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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Plunging Into the Chasm

 As my own journey unfolded, I found myself at a place where I did not want to be - a place I'd long avoided. To a certain extent, I'd avoided it for so long that I'd almost forgotten the pain that resided there. For some time, I had given myself self-induced selective memory: I had tried to forget about this place...this side of my existence on the other side of the door. But now, I'd been brought here yet again and, this time, I knew I couldn't walk away from it. It was the chasm of darkness - the deep place that housed my greatest fears, my innermost feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and despair. 
 It took some time before I was able to sum up enough courage to enter in to such a place. The only thing that even made me remotely want to plunge deep was the thought act my path down the chasm would be lit by the light of God's love and that future relationships (friends, family, future spouse, children) would be impacted by whether or not I made the choice to plunge deep into the darkness, to uncover everything, and to face my hidden secrets for what they were. 
 And so, with much fear and trepidation, I entered the chasm. 
I hadn't gone far when I began to discover things...things that I never wanted to see, never wanted the world to see, but things which, if left undealt with, would haunt me for the rest of my life. 
 What I realized early on is that this journey would require weakness. Weakness is seen often as a bad thing. Negative feelings are seen as a bad thing. Admitting faults is seen as being a bad thing. While we each know in our inner soul that we're not perfect, we seem to want others to think we are. Imperfection is our enemy. The mistakes we've made are oftentimes too painful to admit. And yet, we have to say that such thinking is really a form of denial. It is a lack of honesty. We are lying to ourselves by expecting behavior that is simply unrealistic. Refusing to acknowledge our weaknesses is to not recognize one of the basic qualities of human nature: that of the imperfect. 
 Ever since the encounter with God in the Garden of Eden involving Adam and Eve, people everywhere have had to live with the effects of a fallen creation. What was once made in total perfection now resides in total imperfection. All of us are walking stories of failures, regrets, mistakes, and sinful decisions. Nobody goes through life and then dies having lived the perfect life. Only one person ever did, and that is Jesus Christ, the One who desires to restore us to the perfected state of glory we once fell from. Once the fall occurred, God already set up a plan to redeem us from the disgrace of such woeful disobedience. By sending His Son to die for every wrong act, every bad choice, every mistake mankind has made since the death - that of Jesus - paid it all (Romans 5:17-19). The beautiful thing is that He isn't afraid of our weaknesses. In fact, He knows about them even before we recognize them ourselves. 
 Life is about learning to see and embrace the whole of ourselves - the bad as well as the good. It's being free and trusting enough to not be afraid of God's response, or the response of others toward your story. 
 And so God invites us all:
Come into the chasm and face the darkness. I will be with you!