Wednesday, August 6, 2008

East from West

A dear friend of mine was having a hard day yesterday. She was upset, and began crying, saying- "I am a mess!". I sat next to her, put my arm around her, and listened, but you know what? She didn't even have to speak. We've all been there, haven't we? When we just can't do it anymore- or we can do it, but not without tears? My heart broke for her, and the tidal wave of emotion she must have been feeling.

This is a woman that I look at everyday, whom I see as a role model. She is strong, kind, a diligent mother, and a calming presence. But she has doubts about herself, like we all do. I think alot of times we don't think about that- that other people, people we see as having it all together, have their moments when they come undone. Everyone is only human, after all. But when we see somebody else's "human-ness", it is shocking. I can bear my own pain, but seeing somebody I love hurting with her own pain just kills me. I want to take it from her, bear it up, and carry it as my own. I hurt for her hurt.

I've had my own breakdowns, been through my own valleys. I have borne them, most times, in silence and alone. I have felt as if I would unravel and float away, as if I was not tethered and could no longer see myself. I had no definition, because all of my roles were, in my eyes, a failure. My hurt was doubled, because I felt as if I was not only failing myself, but also my loved ones.

But you know what? It simply wasn't true. I was defining myself incorrectly. I had let the negativity step cleanly in between myself and others, and let myself get carried away on a river of doubt. My thoughts were false idols, and here I was, worshiping at their very feet. The person I truly am is as far from the person I made myself to be as east is from west.

I find it is when I am at my most despairing that I learn the most about who I can be, and who I want to be. It is also a time I have to define myself by what others say and think, and not trust my own judgement so much. It is a time when I must define myself by what God sees when He looks at me. And what he sees is his child, imperfect, flawed, but treasured and loved beyond ability to comprehend.

I think God sometimes allows us a breakdown before he rebuilds us. He allows the negativity to creep in, the hurtful thoughts to swiftly replace the positive ones, and the world to seem against us. He allows us to see the bad in our life- he allows us to cry. Because without the bitter, would we even taste the sweet? Would we know what contentment truly is, without the angst of discontent? Tears are cleansing, sorrow a great teacher.

So when I have a breakdown, when I feel my world crashing down, when I am beyond myself, I rejoice. Sounds crazy- right? But I know that after the sadness comes great growth. I know that after I feel I am utterly beyond my own means, there is a great source of strength to tap into, and He knows just what I need.

Thank you, God, for the moments I feel I am not getting it right, for when I feel I am lost, for when I feel I am alone...because in the end it makes me stronger and better. And thank you also, for defining me, even when I cannot define myself accurately. ~

1 John 3:1“See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.”