“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt. 11: 28-30 The Message
“The greatness of the man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” William Booth
All the signs were there—had been there for a while. So it was no real surprise when the paroxysm of pain gripped the base of my skull, lingered for a moment as an announcement of its presence, then skulked up the back of my head, and paused before taking temporary residence on the right side of my face. It entered a rhythmic dance of retreat and return, retreat and return, retreat and return. My body was now telling me what my spirit had been speaking for quite a while: Stop! Slow your roll! Breathe! Get away! Rest! Refresh! Recreate!
I felt like I was coming undone. I hadn’t had a real break in almost two years. I felt as if I were being pulled in so many directions with no recovery time—from my “if-I-don’t-do-it-it-doesn’t-get-done” home life, trying to grow Logos Writing and Editing Service and still maintain my own writing, to wearing multiple hats at our local fellowship while living with residual effects of a past surgery that added a level of stress to my life that few people understood. Add to that the fact that I hadn’t slept well for a while (I had become very familiar with MeTV’s early morning lineup beginning with Ironside at 3:00 am and ending with the credit roll of I Love Lucy at 7:00), I was one big, raw emotional nerve. It was showing up in my attitude and my responses, and I didn’t like it. The conditions were ripe for an explosion or, more likely in my case, an implosion.
It wouldn’t take much. It didn’t take much. It only took a text message.
And at 3:30 in the morning, sweet repose once again eluding me after an hour of listening to soaking music and praying, I sat up in my bed and screamed. I wailed. I sobbed. I yowled. “I’m coming undone!! I’m coming undone! God, help me!”
Then I rested a moment in my undone-ness and I surrendered. “I’ve come undone, Lord,” I whispered. And Father God lovingly sighed and whispered back, “Finally!” I could almost hear a chorus erupt in the heavens, singing with utter joy and delight, “She’s come undone! She’s come undone!”
I wish I could tell you that after hours of worship and prayer, the Lord Himself appeared to me with some amazing revelation, that He touched me and I was immediately strengthened and renewed. Wish I could tell you that after hours of rebuking the devil and all his imps, peace enveloped me and I slept like a baby. Heck, I wish I could tell you that I don’t struggle and that I have this life in Christ thing all worked out. Wish I could … but I can’t. That isn’t necessarily my reality.
My reality, even after years and years of walking with the Lord, is this: sometimes I come undone. Sometimes I carry more than I cast. Sometimes I’m more anxious about something than not anxious for anything; sometimes I don’t allow patience to have its perfect way. Sometimes my faith doesn’t move mountains. Sometimes I am afraid. Sometimes I don’t walk in those unforced rhythms of grace, but lumber through in my own strength.
Sometimes I’m simply . . . well … human. I’m glad God isn’t at all bothered by that.
I have found that there are times when God will simply let us reach the end of ourselves, reach the end of our proverbial rope. Sometimes He will let us feel deeply all that we feel (and feel it with us). Sometimes He allows us to be broken open, vulnerable and exposed. There are times He will let us come undone, but we are never alone. The I AM, Who is never undone, is right in the midst of it all. Our simple acknowledgement of where we are (even if it’s of our own making) is the place where truth and grace wed and where righteousness and peace kiss. Our undone-ness is an acknowledgement of our utter dependence on and need of Him in and for everything. Our undone-ness is acknowledgement that life happens to all of us, and despite our best efforts to manage it all, we’re sometimes overwhelmed by it all. But God settles in that place of undone-ness with all He is, manifesting His love and wisdom and gently guide us back into a place of grace—not always with a “suddenly” but in due season. And all the time He sings over us and whispers, “I love you even when you’re undone! I love you because you’re undone and vulnerable and more your true self than ever. And you are still so beautiful to Me! Now snuggle into My completeness while I gather all the fragments so nothing is lost.”
Maybe wholeness, peace, true faith, pure love and grace can only be realized in “undone-ness” and surrender.