April 12, 2012

There is nothing quite so tender as a broken place that is re-broken.  Insecurity revealed, exposed, undefended in the midst of the chaos bleeds so easily. The skin, paper thin and transparent, shreds at the lightest touch.

When I have been offended it is easy to find grace and to forgive.  I know I am capable of far worse.  I know my own desperate need for compassion and kindness.  I live and breathe within that truth every day.

I am broken.  I am flawed.  I am selfish.  I am foolish.  I am vain.

Oh, I am, my friends.  In my dark, little heart of hearts I live a constant battle to walk humbly, honestly, and carefully in front of the eyes of those who watch.  And critique.  And evaluate.

None more harshly judging me than myself.

But in those moments… In the bitter and brutal quiet of knowing that I have offended.  That I have hurt.  That I have harmed one whom I ought to have shared love with, cared for. Even protected…

When all the due diligence in the world can’t hide the fact that I am nowhere near as “put together” as I pretend to be? That is when the true work of God can be found.  Dividing between soul and spirit.  Heart and will.  Intention and action.

I used to find myself defensive. Angry. Critical of whomever it might be who DARED to expose my weakness.

Several years ago, in the midst of a brutal and agonizing situation where I found myself profoundly mis-judged and painfully offended by the behavior of others I prayed a simple prayer:

“Lord, I’ll crawl up on that altar and I promise to stay there until You’ve done everything You need to do to me and through me.  I won’t get down until You let me.”

It’s in moments like that.  In the middle of rebuilding from what has been torn down by the hands of others that the temptation to be self-righteous and even wallow a bit in the glory of my own vanity and virtue is hard to deny and even harder to resist.

But when what has been torn down has been by my own hands… To then crawl up on that altar feeling naked, beaten, exposed, humiliated… And to stay there.  Shivering.  Anxious.  Eyes downcast.

I have never before been more grateful for God’s compassion and for the sacrifice of my Lord than I am in those moments when a peace I don’t deserve cradles me in the dark.  It’s in THOSE moments when I realize afresh my desperate need for a Savior.

This isn’t a post of triumph or brilliant cliches wrapped in affirmation.  This isn’t a rich moment of overcoming an obstacle or a rooster crow glorification of my own will to succeed.

This is a small, cracked voice, whispering into a screen, “I have been redeemed.”

You have been, can be, need to be redeemed.

As hard as we try, as self-disciplined as we might be, we will, at some point, find ourselves staring into a 1AM conversation, a blank computer screen, listening to a dial tone, or weeping over handwriting on a page.

We will fall.

We don’t have to stay there.

We don’t have to stand up alone.

I can’t even begin to tell you how I have white-knuckled onto that truth recently.