March 25, 2009

Abandoned Room.

image found here.

There is a part of me that's been long abandoned... A room in my heart whose only door has been wallpapered over. The dust gathers on the floor while an old pain sits and rocks itself mechanically in the corner. All freshness has left the air.

I used to have so much more confidence in myself, in my giftings and the things that made me unique. I used to create boldly and lead bravely and follow the stars in my eyes. I never would have thought it would come to this... this slapping off of the lights in a part of me once filled with light and laughter and joy.

Do you know the feeling I'm speaking of? The sinking shutting-down? The slow amputation? Or perhaps the sudden violent absorption- as if that piece of you had never even been?

Do you have such a room in your heart?

All the grand dreams and plans I had for my life have been whittled down to mere amusements... cute little things that I do in my spare time.

When did I stop taking myself seriously? When did I begin laughing off and belittling the largest parts of who I am?

I've allowed some people in my life to have more sway over me than they had right to. Their opinions of me and their thoughts about these giftings of mine became absolute truth. If they disapproved of me, it obviously meant that I was just not good enough. If they placed expectations on my shoulders and I failed to meet them, the natural conclusion in my mind was that I was a failure.

The result of this allowance was the red hot shame that would burn my cheeks when they were near. I could no longer look them in the eyes. I knew I was a disappointment.

And that's when I heard it. The metallic bolting of a lock somewhere deep inside.

The fear of failure... no, maybe more accurately: the Expectancy Of Failure rushed into my life- slamming doors closed with the force of it's entrance. No longer would I put myself in a position to be a big fat let down. No longer would I risk looking silly or inexperienced for the sake of trying something new.

My life since then has become a side-stepping of any and all expectations. If I avoid people's expectations, there's no way I can let them down. Maybe then they won't see that I don't measure up. If I never try for or start anything new, I will never fail.

And, wouldn't you know it? It's true! I've removed all possibilities of failure from my life! I'm safe from harsh judgements and no one is ever disappointed in me! No one is even aware of my enormous capacity to let them down, and I haven't felt the searing eyes of disapproval since!

It is hell.

I want my room back. I want to throw open its windows and fluff up its pillows. I want to put on an old jazz record and paint the walls turquoise.

I feel like God is asking me to reclaim this space in my heart. And He's asking me to do it in THE MOST bizarre way.


He's asking me to repent of my wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts of Him, yes, but also- wrong thoughts of myself. As His creation. I chose to believe that I was a failure when He's clearly told me I am not. I chose to believe that I would never amount to anything, when He's clearly told me that I will. He doesn't only say these things in the Bible, He has personally whispered them to my disjointed little heart. Over and over and over again. And I have chosen not to listen. I have believed the lies instead, and so I must repent. He's given me these gifts for a reason, and that reason is not to cast them down in the dirt and claim false humility.

If I ever want to move beyond the place I'm stuck in now, I have to turn away from these wrong thoughts. I need to understand that my father GRIEVES when I cling to lies and attempt to build up shabby little walls to keep Him out.

So, Lord, if you're a blog reader, hear this:

I'm so very sorry. Forgive my backwards heart.

Now, grab a paintbrush. These walls could use a coat or two.


Shelley said...

That was incredible. Sometimes I feel you are able to get out in words what I can't express. My husband has been speaking to me about this also. I am so blessed to read your words and feel encouraged to repent to.

heidikins said...

I am in no way God, but I heard you and I want to thank you for sharing this. I have been looking for my own way to define this kind of "room" for months and--after several readings--I'm still amazed at this post.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Kari said...

Oh Emery -- this is so beautiful! Wow.

hunnybeemay said...


Kerri Foster said...

Wow. You do such a wonderful job of expressing yourself. Failure and keeping ourselves from it is a daunting task for sure. Thanks for reminding me of how God sees me too. I love you!

Morgan Lynn said...

Thank you Em. Thank you for putting into words what I cannot. Yesterday was probably one of the worst days I've had in a while and I can resonant so much with what you said. I feel like I am beginning to allow the door to my own room to be shut and I cannot begin to describe how this has stirred something in me. I think a fresh coat of paint would do me well also.

Liz said...

This is just beautiful. I love reading your blog. As for me, I'm sure my room has been repainted and then rewallpapered multiple times. I am in the process of clearing out the room right now to give myself a fresh start. Thanks to my husband's encouragement I think it is actually happening. I'm learning that it isn't neccessarily failing that is the problem, it is the unwillingness to even try. God calls us to step out boldly, as Peter did getting out of the boat during the storm to walk on the raging sea. At first glance it looks like Peter failed spectacularly because he lost sight of Jesus and started to sink, but at least he tried. The other 11 diciples in the boat didn't even try.

On a separate note, back at Christmas time you posted a version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas that my son and I loved. I never got the chance to comment on that because I have a 2 year old and a six month old, and sometimes these things just get left for another day, so I'm telling you now. :)

Outnumbered by 3 Stooges!! said...

God hears you!

Jiff said...


kachina said...

Or 3, 4, 5 coats! Heck, paint the closet, change the lighting, open the window and air that place OUT! There is a part of my soul that gets completely lost in painting specifically. The second the bristles are glopped into my creamy, colorful joy...and then wiped across a slightly bumpy canvas...I feel at home. There's not one THING on this planet like it. It makes me cry, laugh, yell, scream, and it grounds me. It makes me stable. Like nothing else can. I know, no matter what happens or how long, my paint and canvas are still waiting. Still loving and beckoning me to spend time with them. I tried going without them...but they just called me back and I'm almost done with my degree. In painting. Then it's off to grad school, and then hopefully helping people HEAL through painting like I have.

One thing that struck me today...the person's post above mine. "God hears you." Wow. I certainly hope so. <3

Paint it ALL!

sufferingsummer said...

thank you.

Carbo1021 said...

I've never commented before but that was beautiful. I relate to all that you are saying but have never been much for words.

Thank you.

R-becca said...

I love you.

Christina said...

I was going through the same thing about 2 months ago. I was so badly seeking the real me the me God created me to be. And I felt the same way. That I had failed and to stop disappointing people or to prevent massive failure I would stop being unique and start being what I thought people wanted. And You are certainly right it is hell. And that is not what God intended. He did give you gifts and me gifts. Different gifts. I love that he doesn't want a monochromatic, robotic people but a rainbow of his people. That love and honor him with the gifts that he has given each of us.
Love that. Thanks for Sharing your heart. God bless...

Amy said...

You're amazing

Heather said...

I'm a stranger...peeping in on your life. I don't even know why. We don't have much in common - but the way you write about things so foreign to me is engaging, so I keep checking back. And then there's today where suddenly our lives overlap. So I thought I should say something about how it's all meaningful to me - the differences, the sameness, the joy, the not-so-much...thanks for it all.

Daniele said...

Very profound and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. Take yourself back full force and never look back. You are capable of so much and you have so many people that are proud of you, regardless of what is in your future. So open those curtains, break out the paint and decorate to your hearts desire. Can't wait to see what appears.

Angela & Brad said...

emery ~ i stumbled across your blog through a friend's blog, adriane, and have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and apologize for not commenting earlier ;)

this particular one hits home with any inspirational ideas shot down by the same fleeting thoughts i've pondered myself, the idea of having "sold out" somewhere along the way.

"Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established." Proverbs 16:3

anna joy said...

how do you always write exactly what i feel but in better words than i can think? thank you for this post... so so perfect.

Anonymous said...

My heart is filled with joy to hear that God is speaking such great things to you! I think this is one of my all time favorite posts. It needs to be in a book, full of all your other brilliant posts.

I will gladly help you paint that room honey. I've got my whites on, scraper in hand, and paint brush in the other.

love chris

Amy said...

love this post1

stina said...

yes, in a book, like your husband said and i was planning on saying before i saw his comment.
and then you can write a hundred more books.
i'd read them, and read them to my family and kids and friends.
even in your pain and struggles, it's obvious how it's so worth it because it helps so many readers whether they're in valley, on a plateau or on a mountain top.

Jessica Mapa said...

Wow. This spoke so much to what I've been experiencing the past 5 years. Wow. Thank you Emery. And praise God for sealing us with his Holy Spirit. He never quits on His bride. That hymn comes to mind---O the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

O and a million praises of thanksgiving for your husband. Thanks Chris for showing exactly how Christ responds to Emery.

Anonymous said...

Emery Jo,

You're a brave, brave girl.

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, & you believe you are living. Then you read a book, or you take a trip, & you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous & might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. & then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, & it awakens them & saves them from death.” — Anais Nin

Kari said...

Wow. Just wow. Thank you for this post. You'll never know how much it touched me.