Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crashing Into Walls

We are broken.

I am broken. Finding God seems to be about finding myself, my brokenness, and letting it go, letting it fall into the tender, healing hands of our Father. I think this would be impossible to do alone. 

Here in Hollywood, I encounter the brokenness of others nearly every day. In the face of it all, it can be much too easy to deny my own. I often tell myself that knowing I will have never totally dealt with all of the emotional and spiritual damage stemming from the accident is comforting because, I say, I will never grow complacent in fleshing out these issues and I will find solace in knowing that success is not found in finishing but in merely working.

Still, despite this, I am surprised when I realize how obviously intertwined my behaviors are with some new, undiscovered pain. I am still surprised when I am not done. Even more interesting is how I stumble across some part of my brokenness and immediately attribute it to the fire only to discover that it was there the whole time. This is where I am now.

Like I said, I meet brokenness head-on in others everyday. I see it in our clients on the street and in the kids that come to our house. It's nearly impossible for me to look at one of our kids  and tell him to be himself, to strip away the facade and expose who he is and who he wants to be (more acutely summarized as "Stop frontin' man") without examining myself and the ways I am hiding who I am from the world and the ones I love out of fear or shame.

For the past few weeks,
Ecclesia, the church I attend in Hollywood, has been doing a sermon series entitled Skin: The Body Matters. Primarily this series has dealt with sexual sins and has really been digging into the reasons that we, as humans, look for physical intimacy in and out of the marriage covenant as a replacement for emotional intimacy and as a replacement for our relationship with God. Beyond this, what this series has been speaking to me is how I let my own perceived deficiencies affect my relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Academically, I understand that God loves me in all of my unworthiness. Living this out, as you might be aware, is much more difficult. I think that we all feel deficient, not just when standing in front of God but in many of our relationships, and that we all spend far too much time working to hide these deficiencies instead of handing them completely over to the One.

My experiences here in Hollywood have forced me to confront these issues but also provide a safe and inspiring space to meet them. Not only do I meet the man on the street who refuses to come in to shelter because, this month, his check will come just like it was supposed to come the month before and the month before that; but I get to help the 70 year old move his belongings from transitional housing to his new, permanent apartment or I get to see the first few days a young man spends in shelter and the next week as he's visiting agencies by himself to get the help he wants. Not only do I get to be frustrated with a kid when he throws a tantrum or gets caught tagging a neighborhood wall, but I get to see these same kids in sweet moments of responsibility and I get to see them light up when they understand something they never quite understood before. I get to see the best and the worst, and this blessing helps me see it in myself, however painful or shocking it might be.

But, we are lucky. We have a God that loves us despite our errs and, because of Him, a family of faith to hold us up.


Give thanks for my brother and his recent acceptance to both the University of Kentucky and the venerable North Carolina State University! Otherwise, continue prayer for the community house, specifically for guidance as we try new things and for the help of outside volunteers. Lastly, pray for my discernment as I continue in the process of figuring out what's after this.

When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God. God called to the Man: "Where are you?" He said, "I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid." God said, "Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?" ...God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them.-
Genesis 3:8-11, 21

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