Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Stunningly Beautiful Cycle

I keep thinking about this post and really needed to reread this one (originally posted on 8/19/12).

I'm caught in this cycle, and I constantly and crazily pray that I keep going 'round.

However, this is uncharted territory for me.

For days, months, years, I had been in a rough, round sequence. Let me tell you plainly -- there is a cycle not to join. It is no-good. It made me worn-out and tired. Here is the nasty succession: I would puff my chest, put on my broad smile, hum a cheery tune, and get to work. Doing, smiling, doing, helping, doing -- upbeat, of course. But, then, I miss a cue and take a wrong step. And another. And another. Until tears replace smiles and disappointment (with myself) crushes cheer, and I feel hurt. Broken even. And, knowing what to do and where to go and who to turn to, I run to Jesus for help and to get fixed. I am Humpty Dumpty. Being the kind Friend Jesus is, He embraces me, takes me in, and makes me whole. Now that I am all put back together again, I charge back out there to face the world (in my own strength). Repeat the cycle. I would go try to do stuff (you know, good things), get broken (by me), stumble back to Jesus wailing about how I screwed up again, get bandaged and (depending upon the severity of my messed-upedness) wait to heal, and then (naturally) I would go back out there. Over and over. Imagine a boxer or an athlete or a soldier. So, like I said, it made me exhausted.

Yet, I feel that I cannot totally disparage it and must (now) give thanks for it because... that (nasty) cycle led me to this one that I now revolve in. I don't know exactly how to skip first series to get to this second sequence, since that was not my experience. I'm certain that there is a way; I just have not thought about it much. [See below.]

Okay, moving on to the stunningly beautiful cycle. While I feel as if I have stumbled into it this past year, I still must comment on how it feels fresh, newly navigated.

The remarkable rhythm follows this simple pattern: I draw close to Jesus. [See below.] The closer I get to Him, the scarier I look. That cracked egg phrase* people frequently quote has got nothing on me (this shattered mess of self). I see me -- dark, wicked, sinful, ugly, broken -- and suddenly, I feel wild and flailing. The more I see me and my utter helplessness, my absolute, dire need for a Savior, for Someone Larger than Life to come and help me because I am sick and shameful and despairing... Oh, Jesus! And as a result, I cling. I desperately cling to Him with white knuckles. I will not let go and you can't make me! The tighter I squeeze, the deeper I bury myself into Him, and the more I firmly hold onto Him for dear life (for real life)... well, the closer I get to Him, and I am ready to repeat.

Now, how to get in? I'll tell you how I got in (not trying to; I just found myself in it one day), but it is so simple and cliche that you will read this, instantly mark this off of your checklist as already completed, and exhale with disappointment because this is not some new revelation that you wanted to try. Just to warn you. All I did was read about grace, learn about grace, embrace grace, seek to show grace, ponder His grace. This would often lead me to... Him. Admiring Jesus, gazing upon Him, listening to Him breathe, hearing His heartbeat. Not using Him but appreciating Him (I think that is the difference between the old cycle and this new one).

{There is so much theology here, but alas, I must go to bed!}

Bottom line: go for the gold! Go straight for the second cycle of stunning beauty. Get in and never get out!

I'm in {and THIS is the place to be},

*"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."