“Where Are You?”: Letting go of shame so you can fulfill your dreams

Not a morning person, unless…

I am not a morning person. But this rule has one exception: if I am on vacation in a location that offers an inspirational view of the sunrise. While others on vacation prefer to sleep in and not be constrained to time or a clock, I can be found donning my shoes and sweats and tip-toeing outside to find a great place to watch the sun come up and shine its first light on my face. Coffee in hand, hair up in a messy bun, I slip out of my room and onto a balcony to sit and wait for the beginning of the glorious day ahead.

Rise for life

I always envisioned my life would look like this when I retire and no longer have the need to rise for work, but I choose to rise for life. Quietly walking outside, so as not to disturb the night’s slumber, and the day’s rising, I find my seat – I am perfectly positioned to catch whatever the Lord brings with this sunrise.

I enjoy this scene on the beach, where the water and the sky meet in transient glory. It’s breathtaking, dreamy, full of purpose and possibility. I soak it in like a sponge too far from the ocean, dried up and withered from the salt and the sand.

Sometimes, I will walk down there and put my feet into the crisp, cool water, to really feel the break of day, awaken the senses, and prepare to do whatever the Lord has called me to that particular day.

But mostly, I sit on a balcony or deck somewhere, sipping coffee, and listening.

“Where Are You?”

There’s so much to hear at first light if one would have the patience to listen. After all, it’s the cool of the day that the Lord walks around, hoping to find us expectantly awaiting his visit. This is where I seek Him, and this is where I find Him. And He finds me.

He can feel the weight of my burden as I sit, waiting for a whisper, just a hint, that today is the day. I wait for it, long for it, like a hunger that can never be satisfied. And I feel the weight of this fateful day, as the Lord draws near, and I draw near, and I hear it like a tickle on the back of my neck.

“Where are you?”

The Lord knows I am right here, standing in spirit right beside Him. And He’s asking me where I am? It’s a question that echoes in my mind, as I’ve read this before, in Genesis. Is He still, always, asking “Where are you?”

It isn’t my location, or even my position in my family, or the world, that He’s asking about this day, He wants to know the same answer as He wanted to receive from Eve:

“Where is your heart?”

And today, sitting on a beach, watching the sunlight break through the horizon like a mother birthing a child from the depths of her womb, I see Him and He sees me. I’m not hiding. I’m fully awake, fully alive, out there, ready to meet Him and clearly listen to what He has to say to me.

“Where are you?” asks the Lord.

“That’s a great question, Lord. I feel you have the answer more than I do.”

I admit. And I sit with it for a long time, long enough to see the full birth of the day. The purple sky changes to pink, then blue, and the dolphins begin peeking up from the ocean in search of air and food.

The beach is windy and it blows the pages of my Bible to the point that I close the book because the presence of God is so evident in my midst, His words to me are my food for thought.

“Where are you?”

“Do you dare to dream?”

Currently, I’m in my forties and life doesn’t look like I wanted it to. There’s some kind of idea in my head about what I should have accomplished by 40 and I didn’t live up to my own expectations. I’m disappointed. To the point of depression.

In my forties, because I had children when I was young, I’m already a grandmother – twice over. I have two grown sons living on their own. And my first ever college kid just left for University in August. I still have a high school senior, a junior, and a freshman at home.

At this point in my life, I was hoping to have achieved a lot more, and have a greater portion of my life “figured out”. I do not. And it weighs heavy on my heart. Which is where I am, I suppose.

The question about where I am comes so gently, though, it’s not an accusation, or shame being dumped on me. It feels like an invitation.

There is no amount of study I can do to answer it. I can open my Bible, but the answer is not in there. The truth of my heart posture is found in my heart. I have to go there. I have to open up old wounds, examine them, and find the answers where the scars have healed the broken places. The weight of it all beat against me, like the waves that crash on the shoreline.

My heart cries. I cry.

I’m such an angry crier, too. Just as soon as the tears come, I feel angry for them. I hate them. But this time, I let them sit on my face. They get warmer and warmer as I dwell on those scars. Life did so much damage. I no longer believed in myself, especially at 40, and I no longer believed in my dreams, especially in my shame of a broken life.

But, as I sat there longer, welcoming the tears, I heard it once more: “Where are you?”

And finally, I had a suitable answer:

“Lord, I don’t know.”

And just like that, release. It was as though He knew that the truth would somehow set me free. Of course, it did. Of course, He did. And while I sat there under a blue pink sky, the wind grazing my unbrushed hairs against my neck, the sand blowing around the patio under my feet, I accepted the shame of my past and gave it to the Lord all in one swift decision.

With the truth no longer hidden, no longer a secret, I was able to find in the Lord what I had not the strength to do in myself: I was able to bring the shame of my past and who I had become out to the surface, and let it go.

He knew. He wanted me to let it go so He could do something with it. I offered Him my broken pieces and I waited for Him to tell me what to do next.

My family woke up and began slowly emerging from the house, joining me on the balcony as I sat and marveled at the beginning of a new day, and a new life. I couldn’t find one instruction from Him. I had given Him my shame. What now?

Nothing but a whisper.

“Do you dare to dream?”

In that soft way He invited me to find myself, He now invited me to dream again. When the shame of the past is released, and a new heart lives in your soul, the dreams that you had for yourself are welcome to return and find life again.

My dreams came home because I made room for them. I was ready to dream again. And oh what dreams I had now!

This article originally appeared in an older blog post on the former Faith to Follow blog site: https://reginapbrown.wordpress.com/2019/11/11/where-are-you/

2 thoughts on ““Where Are You?”: Letting go of shame so you can fulfill your dreams

  1. This was incredibly moving and beautiful! The Lord takes our shame and gives us purpose and dreams to run with, hand in hand with Him. What a testament to our Savior!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *