Wage War has the song that defines my last two years. It’s going to be my anthem, my marker of these years.
The chorus says it all. But I’ll get there.
First a walk up to the chorus with a verse punching me in the gut:
Let’s get this straight
A lot has changed in the last year
Thought I had everything together
But watched it all disappear
It is remarkable what has disappeared from me. Previous to 2 years ago, I thought I was at least on the trajectory of putting it all together. I knew I didn’t have it all together. But I was on the correct path.
I watched a lot of ‘stuff’ disappear. What’s remaining in the process? I’m finding the Person I always identified as the core behind everything.
This is where every biblical metaphor of pruning, burning away, and seeing what’s left over applies to my last two years.
Thought I had everything together takes on a unique meaning for me. I didn’t arrogantly believe I had it all together. In fact swaying heavily in the other direction, I was already well on the way of holistic improvements a year, two years, really a few years in the making because of an acknowledgment of not having things together. Improvements made because of the humble identification of desperately needed change.
So when the hits started coming one after another over the past two years, all my personal improvements felt for not.
These personal improvements ironically had no challenging places to test themselves out in (or at least not in the arenas I figured I would apply my personal improvements in).
In other words, if I could establish habitual changes when times were ‘good,’ without realizing it, I was being prepared to keep it up when times became ‘bad.’
It’s kinda like the stakes were raised so change wouldn’t be on my terms anymore.
So here I am putting my past two years into perspective, and with everything that is burned up and gone, it is what remains which brings me to my knees.
This chorus. It stuns me:
Now I see, I was broken to be made a better me.
There are so many defeats I’ve had to deal with. There are many incredibly significant moments of pruning. What’s astonishing within this reflection is how I have become a better me in the process. This is the best version of myself ever. I have never been ‘clearer.’
A career stall actually turned into a time period of incredible learning through massive amounts of reading and writing, all combining to solidify my why.
An empathy I possessed intellectually a decade ago as a believer has now manifested itself personally through intense breaking and healing. Frankly put, as I reflect back on the idealistic 22 year old Jesus follower, having consumed massive volumes of early 2000’s Christian blogosphere material, and beginning their graduate studies with the aim of ‘getting into’ a field based on helping people, I see a person only scratching the surface of servant-hood.
The ‘better me‘ standing now embraces hardship completely different. I had somehow avoided major pains in my life and figured I could serve others out of a timid, shy, intellectual point of view.
But I was finally broken so that I can look into someone’s eyes and see their pain better.
I was assuredly empathetic before. But pain? Obstacles? Losing it all? Terror?
I’ve come into contact with pain I’d wish on no one. And yet here I am on the other side of it. I have learned the art and practice of taking the obstacle as a learning tool, as a data point.
Am I still here? Is it morning? Is it a new day?
Then be grateful.
Is Jesus still standing with me? He sure is.
Then be faithful.
And now I….
‘Had to learn to let it go and let it be.’
This is the clear marking of ‘forward.’ There are things I simply must let go. Even the process of breaking must be let go at some point.
There are burdens too heavy to carry on my own. They were never meant to be my burdens.
Now I can start fresh over again changing things I am actually tasked to change. Not things I have no control over. Only the pieces I have been given to put together.
The serenity prayer is on my heart like never before.