A Cop Out? Perhaps

Maybe this post is a cop out, an excuse for an update even though the majority of these words will not be my own. That being said, I don’t feel the need to apologize for it.

A while back I read a book by Shauna Niequist called Bittersweet. It explained itself as a book about how to deal with change, which was something I was very much in need of at that point. I went into it foolishly, thinking somehow this book would provide me with all the answers I was looking for of how to deal with change. That did not happen. There were, however, some really great sections that struck me. And so I share with you this one, taken from the chapter entitled Phoenix. (Which is pretty fabulous chapter name.)

“This is what I know: God can make something beautiful out of anything, out of darkness and trash and broken bones. He can shine light into even the blackest night, and he leaves glimpses of hope all around us. An oyster, a sliver of moon, one new bud on a black branch, a perfect tender shoot of asparagus, fighting up through the dirt for the spring sun. New life and beauty are all around us, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be seen.

It’s sloppy theology to think that all suffering is good for us, or that it’s a result of sin. All suffering can be used for good, over time, after mourning and healing, by God’s graciousness. But sometimes it’s just plain loss, not because you needed to grow, not because life or God or anything  is teaching you any kind of lesson.  The trick is knowing the difference between the two.

…And when we pay attention we grow, we become freer, more flexible, more faithful, more able to ask for help. We become less fearful, more able, more comfortable with the idea of life as a beautiful mess.

You want me to say that when you grow, finally, all the changes will stop, but they don’t. There will be another one, another opportunity to grow, to shed your skin, to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, to break out of your cocoon like a perfect new butterfly.

The clichés and the references to mythology and classic literature abound, because that’s what we’re all trying to do: we’re all trying to emerge new from the pain, beautiful after the brokenness, to live, in fact, that central image of Christianity: life after death.”

p.233-236, Bittersweet

I love it. I couldn’t say it better if I tried. Change and I are best enemies, and I like to think I have my life in control. Except I didn’t, I don’t, and I won’t. Life isn’t mine to control–it’s God’s. There will be brokenness and hurt and sadness and all sorts of messy things, but there’s beauty in all of that, if only we know how to look for it.

So this time, most of these words aren’t mine. But for tonight, that’s ok.

Til next time…


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