Saturday, March 24, 2018

Transforming A Meltdown

How can an application for a licensure exam be cause for a meltdown? But it was. There I was laying on the rug in the living room, tears in my eyes and asking God where this all went wrong. I had started the day in the Word and in prayer; how could I be in such a dark place now? My husband laid down on the rug with me. He said, “It seems like you need help holding down the rug.” This was his way of showing empathy; it was best for him not to risk saying too much. In that moment everything in my life seemed to have gone wrong (tell me you’ve been there), when really I was just being challenged by paperwork and experiencing some anxiety about not getting it right.

It isn’t like this was the first time I attempted the process of filling out this paperwork; no it was actually the third. It seems drilling a website on my own through several links and form options is not one of my strengths. But there it is – paperwork took me down. I was feeling alone in the process, but there was my sweet husband holding down the rug with me as I ranted about everything while feeling incompetent and like a failure, when in actuality I was afraid and anxious.

For all the healing God has done in my life, there are still things that trigger feelings of inadequacy and in the struggle I may be found wrung out limp on the rug. Prior to wrestling myself down before God in my helpless state, I wasn’t able to give myself grace until I beat up on myself a bit. Or maybe a lot. Then the Father takes my hand and guides me away from the ugly abyss of self-loathing; He pries my fingers from the edge and doesn’t let me fall and drown. He reminds me it is OK not knowing how to do all things well and He does not want me to give up. More than anything He wants me to learn to lean on Him and listen to His whispers of reassurance.

In her book, Begin Again, Leeana Tanksley writes “We do not punish ourselves into transformation. We do not begin again by refusing to forgive ourselves. I’ve come to believe that we make lasting changes because we know, somewhere inside us, that we deserve something better, that we are hardwired for wholeness. . . . We don’t make lasting, constructive changes in our lives because of shame or self-loathing. We finally decide we were made for something more. This might come to us in a very small sense of knowing, but it’s a change in perspective, and it is the soil for new life.”

In her introduction Leeana explains how the phrase, ‘Always we begin again’, from the Rule of Saint Benedict became her lifeline. “It was permission to be unaccomplished, to be a beginner, to be brand new. More than permission, too, a sense that I was right where I should be and that the beginning space was actually a holy space, not just a layover on my way to something better.”

To be in uncomfortable spaces like: beginner, new, unaccomplished, puts me in a place of vulnerability. In this place the Father isn’t looking down on me in disgust; He wants me to look to Him for help. He wants to take hold of my hand and walk alongside me with support, love, encouragement and strength. This isn’t me just being weak, it is me leaning, surrendering and trusting. It is the grace space; I don’t have to know it all or be able to do it all. I must look up and fix my eyes on Him.

I am reminded of words from the Jesus Calling calendar by Sarah Young. “Link your hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven. Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One.”

Had I stopped filling out forms when I started getting anxious and sought Him I may not have ended up collapsed in despair on the rug in our living room. But I did. And from a real person who was willing to turn herself inside out to help others in the journey toward wholeness, I am reminded it is absolutely OK and incredibly life-giving to Begin Again. I am grateful when I read a book that reminds me I am not alone on this rugged human journey, and I cannot and need not figure it out perfectly. I am and we are “perfectly imperfect.” How do you navigate the situations in life where you find yourself feeling defeated by helplessness, inadequacy or incompetency? What do you do to support yourself in those moments? How have others come alongside you? I would love to hear your story.

1 comment:

  1. Although being "perfectly imperfect" is a favorite phrase of mine, I might add "adequately inadequate" to describe myself.