Falling Apart at the Feet of God
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)
Having grown up with a biological dad who had almost nothing to do with me and two ex-step-dads who I lost contact with eventually (one after a really, REALLY messy divorce) and a current step-dad who . . . well, I am just too old for a new dad . . . I have never really felt like I belonged to a dad, like I really mattered to one.
I grew up always feeling like the outsider, a step-child who didn’t quite fit in or have a place to belong. I never felt like I could be myself with a dad, like I was fully loved for who I was. It was always just a matter of time before they left.
And this caused a terrible fear of abandonment and a fear of being a burden to anyone. It caused me to lean only on myself and to polish up my outside so that I earned love and approval and acceptance. It caused me to always keep my distance, to keep walls up around my heart to protect it from being vulnerable, being hurt. It caused me to always feel like I was on the outside, looking in.
And I didn’t know that I was doing this with God, too, until a series of trials crushed my confidence in myself and taught me that I was not as strong and capable as I thought I was. I learned that I couldn’t do it all on my own, like I was used to doing. I learned that I really needed God. Not just wanted Him, but needed Him. Desperately needed Him.
I wasn’t used to needing a father. I tried not to need a father. Fathers let you down.
But those trials made me realize that my polished exterior and my chipper attitude and my "I can do it" spirit wasn't enough. And hiding my doubts and fears from God - acting like "I can do it all and do it with a godly, agreeable attitude" - wasn't helping my relationship with Him.
It was hurting it. Because it kept me from trusting Him enough to fall fully on Him. It caused me to keep Him an arm’s length away from the broken, hurting parts of my heart. It made me rely on myself and not on Him.
All along, I guess I was trying to please Him, to make Him happy with me so that I didn’t offend Him or earn His wrath or disapproval. I just wasn’t used to being real with a dad. I wasn’t used to knowing that I was accepted no matter what and that I was loved just because I was theirs. I had to earn my way, my worth. And part of that was being pleasing, being polished and agreeable.
But the various trials that I went through broke me inside. My heart and my spirit were breaking into small pieces and I couldn’t keep it together. I couldn’t wear that polished “good Christian” mask anymore. It became too heavy to carry around. I was so exhausted and broken and weak that I had to put it down. I was so tired of trying so hard that I couldn’t even stand on my own anymore. All I could do was fall down in despair at the feet of God. All I could do was say, “I can’t do it, God. I am tired. So tired. I am afraid. I am failing. I have no idea what to do. And I need You. I just need You to hold me for awhile because I can’t even stand anymore.”
And that was new to me. To fall on Him completely, in utter weakness. And it was scary to admit to the brokenness inside, the pain and fears and doubts. But I had exhausted myself trying every other way to manage on my own.
And through that, I learned that God doesn’t want my pleasing efforts and polished front. He doesn’t want to see that “good Christian” mask. He wants me to be real with Him. He wants to see the real me. He wants me to lay my heart open before Him, naked and vulnerable. To fall on Him and say, “I can’t do it. I need You.”
It’s okay to fall apart in front of the One who can put you back together.
It’s okay to bring your chains to the One with the key to free you.
It’s okay to be weak when you are leaning on the One who is strong.
And it’s okay to not have all the answers when you know the One who does.
He wants to be let into all areas of our hearts and lives and pasts. He wants to be able to come in and heal them. He wants to heal the heart wounds, the fears, and the doubts with His love and truth.
But that can’t happen when we lock them in a little, protected room in our hearts with strong walls meant to keep everyone out, even Him. Meant to protect us from being vulnerable and risking getting hurt again.
Through the pain, I have learned to break down those walls, to let God in, to be real with Him. (Maybe not with others, but at least with Him.) I think that it’s okay that we have fears and doubts, as long as we bring them to Him honestly and vulnerably. We need to live transparently with Him if He is going to be able to heal us and help us on our journey.
There is a truth that you need to know: You cannot make God love you any more than He already does . . . and nothing you do can make Him love you any less. So you do not need to hide all the bad parts of yourself and put on some “good Christian” mask. You don’t need to polish yourself up to make Him love you more or care more about you.
He doesn’t want your “good Christian performance.” He wants your heart. He wants a genuine relationship with you. He wants to heal the broken parts. But this cannot happen if we lock them deep into our hearts so that no one – not even God – can touch them.
If you want an authentic, genuine relationship with Him, you need to be authentic and genuine with Him. You need to come before Him humbly and take off the mask and present your real self to Him. He can handle the honesty, the ugly and broken and faulty parts of you.
But what He does not want is distance between your heart and His. Jesus died to bridge the gap between us and Him so that there would be no distance, so that we could freely and humbly enter into His throne-room and fall into His arms and let His love complete us.
Hiding the bad parts won’t make Him love you more because He loves you as much as He ever could . . . as you are . . . right now. It will only bring distance and heartache! So get rid of the mask and get real with Him. It is too exhausting and discouraging to keep that mask on anyway! And we were never meant to wear it!
God doesn’t want our good performance. He wants our honest hearts.
He doesn’t want pretty and polished and proper. He wants real and ugly and raw.
He doesn’t want us to just want Him. He wants us to need Him and to know that it’s okay that we need Him, that we can’t do it on our own.
He doesn’t want us to try to earn His approval, love, forgiveness, grace or mercy. He just wants us to accept the approval, love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy that He already offers freely to us.
And the only way this can happen is to get humble and get real with Him! I was a Christian for over two decades before I learned to do this, before I learned to take off the “good Christian mask” and vulnerably open my heart to Him and get real and fall on Him in exhaustion and let Him hold me.
This might be one of the hardest parts of the Christian journey! And the process of getting real with Him and with yourself really does hurt. But there is so much healing and love and peace on the other side. So don’t fear Him. Don’t fear being real with Him. It might hurt, but it will be worth it!
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
“Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. . . . Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call on you. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.” (Psalm 86:1-6)
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
(reposted from Love, Heal Me)