she tries to ignore it,
but the desolation demands attention.
it won’t let her wander
outside its constrictive boundaries;
to simply be.
it taunts her, saying,
“you’ve failed in so many ways”,
“do you know how often you’ve screwed up?”,
“listen to me tell you about your weaknesses, your shortcomings, your pain”,
“let me hold a gigantic, gilded mirror up in front of you so that you can see your failings”.
so, she pushes back.
“but what about all the good that i’ve done?”,
“what about how hard i’ve tried?”
but, she’s silenced as desolation screams,
“you don’t get to leave this place yet”,
“a high enough price has not been paid”,
“what is this madness that makes you believe you can make a difference?”
“what foolishness has you presuming that you have worth?”
I imagine that most people have felt, at some point, as if a giant mirror was being held up to their imperfections; as if everything “less than ideal” was magnified, while everything positive was minimized; as if the missteps overshadowed the accomplishments. (maybe that’s just me?)
We will have “desert times” when we feel like we walk alone in a place without shelter, seeing only barrenness all around us, thirsting for water although none is offered. In those seasons of dark, we may feel as though we’ll never get out of that place.
We’re so caught up in pain—the less-than-ness—that we forget to remember that we’re simply (and so much more complexly than we understand) spirit energy, stuck in mostly clunky bodies, run by three-pound brains. We forget that we have enormous value, that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, Imago Dei)—that the essence of God is in us.
Failure is part of the human condition. It’s a teacher. It can be an opportunity for growth. We are not perfect. We cannot be perfect. And so, we cannot always succeed or always get it right. But, sometimes, by the time we get around to blowing out the flame of recrimination that’s burning at the end of the match, a bonfire’s already been started. It’s out of control and we don’t know how to extinguish it.
If you ever experience an internal tug of war—where each time you feel like you’re getting one step closer to safety, you’re immediately dragged closer to the pit of loss—stop.
Ask God, “what steps should I take to move to security and freedom?” Then, choose, with intention, to give yourself the break that you so easily give others. You have value even when you stumble, even in your brokenness. Arm yourself with tools that help you take steps toward safety. In that stepping, you’ll evolve. In those forward movements, you will bloom. And, in the acceptance of your imperfections—in your failing and falling—you grow grace. Amazing grace. Life-giving grace. God-blessed grace.