“As long as the heart beats, as long as body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life.” – Jules Verne
So there’s that quote. But then there’s also this one.
“I let go. Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete. I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.” – Chuck Palahniuk
So hear me out.
A couple months ago I went through a really rough time. The kind of rough time where you feel like you fell into a hole and couldn’t get out and I didn’t have the energy to try. So I didn’t. I just allowed myself to fall.
Why did I need to listen to my conscience if I didn’t have the energy to do the right thing. Why did I need to worry about the right thing to do if I just viewed life as a bunch of separate moments and never as a whole. Why did I need to worry about my relationship with God.
Why why why why.
So for awhile, free falling felt good. It felt like freedom.
Unfortunately though you have to hit the ground sometime. And I hit it hard and made more than a few cracks.
Now we get to good old Jules Verne.
When I gathered myself up from the ground and looked back on the mess that my life had become, then I felt despair and fear. Fear because I was scared of who I was turning in to. Despair because how did I even start to spiral upwards. What did that even look like. Never had I anticipated being that broken.
It’s really easy to start hating yourself because of what you’ve done. Your mind will come up with a million reasons why you’re worthless but zero reasons why you’re priceless. I realized if I was going to make any progress I had to forgive myself. I had to acknowledge that I didn’t have to keep making bad choices. I was capable of so much more.
That brings me to this quote: “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Louis Carrol
And so began my upward spiral. Yesterdays me and todays me are not the same people. In fact, they don’t really even know each other. It’s still really easy to look at myself and see a mess and a failure, but it’s getting better.
I have one more very applicable quote: “We are bruised and broken masterpieces, but we did not paint ourselves.”
We might be bruised and we might be broken and we might be hurt. We might not always be as loving or as involved as we want to be. People might have bad opinions of you and see you only as a series of failures and shortcomings. But there will always be at least one person who sees your potential. Who believes you can do better and counts your victories, not your failures. I’m blessed to have people like that in my life.
You are not a screwup. You are not worthless. You are worthy of love and forgiveness and acceptance.
I know I know I’m getting all inspirational and cheesy. But at one point in my life I needed to hear those things as much as I needed to breathe or drink or eat. And so I’m telling you and I really hope you believe me.
Now we get to the God part of this.
You know how in Santa Claus, Neil is questioning Charlie about why he believes in Santa Claus. Charlie says, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.”
That’s how I feel about God. There are a whole bunch of things that I don’t understand and that don’t make sense to me and that confuse me. But I’ve never been able to honestly say to myself that God doesn’t exist. I feel his love on a level that’s hard to describe. I feel his presence. Me and my dad recently went out to coffee and he said that the biggest heracy in the church today is the lack of love that is displayed. People often think of Christians as harsh judgemental people. How did we become this way when Jesus said love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you?
The Pharisees were harsh and judgemental. In Matthew, Jesus said, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ Also in Matthew, the Pharisees ask the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus preached compassion and mercy. In John 8, it tells about how the Pharisees brought a woman accused of adultery to Jesus. Jesus says to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” He says to her, “Has no one condemned you?” When she says no, he says “Then neither do I condemn you.” They wanted Jesus to condemn. Instead, he forgave.
I also love the story in Luke where Jesus tells a parable about a son who leaves his fathers estate and wastes all his money. He hires himself out as a servant and then thinks, “My fathers servants are not hungry. I’ll go and offer my services as a servant to my father.” But when he gets there, his father greets him with open arms and a feast. When the faithful son who had not left gets mad about it, the father says, “ ‘My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
The father did not pass judgement. The father did not get angry. He welcomed him back with love and rejoicing when the son only felt fit to be his servant.
To tie all this in with the first half of my post, as I said before, you are worthy of love and acceptance and forgiveness. No questions asked. God does not see you as a screw up. God loves you so much. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are wonderfully made. Not mistakenly. Not despairingly. Wonderfully.
In Matthew it says all the hairs on our head are numbered. Imagine that.
Sorry guys. I’m just feeling really passionate about this right now.
Phew. Anyways. Yeah.
I’m still trying to put myself together. It may seem hard but it’s not impossible, I promise. Sometimes I think about what others must think of me and view me as. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t let that bring you down.
Bottom line, you are loved. And when it comes down to it, we all have a common denominator. Brokenness. I’m broken. You’re broken. The people who look down on us and judge us are broken. We’re all broken in some way. But in that we learn so much about ourselves. We become three dimensional, complete with flaws, cracks and bruises. We learn the value of mercy and compassion. We learn how to love ourselves more wholly, and through that we love others more completely. So, honestly, I’d rather be broken than perfect anyday.