I am reading Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life very slowly. I am beginning to nap more and so my reading time is less. I think I need to do more than just read but once in awhile I remember that I said that I always wanted time to read all those books stacked by my bed and then I give in to just indulging myself. I read material that helps me with the journey and this one turned out to be a surprise with its content.
I am at the chapter called Breaking the Lies in Your Head. Most of us have some untruths that dictate our decisions and by my age I have worked hard on smashing them to smithereens. They do come back to haunt you though, to whisper to your fears as if to awaken them and see if they will come out to play again. Lies have long roots because they start in childhood and by the time we are adults we have befriended them in unhealthy ways. We can default to them before we even realize it. You have to make sure that you pull them out and smash them.
This reminds me of another story but it illustrates how dead you want those lies to become in your life. I was building homes in Guatemala one summer and we took time out to tear down the old house, which turned out to be infested with scorpions. We halted that task and killed the one that came scurrying towards us. The home owner ran over with a shovel and smacked it several times. Then he used the shovel to cut it into pieces before dumping hot coals on it. Overkill, I remember thinking. With lies there is no such thing as overkill. They can rise again if you are not vigilant. Some day though you realize that they are dead….and you can move forward confidently.
Voskamp writes about the death of her friend Elizabeth in this chapter and the moment of realization that she is not coming back–not that day or ever. All the feelings she has kept dammed up — can she let them break free and pour out of her? What happens when the dam breaks and all the emotions are suddenly coming out of you like a tsunami? Or when they flip around and come crashing down upon you? Ah, broken things…can they be a gift?
Voskamp also writes about her regrets of wanting to be a better friend to Elizabeth, of desiring to love more than she did, and of wanting to take the gold medal in living well. She is a failure…the lies are whispering in her head. I actually worry about this for some of the people who love me and even for myself so I understand. I drag myself sometimes to events when really I just want to nap. I usually do not regret the decision because often the gold medal is worth winning. Some days, I just postpone the effort, knowing the race can be delayed. Other days, I simply have to settle for going medal-less. I have learned to live with that reality.
I wonder about friends who also will regret their decisions once I am gone. I am a caregiver and I won’t be here to help them figure out that it was ok. I understood. Dying is scary. I looked great. Who knew how much time I actually had left? People can rationalize everything and yet nothing. The lies are happy to accommodate. My circle has plenty of gold medal friends in it. Not everyone wins the top spot in every area–some excel at prayer for me, others know what I need at just the right time, a few are fabulous about keeping me sane, and the list is endless. I do not want people to feel broken because they did not seem to master being a friend to me in my time of need. I hope that people will know that I am grateful for whatever was given and that I apologize for whatever I could not give, receive, or be. We should be free of these expectations.
The truth is though that God makes us whole, beautiful, enough, and perfect just the way we are. We are worthy of love. God will take the broken pieces and make them into new treasures, just like sea glass. I believe this. Let yourself be broken on this journey. Step out of your comfort zone. Let the emotions burst forth. Know that God.has.this as always. Trust that.
What lie needs to break in you before you are free?
Are you gold medaling or simply meddling?
Fixer-of-Broken-Things, You have this, as you always have. Let my brokenness bring forth a new, whole creation that glorifies you. May my heart be open to wherever you call me. I do not need to be a gold medalist — I just need to be faithful to your will in my life. Help me keep my eyes on that prize. Amen.