My surrender began with shame.
Maybe I was suddenly struck with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but one winter afternoon I wrote out everything I hated about myself. I felt compelled to do it. My personality flaws. My bad habits. My chronic anger and fatigue. The mean and careless things I said. Some highlights:
- short temper
- lack of self-control (words, food, drink, money)
- desire for control
- over sensitive senses
- self-imposed pressure
- given in to pressures of the world
About my parenting I journaled: “I don’t want to be like this. I wish I was different. I bring fear and anxiety into my home. I model hopelessness. I’m not consistent with nurture and grace. I yell 363 days a year. I don’t diffuse the bombs the world puts in their backpacks. I make C4 for breakfast.”
I imagined a hidden camera had been in my house and I confessed to everything crappy thing I said, did, thought, and hoped for. I did it like my life depended on it. Words and exclamation points of confession all over the page, no margins, no lines.
While I’m consistently authentic and open about my failings, some stuff is best left in the dark. Shaking and heart pounding I let all that was ugly in me come out into the light. It was horrifying. I felt like the criminal on all the police shows I watch with Chris. I confessed in my own handwriting, the room sour with guilt.
I wrote in all capital letters: DEAR JESUS CHANGE ME! HELP ME! SAVE ME!
The Bible is full of screw-ups. Murder, rape, betrayal, incest, robbery, lies. Everything that’s ever been on a soap opera happened in the Bible first.
David is the beloved charismatic rock star of the Bible. Like Bono, Beckham, and Alexander the Great all in one. But he cheated, slept with someone else’s wife, got her pregnant, and had her husband killed. He admitted all this and wrote a public confession.
Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
It seems melodramatic to use words like evil, wrong, death sentence, and trash. But I felt all that. I remembered the hurt looks in my kids’ and husband’s eyes. The deep stomach twist of regret. The desperate longing to rewind and erase.
I saw myself in a medieval battlefield, dead bodies and broken weapons all around. I’m gashed and dirty and lopsided, still swinging a heavy sword, barely standing in the wisps of smoke. A massive creature towers over me, black and metal. I know I’m outmatched. Terrified I slowly drop my sword, knowing I will be taken captive, violated, and eventually destroyed.
But somehow the huge creature removes some helmet and IT’S JESUS. It’s not my Destroyer but my Rescuer. He looks in my eyes, picks me up, and carries me to his own safe home. There I heal and am whole.
I say, “I thought you wanted to kill me.”
He says, “No, I wanted to save you.”
And all at once my image of God crumbles and rebuilds itself. Again.
I will be unfolding this story and the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October.
Yesterday’s story of Surrender: January 28th
To read more about our shared spiritual journey and questions, you can read here: Soul
You are loved.
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015.