"Lord don't you care if I drown?"
I still remember the day I started praying that. It was the same day that someone asked me what color my soul was (my favorite question of all time) and I said without hesitating "dark purple like a storm."
I had been praying that Jesus would calm that storm for two years, but it seemed to just get louder and rougher every week.
The other day someone told me I was "too perfect," and I just laughed, because, of course, perfect people don't sin. Perfect people don't describe their mind as a jail cell half the time. Perfect people don't feel pain. And perfect people have never been broken...
“Perfect” people (people you might think are perfect) are just really good at hiding all of that, and, well, for the longest time, that's been me... unfortunately.
The average person at my school—or really most of my friends— wouldn't know that
last year was the hardest year of my life because it was the furthest I've ever run away from God, or how close I got to making some really dumb decisions.
There were times I really did feel like I was drowning and couldn't figure out which way was up, but I didn't want anyone to know that.
I'm writing this right now to tell you why hiding it was the worse thing I could have done... and why my brokenness was beautiful.
You see, by hiding my brokenness I missed out on two great opportunities.
1) I missed out on God being strong in my weakness. Now, when I tell people how He's changed me and restored the joy of my salvation, I have to go back and explain how broken I really was. People didn't get to witness the work He did in me, because I tried to hide it!
2) I missed out on Christian community and accountability. I'm always afraid to burden people with my wants, needs, or hurts, but I'm personally honored and energized when someone comes to me with theirs (and God uses me to help them). I know it sounds weird, but whenever you ask your brothers and sisters in Christ for help, you're giving them the chance to love you how Jesus loved them! It's a GOOD thing, and we all need to love and be loved!
Now you might be wondering: what was it that changed my mind? Great question! It just has a not-so-fun, but very important, answer.
I’m a really stubborn, headstrong human being (working on that) and Jesus knows this, of course, and sometimes He has to break me and my will more before He can start healing me.
Why? Because God is going to heal us HIS way, not our way. I'm personally so thankful for that, because my way was not working at all.
My way to heal myself, to be quite honest, was to numb my pain. Binging on Netflix or listening to trashy rap music until I couldn't feel anything anymore was my go-to. Now, that sounds really dumb to me, but, at the time, it seemed like my best bet.
Recently, I began reading this book called the Gifts of Imperfections (I highly recommend this book to anyone who struggles with perfectionism) and it says that, interestingly, we can't numb pain without numbing joy and all other emotions. My way of healing myself was preventing me from feeling any real joy.
Looking back, I think my heart was really hard, I was really numb, and Jesus needed things to get really hard and really painful so I could feel again and He could break through to me.
Unsurprisingly, that's exactly what happened.
It felt like I lost everything that week. Or at least everything that mattered to me.
My relationships with my family got rough, my closest friend at school was sick all week, my boyfriend who I relied on dumped me, and counseling that I really needed wasn't available for another month...
But Jesus broke through. I tried to pray deep things or good things and I realized I couldn't. I was too broken to try...
That was the first moment that I had ever realized that I was always trying to impress God and to chase Him.
Jesus broke through without me doing anything good on my own and He had just one message.
It wasn't "Be better," "Try harder,” “Fix yourself,” or "Be happy."
God spoke six words over and over again over my soul:
"Stop. Be still. And worship Me."
I wrote this in the notes app on my phone on April 2nd this year:
"I just need something deeper, truer, and with more substance than rap music, trashy shows, and anything else the world has to offer.
I need something that promotes reality— how the world really is.
Something that joins with this cry and call to worship Him with every piece of me
I'm broken down, soft, torn to pieces
But He heals
And here and here only can I feel Him this near and worship this vulnerably."
I was so sad that I felt physically weak, but it’s the absolute closest to God I’ve ever felt. He was almost tangible to me. I could feel His arms around me in a way that I’ve only experienced in my most broken moments.
God has just been so real to me ever since then.
I remember leaving my cousin’s youth group halfway through, and telling her, “I’m sorry, but God and I just really need to talk.” I went out to my car and just talked to Jesus for an hour because I knew He was right there in the car with me. (I imagined Him in my passenger seat).
Not only that, but the brokenness meant that I was too weak to even try to fight my battles myself (and inevitably fail), so I called upon God to. I can’t even list out every victory that God won for me those next couple of weeks. It was surreal.
The healing part was slow, but sweet, and oh my goodness it was beautiful.
I've been broken and I'll be broken again, but my God makes beauty from ashes and loves and chooses all the broken, weak, dirty things of the world… all the people like me.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jesus did calm my soul’s storm, by the way. Now, my soul is light purple like blooming lilacs in a meadow rocking gently in the wind.
My Jesus is the only One who tears apart to mend, and I hope I proclaim what He’s done in me unashamedly every day from this moment. I hope and pray that for the rest of my life “I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b).