familiar wounds you thought were healed. If you’re not careful soon you’ve gone down a rabbit trail of perfectly filtered Instagram life that is unattainable. Or, you look around in social settings with the inner observation that the whole world is so much better than you. Then you are back in those long-ago places. You have missed out. Your endeavours have been a joke. You don’t belong. Nothing good ever happens. Why do I even try?
You put on past pain like a pair of glasses that affects the lens through which you see.
This is the lie of our culture.
That we are not enough.
Don’t get stuck in that place.
I’ve have a little secret, one that I’ve trained myself to do over the last couple years. I don’t do it naturally, I do it intentionally. It takes effort and commitment, but I have learned I can control the way I think. When I feel that sting or pang I can change the course of my thoughts, I can adjust my focus.
I look doubt and rejection in the eye. I know who I am
Give inadequacy a swift kick. I can do all things
Stomp my foot hard. I won’t get stuck here
I am exactly who I’m meant to be.
Fearfully and wonderfully made.
No more hiding in the treehouse and dreaming of a life as someone else. Instead, a continued resolve to stand out in the bright light of life as one filled with calling and determination.
Living life where I’m placed.
With purpose set out before me.
Trusting the One who gives me all things.
Wiping away the past pain from the lenses.
Looking forward with clear vision.
Not on that playground anymore.