In becoming who you are, you must let go of who you’ve been.
I heard these words this morning as I sat down with my journal and coffee. I knew God was speaking to me of many circumstances I’ve been dealing with since returning to a land I once called home. That little bit of truth is what I needed to hear as I began to process many things that I’ve been feeling this last week here in America.
Returning to my ruins- that’s exactly what this week has felt like in many ways. I didn’t realize that living in the UK for the last (nearly) 5 years would change me so much. As I am back in the setting and culture of my past, I feel as if I were once a square, who has been tumbled in the rivers of life until my sharp edges have been rounded. Now, I return to this country as more of a circle in shape, no longer aligning to the square hole in which I once lived my life.
I’ve overcome a lot in the last 5 years, and like everyone in this journey of life, I’m constantly in the process of progression. But just being here, and dealing with some stressful situations going on around me, I find old struggles rising up around me, and within me, feeling so abnormal but so familiar at the same time. It is as if there’s a girl within me who once lived, but not longer exists, as I’ve shed this girl to become who I am now. If I allowed her to resurrect, it would no longer be me who lives, but just a ghost from the past, and I wouldn’t be fully alive. Instead, I would find myself trapped in a shell of someone I once was- pretending. These are the things I’ve been feeling and processing for the last 6 days here. I’m not saying anyone is putting these expectations on me- not at all. It’s just something I’ve been experiencing mostly inside of me- in my thoughts, and in a culture that I once fit so well in.
I’ve always felt a bit out of place in America, but I find myself feeling like this wherever I go, because I know am not meant to be anyone else other than myself. This is probably the biggest truth God has taught me in my walk with Him. He has called me past the edge of the water in so many ways, and in every step I have discovered more of Him, and more of who He created me to be- His.
Being home, (in the sense of the natural habitat I was raised in), and around my family and friends here is absolutely amazing. Reconnecting with people is food for my soul. But stepping back into this place holds many memories of what I laid to rest inside of me, along with many demons that I thought I had left behind. But we can’t run from our demons- we rise above them. At least, that’s my viewpoint on it at this present time.
‘When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house in which I came.’ He then returns, finding it empty, swept, and put in order.
Then he goes and takes with him several other spirits more wicked then himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of the man is worse that the first.‘ (Matthew 12:43-45)
This is a very scary verse to read, but this is the verse that came to mind as I journaled, and it actually brought me much comfort. As Jesus spoke these words years ago, I felt God reminding me of the truth of that parable today, as I have felt my past starting to rise up around me- like old demons. Things I’ve internally struggled with in the past, now rearing their ugly head once again. It’s funny how things can trigger old habits that we don’t want, because it’s not who we were created to be.
But this morning, God went further than these words as He spoke to me. He reminded me that I was not the one who swept and put the ‘house’ back in order. He was. These past year, I have been being swept and deep cleaned, but also strengthened in incredible ways that I hadn’t realized.
He was the one who fills me, who lives in me, and who has made my body His home. My body is His temple, and as we’ve dealt with past demons, He has been the one doing a work in me-
‘For God is working in you to give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him.‘ (Philippians 2:13)
The past may come back 7 times stronger, but that’s okay. I’m not called to fight them, because it is Christ who lives in me, and who has been working in me, making me 7 times stronger as well.
As the past rises, it is my reminder to also rise- and stand.
This is not my battle, for it has already been overcome. And if it comes back, I have nothing to do but to stand, be still, and know who I am… daughter of the Great I AM.
I write all of this for anyone else feeling past struggles rise up around them. Anyone else who may feel old ways trying to creep back into their life through thoughts, feelings, or emotions- You are not alone.
Remember who you are, the temple of the Living God. The creator of the stars resides in you, and is stronger than any force that comes against us.
Stand, be thankful for all that you’ve already overcome, and remind yourself who you are. As you walk through this season, know you are not alone in more that one way, for this girl in South Carolina will be standing too.
Sarah Camille Soltani Icely