“Why has Christ-centered, spiritual community been so rare to many of our journeys? I think it has something to do with the requirement of brokenness. We would much rather be impressively intact than broken . . .” Randy Hemphill
In church we sit with smiles on our faces. During the welcome time we shake hands with those around us with smiles on our faces. We sing hymns and praise songs with smiles on our faces. We listen to the message with smiles on our faces. During prayer time we get a reprieve, time to relax and let the smiles slip. No one is looking after all! During the invitation we nod and smile. This is really good stuff – God must be speaking to someone. It certainly can’t be me! I’m smiling.
I’m fine . . .
Why is it, in church of all places, we have this great need to be fine? I sat in church many times wanting to weep. Needing to weep. But didn’t because I was afraid of what someone might think. Sitting in the presence of the Great Physician only to tell him, “I’m fine”. It became so uncomfortable for me that I couldn’t go into the sanctuary – this sacred place, this safe haven. As soon as I hit the door the urge to weep was overwhelming. And I’ve never been a ‘pretty cryer’. This weeping would have been a loud, snot inducing, mascara wrecking, ugly mess! So I kept smiling.
I was fine . . .
I didn’t want to appear broken. No. I didn’t want anyone to know I was broken. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t fine. I had built some pretty impressive walls with all those smiles. Smiles that kept me alone, afraid, unloved, unaccepted, and imprisoned by my own self loathing. And most importantly, kept everyone else out. With all of this ugliness going on in my life I didn’t need to worry about what anyone else thought! None of it mattered because I was still smiling.
I was fine . . .
In my smug ‘fineness’ I missed an opportunity to reach out to someone who needed to know it was ok to be broken. Sitting in church one Wednesday night I noticed a woman sitting a few rows behind me. Tears were falling quietly down her face. I knew God was telling me to go and put my arms around her but I didn’t. I kept looking. He kept saying “go”. I just kept looking. How many opportunities did I miss to show love to someone because I was too afraid to embrace someone’s brokenness? Because I didn’t want to admit that I too am broken. To see my own ugliness in someone elses tears. Hiding behind a facade of pride and self righteousness. And a big, fat, fake smile.
I’m fine . . . are you?
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”