Held together

Shattered and Broken. Destroyed and torn apart.

Everything is ending, the pieces are on the floor in front of you. The door just slammed, the call just came, the tears are running down your face.

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Maybe it is a job, a relationship or a family.  Or maybe it is a hope, dream or desire you have held as a pillar in your life for so long.

Whatever it is, you can’t breathe or focus, or seem to move on, it just feels as if you will die under the weight of the shattered pieces of your loss.  You might feel as you can’t continue, you can’t face the world, the others that haven’t been broken, and everything is together for them.

Perhaps you are in hard place of “this time of year” that can be suffocating.  You can’t muster the strength to smile and pretend everything is fine, so you just don’t go to that work party or that event with your friends.  You can’t face them again when your insides feel ripped in two. The happy couple or put together family is a punch to the gut.

My heart has been heavy this year thinking about how this advent season, the season of longing is truly that for many people.  2016 was a hard year for many, filled with heartache and pain and worry.  A year that just didn’t seem to quit. The world seems to be aching in so many ways.  Brokenness, shattered lives, cities literally crushed by hate and war, it is all too much.

We want to look away, we want to run and hide.  It seems too much to handle, to bear, to carry around from day to day. So maybe you ignore or just numb your self to the pain because you just can’t.

If you are anything like me, there might be things that seem impossible to hold together, to balance, to get through.  I look to myself to try to do it for myself, to pick up the pieces, to hold it together until I leave a party before I crumble.

The truth is that we actually don’t have to just power through, keep it in, and stuff it down.  Friends, we don’t have to hold ourselves together.  

We don’t do a very good job anyway, right.  We make a mess of it, like a stain that we try to fix without the stain remover.

The truth is that we have something that holds us together.  Someone, really.

In this season of Advent, of waiting and longing, I have been reminded that what we receive in the birth of Jesus is way through the pain, someone to hold it together for us, to be with us in the suffering.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

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And in Christ, all things hold together.  

The power of that statement, in those moments when all the plates you have been juggling come tumbling down, when you feel at the precipice of destruction, when nothing seems sure, is water for the parched soul.

He came to us, he came to our world and lived the hard life that we are living.  He knows the pain and suffering of living this human life.  He knows. And he is still here.  He doesn’t run from it or hide from us. He stays and is with us. What a beautiful savior we have in Jesus.

Friends, as we wrap up 2016, we don’t have to pretend or posture before God about the state of our lives.  Our lives might be laying there destroyed by our sin or by others.  We might be in the midst of suffering and pain.  Or maybe 2016 was one of your best, but the message is the same.  It isn’t up to us to hold it together. 

We don’t have that power or might, but we have the One that does.

Friends, live in the freedom of not having to hold it together.  Step into the heartache and pain, you won’t be left there, you won’t be alone in it and it isn’t up to you to make it better. Praise Him.

photo credit: Shattered dove via photopin (license)

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Not on my own

I have been thinking about this post for a while.  I haven’t written in a while, and feel the need to post something. I want to post something super positive and uplifting, but I also am not one to hide or be inauthentic.  Maybe I will figure out what I am writing by the end of this post.

So here it is….

Life is hard right now.  Sure it is easy to look on the outside of my life and consider that I have it made.  I am a single woman, working and living in a fabulous city.  I live in a vibrant neighborhood surrounded by my community and friends.  I have a steady job and am never bored. I am seem busy, but considering I am a grad student and working full time, it makes sense.

However, what you don’t see is this gripping anxiety that I have been dealing with for the last 6 months.  Perhaps we could call it a quarter life crisis or a life transition.  However, it doesn’t diminish the fact that I have had moments of overwhelming worry and anxiety that I have messed my life up in irreparable ways.

Heavy….right?

It is.

However, as I am slowly coming out of a fog that I have been somewhat living in, I am seeing things more clearly.  This anxiety, as crippling as it is, doesn’t have to be apart of my life.

Let me get super-spiritual on you, it all stems from the fact that I AM NOT TRUSTING GOD.

Me, someone who has professed faith for many years and believes in the gospel of Jesus.  Someone who leads and preaches truth to others, am having a hard time trusting in the God that I believe in.

In my pride and vanity, I hide this anxiety from other people.  I keep my panic attacks to bathroom stalls, my closet, and under my covers.  However, because currently my attempts in talking myself out of it are insufficient and half-hearted, I have to let others in.

I have let my community do what it is supposed to do and help me.  I also have to stop trying to fix myself.  (Even as I type that, I am coming to a fresh realization.)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

I cannot fix myself. I cannot make myself less anxious.  I cannot make myself trust God more. Jesus came because we cannot fix ourselves.  We do not have it in us to do that.

Goodness, I need to hear that everyday.  I cannot do it on my own.  I am utterly incapable of living everyday on my own.  And the good news is that I don’t have to.