Beauty Often Hides {For the Wrestling, Searching and Struggling Ones}

I don’t have a bow big enough.

People say they want a space where it’s okay to wrestle, and search, and struggle. A place where they can be safe to grow. But their actions say they just want life to get wrapped up pretty with a glittery bow on top.

The wrestling, the searching, the struggle feels too much like failing. Who wants to work so hard just to fail?

Take myself for example: I’ve wrestling, searching, and struggling. I resigned from ministry recently–call it burn out, call it getting burned, call it whatever you want, but it feels like someone has dunked in paint thinner everything I believed about my calling, the church, and how God’s people live together in His new and still coming kingdom. This isn’t bad. I know it doesn’t look pretty–I’ve got peeling, bubbles, and crackles. Yet as everything of the old is being stripped away, I find there is beauty being revealed. You might not see it. But I do. I beg you, please don’t try to wrap it up and put a bow on it.

Something tells me that I’m not the only one who is wrestling, searching, and struggling. If that’s you, do you feel like there’s space for that? Do you feel like the people in your life will give you grace for your growing pains or will they rush to judgment and/or clean up? Please don’t shrink back from the honesty of wrestling, searching, and struggling. It’s okay that it’s not pretty. Pretty can be faked. Beauty often hides beneath the surface and it takes time and practice before the stripping off of the old can be embraced as a revelation of the new. Some may choose to look at the peeling, bubbling, and crackling. It’s their loss.

Don’t be tempted to trade the beauty for what’s inside and buried deep for the just the mere pretty wrapping and bow. Keep wrestling, searching, and struggling honesty. I, for one, will not put a bow on it. Even if I tried, I know I don’t have a bow big enough to conceal the beauty of the resurrected Christ who is being revealed in you. It’s not failing. It’s your unveiling–all that is not of Christ is dying to make room for the life He’s living in you. You might not see Him yet. But I do.

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” ~Colossians 3:3-4

10 thoughts on “Beauty Often Hides {For the Wrestling, Searching and Struggling Ones}

  1. Sounds like we have alot in common. I still do mission work several times a year but about two years ago I also resigned from ministry and I can really relate to your statement, “but it feels like someone has dunked in paint thinner everything I believed about my calling, the church, and how God’s people live together in His new and still coming kingdom.” This is where I’m at. I don’t know what I believe about alot of things anymore. Many of my long held “answers” fell apart before my eyes so I’m not certain where to go from here. It’s difficult because most of the people around me are tired of my being so “unfinished”. They would like for me to be done, to be healed, to have all the answers, to cleanly move onto the next stage of life – and to quit asking questions, to quit wondering, to quit wrestling, to quit being so uncomfortable to be around. I wish I could but I don’t know how. So I am unsettled.

    • Jan, I am sorry. I know all too well of which you speak. I’m thankful you shared this…I don’t feel so alone. God is not tired of you (and me) being unfinished. He is patient with His work. Now for the grace for us to be patient too.

  2. Great post Brenda. So well put too. A friend of mine and I have a theory that there is no such thing as an agnostic or an athiest. Only people who have been burned by the church. My journey has taken me through some pretty tough stuff, and I admit, some self-inflicted. Isn’t it a blessing that Jesus doesn’t ask us how we got to the point we find ourselves, he only offers a hand to help us back to our feet! God Bless!

    • Mike, so well put–I have had to reach many times for that hand to help me back up on my feet. I agree with you that there are many–grievously far too many–that have been burned by ‘church.’ I just keep reminding myself, the Bridegroom doesn’t burn us. He may burn away the things in our lives that aren’t of Him…but He never burns us. I pray you find His continued comfort in the midst of the “tough stuff.”

      • As I was going through a divorce as well as losing a job I loved I felt devastated, humiliated, ashamed and embarrassed. Sad to say many of my ‘church’ friends avoided me like the plague. It was 3 or 4 close friends who stood by me and made the difference. That lesson taught me that I may not be able to change the world, but I may be able to help change one life at a time. Thanks for your friendship!

  3. You are so so SO not the only one wrestling with all this…

    Sadly, ‘fake’ can be much simpler and less painful for everyone. Especially those around us. I’m holding out for the “beauty too big for the bow!” LOVE that thought!!

    • Jenn, The ‘fake’ is such a conundrum. I agree it often seems what others want from us…but the honesty may be what the Lord is requiring of us. There is a beautiful bow coming your way, dear friend. Let’s pray for each other on this…because it does make it so much more comforting to know that one is not alone in the wrestling.

  4. Pingback: Self-Inflicted Wounds {When Church Hurts} | Once Upon a Truth

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