I messed up really bad last week and really hurt a really good friend. It was unintentional but it was definitely my fault.
And for some reason since then tons of other thoughts of one specific type have been bombarding my mind too.
Regrets. Shovel upon shovel poured on top of me by I-don’t-know-who, from I-don’t-know-where. Mounds of regrets.
And I have felt so bad about myself.
My first thought was, “Ross, don’t feel bad about yourself. There’s no use to that. You’ve gotta stay positive.” And I think our culture tells us ‘it’s never healthy to feel bad about yourself.’ And I agree that we don’t want to get stuck in a rut or just be a negative person.
But something about feeling so broken turned me to prayer and it was there I was reminded the value of sometimes feeling bad about myself.
You know how in the Old Testament they had to sacrifice animals. Like whole bulls and stuff. It was crazy messy and a huge cost to them.
Well, that isn’t what I stumbled on. It WAS in the old testament, but it was this. The psalmist says this to God,
“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
And that’s what I brought Him cuz that’s what I had (I think both He and I just want me to be honest.) I brought him my broken self. My burnt sacrifice was my broken will and failed intentions.
And as I prayed, and was prayed for at church, my will broke. I felt so small. I wanted him because there was not much of me left.
And in that time of pause, and parting with pride, God felt so close. It was a little like when something wouldn’t go my way when I was a kid, or I felt bad about something that happened on the playground, and my mom would take me up in her arms and would rock me in that old creaky rocking chair. Man, when do I ever feel as close and safe as I did then.
That time with God was pretty close.
And as I sat there, feeling God was so near, I let go of all my stuff. And it just felt like I didn’t need to worry about the wave of the world rolling by, which I had been trying so hard not to miss. I just knew that it could pass me by because I’m held by someone who stands on steady ground from the ocean floor.
And it seemed like He was like, “Oh, Ross, I love you. Don’t worry. I have good stuff planned for you. Just keep your eyes on me and I will lead you true.”
And I remembered the value of feeling bad about myself every now and then. It is to remind me that my way ISN’T as good as God’s way for me. My performance is unsteady water, but his plan for me is eternal, steady ground. When I feel bad about me, he just wants me to cleave to him, and feel good about Him again. And in that identity I remember where my true good is found.
And, as my eyes lifted and my feet touched the ground again, I had new resolve that even though the waves of the world would come and pull at me, it was okay. It was okay to feel humbled and broken at times because it is when my eyes fall that I see the hand which is lifting me up again.
Raw Spoon, 12-3-15