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You Gotta Have Thick Skin

I slammed the door shut on the political world about a decade ago.

Growing up in the political arena can do a number on your heart, which most outsiders will never understand to the degree of what I am speaking of (and that is perfectly ok). But for me, it is weaved throughout the pages of my story and has had a huge impact on my life.

 My daddy used to always say: “Baby, you gotta have thick skin!”. But for some reason, I never could get my skin to be “that thick”! And believe me, towards the end of my dad’s 28 years as being the Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Louisiana, I had been given plenty of opportunities to embrace this practice. However, when bold lies, ludicrous fabrications, degrading words, and gut-wrenching accusations, towards my dad, were repeatedly being blasted all over the news media outlets across the state, followed by several betrayals —— my head did not have a place to file this sort of cruelty. Many would say, “Oh, that’s just politics”. But for me, bologna, that’s just a lame excuse for broken people to try and break other people! And as hard as I tried, there was no “thick skin” for my heart to hide behind. Therefore, in my pain, I began building a fortress.

Pain gave me a new identity. Pain gave me the strength and gumption to build the facade around my heart and numb it. The foundation of my façade was poured on the footings of the limiting beliefs that: all people are cruel, negativity ruled, betrayal is inevitable, you can’t trust anyone, if you put yourself out there you will get slammed, and if you’re in politics, you are “free game”.  The walls of my facade were constructed to keep the echoes of these hurtful words, cruel lies, and the possibility of more betrayal out. I had to keep it out. I had to protect. Out there was unsafe and yet inside my light was dimming. The pain was intense.

Looking back, I can see clearly now, this is where I began losing heart. BUT my daddy never did! He never lost heart!

He continued to walk in the ways of the Lord with purpose, passion, integrity, dignity, and with his head held high. He kept turning the other cheek and he would “cackle” and smile in the face of “haters”. His attitude and strength is truly something, this daughter, may never be able to fully understand.  He had this supernatural strength. And I see it more clearly now than ever; He had deep-rooted beliefs and he would not stray from them. He always saw the best in others. He believed in people. He was a man of his word (you didn’t need his signature); He looked at every obstacle as an opportunity. He was kind and brave. He was a visionary. He was innovative. He was optimistic, even if it meant him standing alone. Yet he knew, he was never alone. He was operating out of “sonship” not as an “orphan”; something I would only discover later. He knew who He was and He lived out of that “True-Identity”. He knew he was born to serve. And serve is exactly what He did.  He knew he was born to change Louisiana and change Louisiana for the better is exactly what he did. He knew he was created to be a difference-maker and boy what a difference he made. My earthy daddy left a glorious legacy far beyond what words on this page could ever fully articulate. And that legacy is mine. Hallelujah!

And yet, for me to receive this blessing, this legacy, to the fullness of measure, I had to go into the “shut off” dark places of my heart and allow my Heavenly Daddy to excavate these deeply buried gems.

You see when you shut out the pain you also shut out the beauty; when you shut out the bad, you also shut out the good; when you block off the suffering, you also block off the healing. When you shut your heart off —- you block it from EVERYTHING!

And so, a few weeks ago, I was invited to open the “political door” again. My head immediately said, “NO STINKING WAY! NO WAY!”.  My heart said, “Don’t be afraid, ‘I AM’ is with you.” And the wrestling began: yes-no-yes-no! Through many weeks of prayer, I found myself standing at the threshold of this old but new door. With my hands and feet trembling, I knew it was time to enter in. I chose to open the door and step into the rivers of pain from my past trusting they would not drown me and believing that right there in the middle of my darkness God would shine His radiant light. And did He ever! Not only did He illuminate the darkness, but He also dismantled old lies, spoke fresh bold beautiful truth, ushered in deeper profound healing, removed the veil of bitterness and disappointment, restored what had been stolen, resurrected what had been dead, and rescued my heart – again!

OH, HE IS SO GOOD!

SO, LEAN IN!

THIS IS KEY! I had to choose to accept the invitation. I had to choose to open the door of my heart and step into the shadows. I had to choose to feel the pain, accept the pain, and thank the pain so I could forgive (others and myself), deeply heal, and begin living a life outside of the hiding, outside of the shadows, and outside of the bondage of fear.

So right there, on the other side of the “door” that I vowed to never open again, awaited me rivers of profound truth and oceans of deep healing.

AND THANK GOD, I CHOOSE TO OPEN THE DOOR!

What doors have you slammed shut and vowed to never open again?

Can you be open to the possibility that more healing could be available on the other side of that door?

Are you ready to choose God’s invitation to open the door and trust He has more for you?

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