Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My New Friend

It's been a while.  I have no excuse for this recent hiatus from blogging other than that I just haven't felt like writing.  Thoughts and ideas circulate in my head but they never reach a point of culmination necessary to even begin a post.  Maybe this is because my musings of late have been heavy, deeper than usual, and thus, harder to articulate.  Maybe I am wrestling with some lingering insecurity over the impressions I leave on my readership.  Maybe I am just lazy and inconsistent.  Regardless, I am moving on.

I recently made a new friend.  This friend has been around for a long time and although I have always known about her, I had yet, in all my 30 years, to acknowledge her as a friend.  In fact, I have fostered quite a bit of animosity toward her throughout my life and it wasn't until these past few weeks as I was so burdened my the weight of my hatred that I decided I would try to relinquish my ill-feelings and embrace this ever-faithful, never changing, with-you-'till-you-die kind of friend.  Her name is Brokenness.  She sticks close.

As an enemy, Brokenness brings a huge burden of shame and remorse.  I know this very well.  There is an inevitable cyclical pattern to my life that starts with a season of unabated effort to stake victory over my enemy followed closely by the crushing disappointment of yet another defeat.  I am trapped.  Longing to feel good about myself, my actions, my decisions, my being, my pride seeks hard after conquest of the habitual fleshliness that follows me everywhere I go.  Functioning under the self-inflicted pressure to overcome it is exhausting.  As a perfectionist, I often have a firm, all-or-nothing approach to things in my life and it serves to forcefully perpetuate this cycle.  I end up saying to myself, (not out loud or even consciously), 'If I cant overcome my character flaws, then why even try?  Useless.'  And down goes the spiral until something leads me again to the delusion that I can change myself.

So, as the saying goes "if you cant beat 'em, join 'em.   And so I will align myself on the same side as Brokenness and see where that leads.

As a friend, Brokenness ushers me into a true humility - one that accepts grace and allows me to see others through it's lens.  There is tremendous freedom and weightlessness.  I sort of flail around in the 5 stages of grief as I attempt to deal with my flaws and imperfections.  I deny their existence, I become angry, I try to bargain with God to just take them away so I can feel 'normal', sometimes I become depressed for a time until whatever ailment is no longer so fresh in my mind, but I never seem to come to a place of true acceptance.  Embracing my own brokenness is a huge step in that direction.  It seems so counterintuitive to accept something for what it is, to just let it be and call that progress yet no more so than the notion that to truly live, one must first die, and that in serving lies a greater reward than in being served.

I am looking forward to exploring more the idea that our weakness can be our greatest strength.  I am curious to know what that really looks like in my life with Brokenness as a friend.  I have always believed that God is more that able to bring good from even the worst in me and even though I know in my head it is not limited to this, I usually tend to see and expect that 'good' to come in the form of relief, removal, complete acquittal, 180 degree change.  Once again, my expectations prove false and I am left with none.  Yet, I am hopeful that my journey with my new friend will be an exciting one.

Have you begun this journey yet?  Do you have stories to share?

Until next time......


mrsrosendale said...

What a timely post. I have been struggling with my own brokenness, especially today as it seemed like Satan was having a particularly great time reminding me of all the mistakes I've made and pointing out my many flaws. Even the little mistakes, like saying the wrong thing or acting like a dork, have been foremost in my mind. It came down to the feeling of being trapped in my own sinfulness. I started feeling depressed because there was nothing I could do about my condition until it was time for faith to become sight. I have always viewed Brokenness as my enemy, an insult to my own narcissistic need to be perfect. But focusing only on my weaknesses as obstacles does not reflect the "sober judgement" of myself that Romans 12 calls for (the "sober judgement" being that I am made the way I am, totally acceptable by God, and who am I to judge whether or not a created being is flawed or not?)

I totally loved your insight on embracing Brokenness as a friend. Because if we do acknowledge her as a companion, then we can learn to love her. And if we learn to love her then we can focus on the love that comes to us from Him above. It is He who is faithful, even though we bring such rude and unsightly friends to the dinner table. Thank you so much for blogging. I feel as though a fog has been lifted.

Shiloh and Samantha Sorbello said...

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth..." If this is the brokenness you're talking about, I'm all for it. I think another cool idea on this topic is the statements Jesus made about coming for the sick (i.e., broken) and not the "well" (i.e., wannabe self-fixers).

Good post, Erica!

Mama G said...

Dyl and I have beed talking about this quite a bit lately and then the message at church on sunday was about the same thing. god can accept us because he sees his perfect son in us. period. so when we put forth our own efforts and intentions, and his son isn't at the center of them, then he can't accept them. like moses had to wander around the dessert for 40 years before he figured out how to be broken. and jacob had to wrestle with god and become broken before he could get on with his life. and paul had to be blinded before he could be used by god. basically, the sooner we figure this out and stop fighting against brokenness, the sooner we can really live the life that god wants from us. wish it were easier :)

The McCarty's said...

I've been meaning to comment for some time on this post. I was so struck by your words. I think that there is a sweet freedom in embracing our brokenness. It is then that we can accept that we are who God says we are, not only as sinners but also as saints.
I believe it also gives a new ability to embrace others and meet them together in a broken place.