Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Peeling Off the Dragon Scales

God literally drew me to a desert soon after (See The Desert Place). Except it wasn’t a desert so much as a tropical island in the middle of the South Pacific.

I spent a year living in Fiji, on a deserted island with no electricity, no roads in or out. And it was a glorious year of refocusing and relearning how to walk with God.

One day I was told by a missionary living on that island to pick up a big rock and carry it with me all day. At the end of the day he asked me if I had had any profound thoughts. And I responded by saying, “You know, in the beginning of the day it was a real nuisance – and so heavy! But now… now I barely notice that it’s there. It’s like it has become a part of me.” 

“Ah,” he said, “and so it is with all of the unnecessary burdens that we carry with us through life.”

Stupid wise man.

And so he made me think through what I was unnecessarily carrying. And when I was ready, I was to place my rock at the foot of a cross he had set up 10 feet away as a symbol of laying down my life burden.

I knew immediately that the burden God was calling me to lay down was the identity that I had formed from being the traumatized daughter of a very sick man (Daddy Disclaimer). I remember visibly shaking as I approached that cross and heard God whisper to my heart, “That is not your identity, dear Gretchen. Lay it down and pick up your true identity in me.” I should have thrown that rock down with all of my might and leaped for joy but instead I hesitated and hesitated, trembling at what it might mean. 

I don’t know how to be anything else, God, I thought. What am I supposed to do with the big gaping hole that will be left when I set down this burden?

In C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, there is a story told in the book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader about Eustace. Eustace accidentally turns into a dragon (I know, I know. Who DOES that?) and after many attempts to turn himself back into a boy, he encounters Aslan, a lion who resembles Jesus Christ. Aslan tells Eustice that he must tear the dragon scales off with his big lion claws. Eustace explains, “The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off… He peeled the beastly stuff right off… And there I was as smooth and soft as a peeled switch.”

In Fiji, terribly afraid and feeling like my skin was being peeled from my bones, I set down my identity as a victim, and took up my identity as whole, victorious, daughter of the King.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Gretchen! I just listened to your story (again) on Moody. Glory to God. Thanks for sharing this incredible story for so many people to hear.

    Also, that was my favorite part in Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well. Unfortunately, it isn't quite as powerful in the movie :-(