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Alana Serna is in her 10th month on THE WORLD RACE.  Patti and I have the privilege of being coaches for her squad!  She’s a heck of a writer and the brutal honesty  and courage is refreshing.  Her latest post is below.  You can check out her blogs at: http://alanaserna.theworldrace.org/

I gasped for air like the first breath after being released from a strangle hold. The once dark sky was bright with pure light. Still breathing deeply I looked around me. The last thing I remembered was my hands holding a bottle of bitter lies in my hand instead of my shield and sword of truth. I had been yelling words as equally as bitter as the lies I was consuming. My hands were empty. I glanced around the ground around me to see if my weapons were nearby. As I did, a pair of hands reached out to me. Looking up I found myself gazing into beautifully fierce green eyes. He held my gaze as I took hold of His hands. He helped me to stand on shaking legs that felt so strange and foreign to me. “Beloved, tell Me the Truth.”

I broke and purged before Him. Every bitter lie I drank was suddenly lying before me on the ground. He held pure Love to my lips and I closed my eyes as I drank deeply. Suddenly I was in a strong embrace. All around me voices were lifting me up in love and in prayers. Hands were tenderly pressed against my back, my head, my arms, holding my hands. I realized that I was in the midst of my tribe, holding tightly to one of our leaders. And it was in that moment I realized that God had won that battle… the victory was ours to celebrate.

I don’t know how I can explain what this really means other than to say, “Honestly, you just had to be there.” But I can say this. I realized this past week that it is far better to choose in… to choose to fight for the ones you love, and a very important part of that is to love yourself.  For me, much of my Race experience has been trying to learn how to do just that… love myself.  Prior to the Race I battled with self-esteem, self-image, etc. I wrestled with rejection and fell into the trap of living life on the defense.  Much of this was based out of the war that had been waged on my family and on me even from a very early age. While this war had some major battles, most of the weapons used against us were subtle… things that are used against most families, like lack of communication, misunderstandings, sarcasm, reasoning away or self justification, etc. And when those little things added up it took its toll. Please hear my heart on this. No one was at fault in my family for this…

This past debrief all that I experienced was a sudden revelation of how much my coping mechanisms (solitude, justification of harsh words or actions, drinking, eating, sarcasm, etc.) affected those who love me. By pushing away I gave them the finger… by harsh words or actions I slammed the door… by drinking and eating I slapped them in the face… by sarcasm I lashed out in anger… the thought overwhelmed me. However in that moment I felt I had a Peter moment… being on the water and seeing the waves… but then Jesus speaks and  the focus is brought to where it needs to be… on Him. In that moment of realizing the pain I was causing others I realized the love that was shared… I realized the overwhelming magnitude of that love and felt the strong arms of peace wrap around me. I realized that there is no reason for self preservation or defense. If you fight beside a brother or a sister there is no need to worry about what they will do to you… it is remembering what they will do for you… they will fight for you, love you, serve you, correct you, speak life over you, encourage you, intercede for you… But we all have to make that choice. And it starts with choosing to love yourself… speaking life over yourself… knowing that the person you see in the mirror is favored above all of creation by the One God… the King of Kings and Lord of Lords… Can  you look in the mirror and see beauty? Or do you criticize the person you see? Do you speak with confidence, or do you trip over yourself apologizing for things you don’t really need to? Do you take time for yourself or do you get too caught up in putting other before you so much so you have forgotten how to let yourself be loved? I’m sure you can reason away any of these questions like I have in the past… but I would challenge you to sober up and answer these truthfully. Go through the chapter on love in the Bible and ask, “Do I do this with myself?”…

I challenge you with this because being in such intense community for these past nine months has taught me that you  can only love others as much as you love yourself. I cannot love my teammates a lot if I don’t truly love myself a lot. But when we love ourselves we begin to put that off. We begin to share the gifts God has given us…For a few examples…My teammate Jessica is like that. She walks in a room and you can’t help but feel the joy that God has given her. Or Rebekah… she is a woman of such great confidence in who God has made her as woman, I can’t help but seek the same confidence and truth from my Father. Or Melina, she speaks and you can’t help but listen because the Spirit fills her with truth… DJ and Mike have such deep deep wisdom and insight you can help but want to listen and learn… But if one person is having a bad day on our team, we all feel it. If one of us is struggling we all feel it. So we cannot think that for one moment we are independent of that love. And if we lose sight of that, we deeply hurt those we desire to love. But the beautiful thing about it is that those people who love you, like my squad loves me, will be there for you… and the God who made you so wonderfully complex has always loved you… He loves you enough to put you in a position where He can love you through your family, friends, church, and even so that you can allow Him to love you through the way you choose to love yourself.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. marisol doyle
    July 7, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Very interesting and beautiful to read. I will ask myself what do I see when I see myself in the mirror? If I recall accurately, I’ve seen someone getting old, wiser, freer…blessed and so in love with the best of the best one can…Jesus…and I sure want more of HIM…

    Lord please pour more of Your spirit in us and of your understanding to pass it on, to serve you better…like all these squad in Alana’s

  2. Pridge
    July 15, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Wow awesome writing and such a good reminder. I needed to read this today. Thanx.

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