I can do everything through Him
who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
My original plan for my newest monologue was a 10-minute stand-up comedy routine about the “joys” of being Anxiety Girl.
Oh, how I wanted to make the audience laugh.
For my Sanguine heart, there is nothing like the adrenaline rush of an audience in stitches!
But each time I sat down to write, memories of losses filled my pages.
Frustrated, I decided to “get the sad stuff out” so I could finally start with Anxiety Girl.
Except the “sad stuff” kept beckoning me back. To places I’ve been afraid to go, for decades.
Since standing up to Perfectionism back in May, I’m intentionally living the truth that nothing really is worse than failure. Nothing really is worse than making mistakes.
So despite my craving for audience laughter, I chose to follow where the Holy Spirit was so clearly leading my scared scarred heart.
After decades of nothing, we walked together toward that body of water called Grief.
I’ve Waded Here Before
Oh, I’ve “dabbled” in grief.
- Spent time in counselors’ offices.
- Read books.
- Attended groups.
- Agreed that “the only way out is through.”
And I’ve been frustrated with my lack of progress…my stuck-ness.
All that money. All that time. All those books.
I’m tired of still having so many issues. I’m embarrassed that I still have so many issues. I’m bored of still having so many issues!
Diving All the Way In
As I wrote and practiced, I realized there is a world of difference between wading a little way into grief on my own and diving in all the way with my Life Guard.
Mucking around on my own has just made mud. And mud sticks and dries, leaving me to wonder
Why bother digging up all this old dirt?
So I’ve always gotten out quickly, dusted myself off, and made myself presentable again.
After all, who wants to hang out with someone who’s all grungy from wallowing in the shallows of self-pity?
But this was different.
As I wrote…
- my sorrow at leaving the back yard gate open when I was 12
- my horror at hearing car tires screech at midnight and Nikki’s yelp of pain cut short
- my loneliness at losing my big furry giver of unconditional love
- my guilt at being the one whose forgetfulness caused his needless death
- many more memories of loss
…dams began to burst.
Not the romantic glisten-y kind of weeping.
The messy, beet-red nose kind sobbing that empties an entire box of Kleenex.
A True Cleansing
What’s the point of doing this? I asked myself.
The question almost stopped me. At least with my first monologue, I knew my purpose.
With this one, I was going on blind faith.
- Maybe the point is trust.
- Surrendering my need to know the outcome.
- Focusing on obedience.
I started practicing my words aloud–words I knew I would share with an audience of strangers–and the burst dams became an ocean.
And it was time
- to do more than wade
- to dive all the way in
- through my fears
- through cleansing tears
into an embrace of Grace
My Weakness, His Strength
The day of the performance came, and with it a terrifying realization:
I need to do this without my script.
I’ve never spoken or performed without a detailed word-for-word script within reach.
I always panic and forget; I need my script for security!
- So I do it right.
- So I don’t fail.
- So I don’t make mistakes!
- That rule is broken.
- Time to trust.
- Time to dive all the way in.
I’ve never felt so completely in the moment as I did during those ten minutes. I was neither kicking myself for a mistake I’d just made nor frantically trying to be sure I spoke my next lines just right.
I simply shared as I’d prepared.
I was fully present to give and receive a reciprocal gift.
Stoic “Strength” vs. Willing Weakness
Afterward, I received this gracious Facebook message from an audience member:
“I was thinking about how vulnerable you allowed yourself to be. How that made an instant connection with the audience as we saw our own struggles in yours.”
And I am struck by the irony.
Here I’ve spent decades running from grief because I’ve been terrified to experience the pain. I’ve waded, dabbled, and then dashed for so-called safety.
Yet in my choice to be vulnerable — deep in my decision to open myself to pain — is where I’m finding God waiting for me with an abundance of strength.
Not in the shallows, mucking around in the mud of self-pity.
But deep in the sounds of grief.
My Weakness, His Strength for the Holidays
I don’t know what issues arise for you during the holidays.
Perhaps, like me, you’ll struggle with un-grieved losses.
Perhaps you’ll experience fresh waves of pain for losses well-grieved.
Perhaps the weakness that blind-sides you — that tempts you to wade in ankle-deep, dabble a bit, and muck around on your own — will be something entirely different.
I don’t know what it will be for you. But I do know that for each one of us, this simple reminder is always true:
Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
We are weak but He is strong!
(Part 2 tomorrow)
- How have you learned to grieve (or have you)?
- For what will you need special strength this holiday season?
- Anything else on your heart!
Start Your Holiday Ready Heart Journey Here:
- How It Works (via Bullet Points & Videos!)
- Day 1: LOVED (+ 2 Vital Questions to Ask NOW)
- Day 2: CHOSEN – Making Right Holiday Choices
- Day 3: COMPLETE (+ 5 Gift-Giving Questions)
- Day 4: PURE (+ Goodbye, Ghosts of Christmas Past)
- Day 5: RIGHTEOUS (+ Rituals vs. Relationships)
- Day 6: FORGIVEN (+ The Story I Choose to Tell)
- Day 7: FREE (+ 14+ Ways to Enjoy “Free” Holy-Days!)
- Day 8: VICTORIOUS (+ Heading Off Holiday Hurts)
- Day 9: NEW (+ The Power to Get or to Give?)
- Day 10: CONFIDENT (+ 10 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas)
- Day 11: MASTERPIECE (+ Being Content With What I DO Have)
- Day 12: INSEPARABLE (+ Missing Loved Ones at the Holidays)
- Day 13: DELIVERED (+ Why the Holidays Can Overwhelm)
- Day 14: TRUST (+ How Each PURSE-onality Can Get Day Overwhelmed)
- Day 15: PATIENT (+ Practicing Now for Patience Then)
- Day 16: NO RECORD (+ How to Have Grudge-Free Holidays)
- Day 17: TRUTH (Each PURSE-onality’s Take on Truth)
- Day 18: PERSEVERE (+2 Cures for Procrastination)
- Day 19: BLESS (Your Feelings Can Help You Choose)
- Day 20: BUILDING (20+ Ways to Build with Words)
- Day 21: HOLD (Hold Back, Let Go, and Step Up)
- Day 22: FRUIT (I Didn’t Think…I Was a People-Pleaser!)
- Day 23: CLEANSE (A Holiday-Ready Home)
- Day 24: REJOICE (We Share the Same Heart Rate)
- Day 25: NEAR (“Everything Else” or Emmanuel?)
- Day 26: THANKSGIVING (5 Ideas for Daily Thanks-Living)
- Day 27: GUARD (How Obedience Brings Peace)
- Day 28: CONTENT (My Heart’s Contents Control My Contentment)