I've been saddened by the church community's often inappropriate and ungracious attitude to people who suffer with illnesses that are a little more "grey area" than say diabetes or cancer. Do we have to react in fear and judgement when we are confronted by people who shake our beliefs about God, wellness, faith, and other ambiguities? If a person is diagnosed, or is living with a mental illness, why do we have to ask more nervous questions about faith and healing than we do when someone finds out they have celiac's disease?
I'm relieved and grateful to be part of a faith community that does not categorize one from the other. Still, being a survivor myself, I must own the fact that I would feel particularily vulnerable to stand before my people and tell my story. I would want to be able to conclude that my victory is consistent and unshakable. I would want people to have a reason to laugh and clap at my conclusion.
How do we make peace with the messiness of life? How can we?
The longer I live, and the more I ruminate, I think that I agree more and more with my blogger friend Judy who describes her image of God "spilling out of our gashes". On this side of eternity I don't think I'll ever be entirely healed. Oh, I believe that I am, but I just don't think it'll feel that way. I'll struggle with negative thoughts. I'll not achieve quite as monumental tasks as I imagine when I think of being "successful" in this life. And if it were possible to fully arrive, what would I need God for on a day to day basis?
I'm beginning to see that the powerful ones amongst us are those who don't apologize for their scars. Nor do they dwell on them, allowing pain of the past to define who they are. Acknowledging life's pain and messiness is different than being controlled by it. Here's where I need God. I don't want to barge on ahead on my own determination and sheer grit, with a dash of rebellion and change the world, the church, and all the people who annoy me.
I want to be powerful and impact my world, but not by myself. Not without direction and conviction from my maker.
So its also helpful to remind myself and others that courage is not the absence of fear. I am just going to keep working at resting instead of struggling, feeling fear without being mastered by it, and leaning into the bigness of my God.