My friend Jacob (@jacobgoff) posted a cover photo on Facebook last weekend that simply stated…
Just seeing those two simple words pierced some tender place deep in my soul. I went for a long walk and thoughts and feelings started flooding in…just because of those two simple words. Tears that I had been holding back for way too long were released and I took a much-needed extended deep soul breath. Side-note (not for sympathy, just info): It was also the 16th anniversary of my dad’s death, and I didn’t give myself permission to grieve the way I needed to grieve when he died.
We are hardly, if ever, given permission to fall apart. The prosperity gospel culture we live in is almost always encouraging us to be strong, fix ourselves, smile more, be more grateful (damn it), put on our big girl panties (or big boy undies), and strive for perfection. We are encouraged to never let em’ see us sweat so we don’t ruin our witness. We hear self-help messages from the pulpit* and leave our churches Sunday after Sunday striving to do better, when all along Jesus is giving us permission to fall apart and rest in him.
My fall-apart moments, though I try to fight them with every self-defense mechanism available to me, are inevitably where I experience the comfort, inexplicable peace, and beautifully unconditional love of Jesus. He doesn’t punch me when I’m down, bully me to work for his love, or ask me to hide my truth.
Luke 12:4-5 MSG “I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
I can’t do it on my own anymore. I give up. I’m tired of pretending. I’m tired of playing this game I can’t win. I’m tired of the fake version of me receiving love while the little girl screaming out inside of me rots away in a dungeon of shame. I’d rather risk rejection and be loved by the only one (Jesus) who knows me completely and loves me in my messy state than be surrounded by a company of friends who are not okay with my fall-apart moments.
I fell apart in a big way a little over 2 years ago. I found myself in a place where I became well aware of my broken, sinful state and my need for a savior every second of every day was blaring like a neon sign on the Vegas strip. Sidenote: I’ve never been to Vegas, but I did see the movie Leaving Las Vegas. Yes, I am a sinner who saw a movie about fellow sinners. You have permission to be shocked, but as Steve Brown says “I’m a lot worse than you think I am.”
I have been hearing and reading messages for so long telling me that I need to buck up, be RADICAL, stop being “just a fan”, and get serious about my faith. Those same messages encouraged me to put aside my emotions (replace them with scriptures and positive thoughts), and get busy working for God (making sure never to leave home without my mask).
Jesus became the springboard for my self-salvation projects and somewhere along the way I developed a decade’s long case of spiritual amnesia that made me forget that he is my rescuer, comforter, wonderful counselor and best friend. I lost the proclamation that IT IS FINISHED in the sea of confusing, legalistic, “just do it” messages.
If you have never been given permission to fall apart, don’t listen to me, listen to Jesus…
Matthew 11:28 NIV Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
If “they” are not okay with your fall apart moments, remember that Jesus always is.
*with the exception of those pastors/churches that do preach law and gospel.