When I was younger my parents would tell me I had a “sparkle” about me. They claim I could light up a room with my goofiness and laughter came easy. I’m not sure when that sparkle started to diminish but I do know that God missed it and needed to bring it back.
I take that back… I may not be able to pinpoint exaclty when I lost my sparkle but I do know it was like a thief in the night. It came in swiftly and vanished without daring to ask if I would miss it. Can I tell you the dangerous part about that? I let it happen. I didn’t fight like hell to get it back. Instead, I accepted a different version of myself. I stuffed all my emotions down and built a barrier to hide behind. I didn’t want to let anyone in. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. So, I said nothing. I held my once goofy, loving, free spirit at a distance. And I became “fine.”
Have you been here? If you have, you are not alone. Life is always throwing us curveballs and some days it’s a miracle to just be standing. Somedays it’s just easier to be “fine.” But here is the beautiful part of being in a place of “fine.” And C.S Lewis said it perfectly:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abdominally and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?! The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
A part of my building process happened when I was in South Africa. After you hear this story, I dare you to tell me God didn’t know what He was doing.
I found out I was rooming with a woman named Connie, aka Conndawg. And theres no shying away from this… Connie was a few years older than me. (Ok, sorry Connie, a few decades older). Before we even got on the plane, we clicked. God was showing up and He was showing up through Connie. He was doing His rebuilding. We bonded over our singleness, both longing for a partner to do life with, our sarcasm and our love for being knocked out during the flight with some pills- Thanks Doc.
I have never laughed harder in my life than when I was with her and the rest of my group. The type of belly laughter than leaves you in tears. My sparkle was shining brighter than it ever had and I was more myself with my roommate and my new friends than I have ever been with a group of people. The best part- they accepted all of me, laughing with me and pouring into my life. My barriers were not only down, they were shattered.
I had faith that God would do big things in South Africa. In fact, I was ready for Him. I had applied my faith and prayer in my decisions regarding South Africa and I was trusting His outcome. I was setting my sights on growing in faith and not shrinking in fear. But what I wasn’t ready for is what He was planning all along. He was building a palace within me and the work He had been planning was work He would do in me and not just through me.
And here’s the kicker… I was wanting some big directional sign from God. I was waiting for Him to open the heaven gates and tell me how to go from “fine” to sparkling Kristen. But God simply wanted me to pay attention. Once I was able to underwhelm my soul to be in the moment with Connie and the others around me, my imperfections became clear that they will never override God’s promises for me. His promises are not dependent on my ability to be “fine,” but rather on His ability to chip away, to rebuild and to use me well.
With God’s plan, we have a part to play. My part was to pay attention to what He was doing within me. To allow my light to shine so that others could see Him through me. And that is what He did through Connie. He used her and the rest of my sweet new friends to allow me to shine brighter for Him. From my once cracked-open-heart place of being “fine,” a God breathed strength rose. And now I rise for Him, choosing to move forward and determined to not make it all so complicated. To laugh. To be silly. To sparkle.
With Grace and Love,