The thing about letting myself feel is that it grabs me by the neck and wrings it until I can’t breathe anymore.
Instead of writing an epic blog post to follow up on “Part 1” from last time, I have a simple thought that’s been surfacing to my conscience these past few days that may wrap things up pretty well. For now.
I’ve been wondering lately why I keep dragging out the past, like it’s something I want to remember or have everyone know about. There are a lot of things I’d rather keep buried in the depths of oblivion. But things don’t seem to stay hidden for as long as I’d like. Especially as I journey through knowing my self and knowing God.
A couple of years ago while I was hashing out a lot of life issues, I had some heart-wrenching conversations with close friends about some of the pain I experienced as a child. I remember being told numerous times not to let my past define who I am now. I know they were saying that so that I don’t become crippled by my past and I took the statement to heart at that time. But I’m not so sure I agree with it fully anymore. What I’m slowly discovering is that those times that I prefer never to experience again, those times that made me absolutely broken are the experiences that have helped to expand my heart for others. And that’s something I simply cannot acquire just by will or choice.
For instance, since I’ve been talking about material wealth lately, had I not experienced some kind of poverty and all of the disadvantages that come along with that in my past, I’m not so sure that I would have a heart for the poor now. Maybe I would have thought about it because Jesus commands me to, but my heart wouldn’t necessarily break for them.
If I did not have the experience of feeling lonely throughout high school, I’m not so sure my heart would be drawn to people who seem to be lonely now.
If I didn’t go through the first 10 years of my Christian life as a legalistic pharisee, I’m not sure if I would really embrace the grace of God or be able to extend grace to others as I do now.
There are other examples I can mention here, things much more difficult and painful to recall. But my main point is, in a very strange and mysterious way,
The experiences that cause us to be broken are the very things that give us compassion.
It’s strange how it works that way. And of course, it doesn’t always have to be that way; I know people who have an incredible amount of compassion and haven’t gone through such brokenness in their own lives. But the choice remains ours.
Are you going to run away from your brokenness, or —
Will you allow your brokenness to serve as an instrument of compassion?