Monday, March 28, 2011

On Lent and Healing

I've been feeling broken lately.

Let me explain: Several years ago, I had some traumatic horseback riding experiences that changed the sport for me. Six years out of the saddle have only aggravated the fear. So when I brought Aiden Magee here in September, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I believe that fear is decidedly NOT of God, so it seemed like a worthwhile spiritual pursuit as well as a practical one. Only, it's been much harder than I imagined.

Don't get me wrong--I looove Aiden and have so much fun with him. But there's this alarming degree of anxiety that rises up in me when things aren't going 100% perfectly with him...and especially when I even try to imagine riding him out on the trails. It's alarming because I'm not used to feeling this way--I'm mostly an I-can-tackle-anything kind of girl. I wouldn't generally consider myself an anxious person. So this fear, this lack of peace in my life, is pretty foreign. It has made me think of the Jewish idea of shalom. The Hebrew word we often translate "peace," also equates "wholeness" in Jewish culture. So a lack of peace signifies something that is broken.

My riding PTSD of sorts started with riding incidents during a season of spiritual darkness in my life, so no doubt there is a connection there. But more importantly, I think my inability to conquer this obstacle has challenged my idea of myself as someone who's competent. I want to feel confident, together, and in control--but riding taps into a place where I feel insecure.

In our can-do Western mindset, we try to devise a means to fix ourselves. We don't want to be vulnerable, needy, broken. This is the downfall of all religion--even our American brand of easy-believism Christianity.

But the reality of walking with Christ is that we must acknowledge our need. Like the Buddhists and the Muslims, we'd like to think that we can get to Him on our own. Really, His grace is the means for even our pursuit of Him. I am learning this afresh as I face my own brokenness. The nerdy head knowledge of my Reformed education is making its home more and more in my heart as I grasp my humanity.

Yesterday's One-Year Bible passage from the New Testament was Luke 7:36-50, where the "sinful" woman hears that Jesus is in town and rushes to the home where he is eating. Overcome by his presence, she begins to weep. Then kneeling before him, she washes his feet with her tears and lavishes them with perfume from an alabaster jar. I haven't been able to get her out of my head.

Jesus' response to her vulnerability is profound: "Your faith has saved you; go in peace" (Luke 8:50). "Go with my shalom, dear one. Your faith in me has made whole the broken things in you. No more fear."

What does all of this have to do with Lent, you ask? Well, a lot, I think. If it weren't for our broken humanity, what need would we have for a Sovereign who put on flesh to conquer the things that have bound ours? By his wounds, his brokenness, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

In this season of fasting and prayers, I'm increasingly thankful for the practical living that makes it all real in my heart.

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known before God. And the peace (shalom!) of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7


Katherine Michael said...

I've been struggling to overcome worry and fear lately and this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks chelsea!

Chelsea said...

love how God does that! praying for you, friend :)