Listen to Lina tell her story of colliding with Jesus. I love how she talks about being profoundly different without anything being profoundly different- all because of God’s consistent whisper!
Profoundly Different by Lina West
“My collision with Jesus didn’t come with a loud crash. It wasn’t some earth-shattering revelation, or a moment when suddenly everything was better. It was slow and gradual. It was a process that snuck up on me and before I knew it everything was different, and because I couldn’t point to anything specific in my life that had changed, I knew it was God.
Having grown up Christian, I found a college ministry right away my freshman year. College brought a deepening of my faith, grounding and rooting me. I was sure of God, but not sure of myself. When I started learning about Wounded Collisions with my small group, it was already familiar in a way. I had thought about my wounds a lot, but not really fully put words to them before. My wounds ran deep, put there years ago through several friendships that had ended without explanation, reinforced and held down by the deep, unshakable belief that at the core of myself, I just wasn’t worthy of love.
On the surface, I was happy and cheerful most of the time. But I entered each new relationship with fear, insecurity, and the belief that this person would also get tired of me and move on to more interesting friends.
I knew about these wounds and tried hard to get past them, but they were embedded deep within my heart and sense of self, and I didn’t really know how to get rid of them. I came to see them as scars that had changed the very nature of who I was, something I would always have and that I needed to just force myself past as best I could.
These beliefs slowly permeated my life and sucked me down into a period of darkness. My time of sadness was not profoundly different than others’. Many people suffer depression and this was not that, but still I went everywhere with a deep sadness that I couldn’t shake. My world post-college had become progressively smaller as friends moved away, and it became smaller still as
friends who were still around backed off, unsure how to be there for me.
Looking back on that time, I can see how God slowly brought me back from the depths of my sadness and loneliness. I sat and cried with friends over coffee. I sat and cried in a counselor’s office. I played with young children. I talked with friends and family who were willing to listen. I went on a mission trip to Cambodia. I read books about God and went to church and did all of the things I thought should help me.
And then I started sitting down and actually listening to God, and I began to hear His voice. What He said to me, over and over and over again, was “I love you.” Over and over and over. “I love you. I love you. I love you.” I began to hear it and see it everywhere around me, and I realized that this wasn’t new. God had been telling me this my whole life. I just hadn’t been paying attention. My own messages of unworthiness kept getting in the way, shouting loudly over His whispers. But His whispers are powerful, and they can cut through even the shouting, hateful messages the heart plays on repeat, the messages our head knows aren’t true but our hearts keep repeating anyway. The messages that change our beliefs about ourselves before we even realize they’re there.
God had to tell me He loves me a lot before I actually believed it with my whole heart. He just kept repeating it. Over and over and over. I still have to remind myself to listen for it, but He’s always saying it, because He wants me to believe it with every part of my being. He wanted me to know that those wounds in my heart are not scars I have to live with forever. He can take them away and make me new. And suddenly one day I knew that He had pulled me out of the darkness. Things were profoundly different without being profoundly different. He brought me into light and to joy. He completely changed my life and healed my soul with just a quiet, persistent whisper. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”