Have you ever watched a glass of water shatter?
Have you ever stared in horror as the child’s elbow moves too fast, and the cup is falling, and you are paralyzed as you realize that you can do nothing to stop it?
Have you ever sat in shock for two seconds as water begins to run everywhere?
All of that happens in slow motion, and then after those two seconds are up, we rush to clean, to fix, to maintain what has happened. We rush to gain back control over the situation by pointing fingers at the child & throwing towels on the table & shouting at everyone to stay still because there is glass everywhere.
Have you ever felt that happen inside of you?
As if life is moving in slow motion, and you are sitting back watching it all fall apart? Watching yourself fall apart?
I’ve been watching myself fall apart for a while now, I think. Actually, I don’t think I realized it was happening. I don’t even think I knew anything was wrong.
The past six months in Birmingham have pushed me into a state of semi-isolation, which is not good breeding ground for a healthy Nora. If you read up on my personality type, I am a true ambivert, which means I need alone time; but too much sends me into a spiraling depression that I don’t know how to handle. Life happened, though, and I’ve just been alone more often in this season.
The great thing is that God uses all things for His glory, and that is where my falling apart comes in. The aloneness forced me to make many decisions, from the shows I was watching to the books I was reading & the music I was playing as I cleaned. God made it obvious that I had so much time on my hands, and I was using it unwisely. At the end of the day, was I really proud that I had watched seven episodes of Gilmore Girls? He gently pressed on the places that needed fixing, letting me know that I could be so close to Him if I’d only try.
And once we got past the TV & the books & the music, He pointed out things that hurt a little more. My addiction to food as a comforter. My negative thoughts towards myself & others. My anger issues & my need to control. We got to the nitty-gritty. We got real with each other.
It felt like the glass that is me had hit the floor & shattered, and once we had worked through my mess, my first reaction was to put things back to rights. Set up the caution sign, wave everyone away, let them know there is a huge mess here that needs to be avoided. Back up while I make this all right.
But that isn’t really what God wants of us, is it? Psalm 66:16 says, “Come & hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul,” (ESV). Our human nature is to make everything look right again, but God wants us to share the mess. He wants the pieces to lay on the floor as He holds us together so that we can minister to others in the middle of the mess.
He wants us to stay there, cracked & messy on the floor, because only then will love spill over. Because when we look perfect & put together, we send a very poignant message: You can never achieve this. That’s where we get the term “holier-than-thou”, from people who refuse to live in the mess.
Do we want to dwell in the past or wallow in our shame? Heaven forbid it. But only from a place a raw vulnerability can we really love other people, and that happens when we start to crack open.
“When you start to crack open, don’t waste a moment gathering your old self up into something like you knew before. Let your new self splash like sunlight into every dark place & laugh & cry & make sounds you never made & thank all that is holy for the gift, because now you have no choice but to let all your love spill out into the world.”
“The Gift of You” Brian Andreas