Monday, December 04, 2006

the avalanche

There is a great book I have been reading for the past couple of weeks that I want to begin by quoting. When I first picked it up, I had no idea how ironic the timing of it would be.

From "Shattered Dreams" by Larry Crabb:

"...We Christians are an impatient lot. We insist on gathering grain before it grows. We want to see flowers before spring and fruit before fall. When a friend is going through a tough time, we insist that the Spirit's work be obvious. Unless they speak of their trials from a spiritual perspective, we tend to apply pressure more than we dispense grace. We rarely believe that life is hidden in the barren tree. Let a friend express his exacerbation with a four-letter word, and immediately we're more concerned with his language than with his agony...

...The deep honesty of despair is reserved for places other than the church, which then becomes a place of pretense, and therefore a place without hope. When brokenness is disdained and the real story is never told, the power of God is not felt. When brokenness is invited and received with grace, the gospel comes alive with hope."


I was recently driven to my knees... and I wish I could say it was in prayer. But it wasn't. It was in brokenness. Have you ever had that “one last straw” pulled in your life? I hit the ground hard in utter confusion and bewilderment, so quickly that it seemed to take my breath away. I shifted violently and repeatedly from paralyzed blank stares at the wall to trembling from the core of my being in a desperate state of despair.

Not exactly a picture of a stable woman with a stable faith in a stable God.

I'm not condoning knee-jerk emotional reactions to circumstances—but I have realized in the last week or so that perfect faith is not about "holding it all together." Once the pieces of my emotional tidal wave stopped falling, I began to feel guilty... I felt like an imposter. There I was, supposed to be a rock, and instead I had created an avalanche. How humiliating. I decided I didn't want to face anyone. Like a cocoon, my bed became a private hiding place. I didn't even go to work. As I buried myself in my own rubble, I began to realize that this avalanche was about so much more than my immediate circumstances. It was a bittersweet revelation, and one I didn’t feel prepared to face.

And then I was surprised... Loving arms wrapped around me—me in all of my pieces. Those loving arms did not expect me to immediately begin gluing myself back together, and they did not criticize the mess I had made when I fell. In that moment, the real story was exposed, and the hope of Christ truly did come alive. And it happened because this person met me like Christ would—arms open, heart extended. No gawking stares, no disappointed reactions.

It may not have been my finest hour, but something in me needed to break.

I needed to stop being God's poster child and become His daughter.

1 comment:

Oz said...

A friend of mine used to call this her "shame spiral."

Something happens --> feel shame/guilt --> run and hide --> fell shame/guilt, repeat.

Praying for you.