Stretch Marks

“My suffering was good for me for it taught me to pay attention…” Psalm 119:71

I am familiar with the feeling of my body aching, my bones pulling and my skin stretching. I look in the mirror…transfixed. I stare at lines that have called my skin home and trace them with my fingertips–a map of pain that reminds me of growth.

My soul (the more than body part of my humanity) however, shows no sign of visible pain. I feel it—the growth, my soul aching and pulling. The visceral pain catches my breath. If I have been learning anything recently it’s this –living among brokenness reveals my own.

Shattered glass on the side walk.

Shouting in the streets.

A house falling to decay.

A human feeling less than dignified.

It is all so overwhelming at times. The very systems and structures we want to upend often end up upending us.  You see, it is not the world’s brokenness that makes me want to run away. It’s my own. No one told me it would be this way; that this is what actually makes me want to throw in the towel.

We long for reprieve so we run. The mirror of brokenness is too much. We stand up first-dates. We move across the country. We overeat. We numb ourselves to the news. We stop caring.  We break promises. We apply for new jobs in new cities. We create false realities. We seek control over others. Worst, we cling to power and structures that alleviate our pain–the ones we were set out to break down in the first place. Because normalcy is better than the shrill of unknown.

What if..

we slowed….

to realize…

we are not running from the world’s brokenness….

but the reflection of our own?

I’m finding it is in the breaking and the uncertainty that wholeness truly grows. That my suffering is good for me in that it causes me to pay attention.

Staying right in the middle of the pain is where we are intended to reside. Being a failure, is often, the process of becoming more whole.

Grace ever grows in depth when we grow in our ability to see our own depravity. Grace doesn’t cover up of all my faults like I once thought. It isn’t simply a whitewashing of my dirt. Grace is a whisper of all I am intended to be.

Grace call us out. Piece by piece brushing us off and picking us up.

Try again. Try again. Begin again. Do it over again.

There is a deep joy found only when you stop running from everything you are being asked to step into–right into the pain of your everyday life.

Stay.

It’s worth it.

 

Psalm 51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

 

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