I, at one time, thought I would be a writer, but I found out that my spelling is off and my grammar isn’t very good. So, this is sort of a painful process (jokingish) requiring me to reflect on what could have been and the fact that I gave up on my dreams of being the next C.S Lewis, J.R.R Tolkein, or Barbara Park (Author of June B. Jones). Nevertheless, as I start to formulate my thoughts, I must apologize; insecurities have led me to believe that I am supposed to come up with something really smart and ground breaking to say, and I must admit that I usually fall short in the ground breaking department. So instead of trying to be smart I am going to simply try and remember.
A couple of days ago I got lunch with a friend from back home. I hadn’t talked with him much over the past month since I have moved to Nashville, so at first it was really good to catch up. I heard about all of the things that had been going on back at home. Life went on. There were new roommates, new stories, and new inside jokes. And I can honestly say it was really sweet to hear about it all.
I then got to tell him of all of the things I have been up to in this new chapter. I gave him the whole spiel that I have become so accustomed to giving anyone who has asked. I talked about how great my host family has been, I talked about how getting used to a new job is exciting, and how the people are just so fun to be around. To be sure, these things are all true, but directly following my bland monologue he asked me what all that meant for how I am. What I had not told most people was that I had been re-introduced to the same messiness I had dealt with before in Knoxville. I had to admit the current brokenness I had thought I was getting away from with moving to a new city, but it had followed me. In my mind part of the reason I was in this new place with new people was because the life I had been living had fallen short of what Jesus wanted it to be. I had come to terms with how messed up I was, but in my mind I thought the problems that came with my sinfulness would be left behind. In Knoxville I was paralyzed by the thought of being uncovered for who I really was, and who I really was, was a fraud. I act better than I am. I want so badly for people to love me that I would go to the extent of wishing ill on a good friend just so I could look better. I perform for an applause, and care for people to get noticed. I could go on and on about how messy my thoughts and motives can be, but I will leave it at that. “Have mercy on me O God, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my Sin.” I prayed this prayer, but no healing would come. Frustrated, I take an honest step back, and again, even as I pray the Psalms, I seek such healing only for my own gain, my image. I want God to help me so I feel and look better. I perform for the audience trying to build my kingdom whether its a joke or an empty smile; its all for myself. It seems a never ending cycle of brokenness, and it seems to have followed me on this new journey.
This has not been an uncommon occurrence. I feel Brennan Mannings words help paint this picture, “I am the one who thought he’d be farther along by now, but he’s not. I am the inmate who promised the parole board he would be good, but he wasn’t. I am the dim-eyed who showed the path to others but kept losing his way.” One of the hardest parts of walking with Jesus is longing for a place that I cannot get too. My biggest struggle with faith is the the fact that I struggle with the same brokenness; I fall into the same traps time and time again. I long to see redemption in those pieces of me. I have heard of the healing power of grace. I’ve heard through the Holy Spirit that I am supposed to become more and more like Christ, but most times it feels like the gap gets larger and the journey gets harder. I long for the freedom and peace the gospel promises. I want to want Jesus.
As I sit in a noisy Buffalo Wild Wings, I continue on this rant over my disgust with my relationship with God. My friend listens attentively as I spiral, and when I finally try and land the plane he reminds me of a song that I hold very dear. It is called Brokenness Aside. I assured him that I didn’t think it was tacky that he brought it up, so he then shared his thoughts. The lines state:
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it____________.
He talked about the first two lines and he said how the next line when he first heard it he tried to fill in the words by saying “you make it better” I know that is how I would chose to finish those lines. I say to Jesus, “Lord, Father, Savior please just make it better. All I can ask of you is to make it better. Take my sin and my brokenness and just please make it better.” But that is not how the song goes. The next line instead say “You make it Beautiful”
Both our eyes started to water. We Christians often try so hard to fix ourselves. We are obsessed with growth and progress and we settle for wanting better when the Lord offers us something far more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
It’s interesting how one of the hardest parts of following the Lord continues to bring me back. Its my own sin and brokenness. I look at the things of the world for what is wrong with me. I am a self-help junky, so I have read the books, I have taken the personality tests, I have gone to the worldly things, but I cannot find an answer for why I can not simply fix myself. I cannot make my brokenness better. It's unfortunate how much time I still spend trying to make myself better. But as I embark on this journey with the Fellows Program my hope is to remember that the hard work is already done. I hope to remember that when Jesus died on the cross he invited us into something much better than better. He invited us into something beautiful.