When I was younger, I used to reach the end of my rope, despair, distress, collapse, can’t take it anymore, give up hope, snap, fall apart, and crumble. Little did I know at the time, that is actually very wise and healthy. Naturally I didn’t see it that way, I perceived it as yet another epic fail on my part.
The thing is, another word for “crumbling” is actually surrender. A big part of faith is learning to let go and let God. When we can surrender all, submit to Him, things just have a way of working themselves out.
I can laugh at my younger self for not seeing it, for being a bit blind, short-sighted, but I would go right to God in complete despair, and usually anger and frustration and say, that’s it, I quit, you fix it or let it all fall apart. Makes no difference to me, I’m done.
And the Lord would just say, Finally! What took you so long?
I would of course, collapse over a series of trifles. Yes, complete trifles, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. Car won’t start, kids painted the carpet with nail polish, power bill bounced. Little did I know that crumbling, falling apart, collapsing at the foot of a King, having a complete breakdown, was actually preparing me for those times when it wasn’t going to be about trifles at all.
Crumbling is power, crumbling is strength, crumbling is perseverance. When we are weak, He is strong. When we can let go, God can take over.
I mention this because I bumped into a couple of girls doing just what I had once done, beating themselves up for falling apart, telling one another to be strong, and I so wanted to say, No! Be weak! Collapse early and often! Go to the foot of the King in complete hysterics, regularly! But of course that all sounds rather cray-cray in today’s world.
What kind of a woman runs about trying to tell her sisters to embrace their weakness, to glorify in their softness, to nourish complete dependence on the Lord?
“Strength through weakness,” sounds like something out of a George Orwell novel. It just flies in the face of today’s culture of self-esteem, of strong, empowered women who can do anything. I feel like a bit of a wet blanket saying, no you can’t! Don’t be ridiculous! Don’t be deceived. The world will just crush you. You will wind up looking like piece of road pizza or a Flat Stanley. The world will take you down and take you out. You will be smooshed, you will be like a noodle going through a pasta machine.
In the name of all that is good and golden, do not even try to lean into your own strength! I’m chuckling here because I come from a time where that wisdom was still known or at least whispered somewhere in the shadows. Today everybody must be a winner, women especially, almost possessing super human strength. Sometimes in the churchian world we’re also “supposed to be” blessed, fine, rejoicing in the struggle, and looking good while doing it, too!
I’d like to pause and thank the Lord for always making sure I’m looking good in the midst of the hurricane, because that part is totally true! Mostly true. Just kidding. My favorite is when my hair has been sticking straight up and the sweater I snatched out of the dryer unbeknown to me, has a pair of undies stuck to the back of it.
A bit funny, but humility is also strength, because pride will just wear you down.
So, 3 cheers for the practice of surrender, of falling apart, of crumbling. Women especially, have incredible resilience, endurance, in part because we are more flexible, because we can bend like the willow tree when storms hit. Willows seldom ever break in the wind, and if they do they just reroot themselves before you can even get out there to pick the darn branches up.
To “crumble” is actually to just hold your hands up like the branches of a willow tree and to surrender all to the wind. It is not an epic fail at all, it is our design. Often we have to come undone in order for Him to come inside.
It’s actually the Apostle Paul who really celebrates this truth, who teaches us, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”