Jan Karon, in her novel Out to Caanan, tells of a hurricane that hit the small town of Mitford.
“At the edge of the village, Old Man Mueller sat in his kitchen, trying to repair the mantel clock his wife asked him to fix several years before her death. He happened to glance out the window in time to see his ancient barn collapse to the ground. He noted that it swayed slightly before it fell, and when it fell, it went fast. ‘Hot ding!’ he muttered aloud, glad to be spared the aggravation of taking it down himself. ‘Now,’ he said to the furious roar outside, ‘if you’d stack th’ boards I’d be much obliged.'”
A few days ago, someone I counted a friend said some unkind and severe criticisms about me and to me. You see, I have this “thing” this NEED for people to like me. So much of the time, my need to please and my inability to say “no” gets me an overloaded schedule and an overburdened heart. Pair this with my unrealistic expectations of perfection and I’ve got a formula for a pretty severe emotional thunderstorm.
Situations like these tend to bring out those old thoughts, reopen old emotional wounds for me. “You’ll never be good enough.” “No matter how hard you try, it never works, so why keep going?” Sound familiar to anyone? I hope not, but just in case it does, here’s what has occurred in my heart:
I have a forever Friend. His name is Jesus. He’s been there since the beginning, seen it all, knows the deepest darkest. He has invited me to hide under His wings, in His shadow, inside His fortress. From there, He can tell me what is true. He can gently and lovingly show me pieces of myself that need repair work. He can remind me how steady and sure His love is for me, and that no matter what anyone thinks of me, He and I know who I am. It’s like He and I can sit in the kitchen like Old Man Mueller, watching the storm’s damaging attempts outside, and be able to appreciate and smile at the good brought about by challenges and difficulties in life.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that this realization has come after my husband got to witness not one, but two emotional fall-aparts. He got to hear plenty of the old disgusting ideas that seep like infection out of my old emotional wounds before I’ve finally decided to take this situation to the “kitchen table” with Jesus. Sometimes running to God isn’t always my first reaction. Sometimes it’s my last resort, but it ALWAYS is the right solution.
Yeah, so maybe I had a little hurricane come through. Maybe it knocked over a thing or two for me. But I know who I am. I’ve examined my heart and it’s right with the One who matters. So thanks, little storm. And if you’d stack th’ boards I’d be much obliged.