I was lost but now I am found.
How often do we hear those words? Sometimes, they glide into your head through the catchy tune of Amazing Grace. Other times, they come across in stories of brokenness. It seems like every time I hear a story of pain, loss, or damage, it’s quickly followed by a “but now I am found.” We usually only share about our breaks, when we are sharing about overcoming them. But what do we do in the time in between? What do we do while we are still broken?
Our current brokenness matters.
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite Christian authors. So many Christian writers, especially the women, write to tell you how to be a better Christian. They tell you how to be perfect. They talk about how great everything is with God. Or worse, they talk about make-up tips and boyfriend advice in the midst of a “devotional.” Anne Lamott is different. She talks about how to be broken. She talks about how to be a straight hot mess, but be loved by God anyway. There is a quote by Anne Lamott that says, “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
A recent experience I had completely tore my life apart. It upended everything I knew. It broke me. For a while, I tried to fight against it and keep a happy façade. I tried to keep it all together until it was too hard. I was too broken to keep caring about the way my hair looked or how clean my kitchen was or what I was going to wear. I was a total mess for a few days….okay weeks. My instinct was to hide from God, hide from friends, and hide from the pain. My instinct was to burrow up in my bed and in my sweatpants—to not let anyone see me like this. I needed to wait until I was okay again to let God and people back into my life.
Here’s the thing though—God’s grace is in the mess too.
In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus tell Simon to lower his nets to catch more fish. When he does, Simon is shocked at the amounts of fish that come into his boat. In fact, he becomes scared and anxious at the thought that Jesus is so powerful. He tries to get rid of Jesus, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” But Jesus does not leave. He does not run from us. He does not let us push him away.
At our most broken, our most scared, Jesus looks to us and says, “Do not be afraid.” It is out guttural response to push God and people away when we feel broken or we feel less than. We think that we have to wait until we are whole again to share about our pain or to seek God’s presence. It isn’t true.
My recent painful experience was just that…recent. I am not past it yet. I cannot say, “I once was lost but now I am found.” I am still broken. Tired. Grieved. But I think it is important to talk about my pain even when I am broken. In the midst of my mess, I know that friends, family, and God are walking it with me.
Like Lamott says, “I want to take a taste of life, to live in my mess, and figure it out”. I only get one precious life, and it’s worth being honest with myself long enough to figure it out. I don’t know much, but I know that God will be with me as I do. That is the best I can ask for.