Today at church Pastor Craig spoke about shame and pain. I honestly don’t remember the passage he read from in Romans, but in a nutshell, he spoke about how hard times don’t have to define us. Instead, these hard times can be used for good when we are transformed and then reach down to help someone else.
I found him in the cake and coffee line and I told him I had an edit to his sermon. At this point an elderly lady in the congregation took her leave (“Oh, Lord, it’s going to get sassy now!”) but Pastor Craig just stood there smiling. It’s what I love about him most. He’s comfortable enough with God, and himself, that he can listen… truly listen…. to other’s viewpoints without being offended. At our progressive church, it’s actually welcomed. (Both the listening and the questioning. It’s like my 12 step minus the drunk-a-logs!)
Me: “I like what you said about shame transforming, but I feel what could have been added is a piece on acceptance.”
Craig: “Go on,” he said.
Me: “I feel that people suffer a lot because they don’t admit that what is going on in the first place is not working… or that they are out of options… or have just hit bottom. If they could just accept it, then they could grieve it, give it to God, and then the beautiful work of healing could begin.”
He just smiled and nodded his head. “I couldn’t agree more,” he said.
A few years ago the idea of questioning a passage of scripture would have made me feel like a heathen. Now it feels the more I question the more welcome I am. It’s kind of like my 12 step group. If someone says, “I drank a few glasses of wine and now I’m here” people smile and offer them a cup of coffee. But if someone says, “I drank two six packs a night, had four DUIs and danced naked at my daughter’s quinceanera” raucous laughter peals out. The worse the story the better the welcome.
The deeper the death of ego the higher the resurrection of the better self.
Such radical honesty is a refreshing way to heal… to just be oneself and know one is welcome anyway. No right or wrong. Just honest truth about where one finds oneself.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like feeling transparent and raw. I don’t like admitting that I don’t know everything. That sometimes my husband and I still fight about the stupidest stuff. That my son’s tics sometimes hit my ear drums and I just want silence. Blessed quiet. That I worry about my kids going to college or that I’m almost 50 and see yet another wrinkle creeping in. Oh my God! I can’t stop time! I can’t stop inherited conditions! Why am I not over it yet?! Suffering suffering angst and grrrr!!!!
And yet, when I just surrender that I don’t have to have it all figured out…. That I’m not perfect, nor is my husband… that my son is doing just fine with his little noises and my kids are perfectly content with their lot in life…. that it’s just me with my ego and my hopes and my not yet fulfilled dreams not trusting God… I can then do what I should have done from the very beginning. I can tell God I am scared and sad. And when I do, the funny thing is, I feel relief. And then, like Pastor Craig talked about, I can let God in to fill the places that no one ever could in the first place. Not my husband or a non-ticking kid or script being sold or a full scholarship for my kids to Harvard.
Happiness is not when things are better.
Happiness is right now in the mess and the chaos and the unanswered questions and just knowing that I don’t need to have all the answers because God does.
When I remember that hard things life doesn’t happen to me but they happen for me to let go and let God transform my pea sized mind from negativity to absolute acceptance, life is so incredibly beautiful I could just die.
Or, at least at this very moment, go to bed. Fathers Day kicked my ass this year.
What Do You Need to Surrender to Be Happy? I’d Love to Know Leave a Comment
(Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook.