“Though I recommend it to no one–and I do not need to, for it arrives unbidden into many lives–depression compelled me to find the river of life hidden beneath the ice.” Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
Nobody comes to the end of one’s self, in a rush. Instead we come sliding in sideways, breathless and wide-eyed. We come here because we are un-done and we are done with our old life. We come because we’re at the wit’s end and finally, sweetly, we have surrendered.
This is not for the faint of heart. Although we once imagined many words, “surrender” was never one we admired. It was considered weak, besides, have you seen this world we live in? Only the strong survive out here. We go around showing how ripped we are under our thin skinned-selves and flaunt our six-pack ab’s that we’ve built by muscling our life around in our own strength.
But when we get sick enough in our hearts, then we come. On hands or knees, we’ve traded our pride for desperation. Spiritual cancer ate at our souls.
Be it by choice, consequences, walking away, or just plain outright rebellion, our prodigal self, if fortunate, discovers itself wallowing among the pigs. Snapped out of our downward spiral, we hit the bottom. We remembered the house we ran from when still high on our inheritance called, life. And in life? We gave it a good hard run, did we not?
But we thought ourselves as sole-controllers of our own universes. At times, our confidence shot sky-high and other times, plummeted down. If we charted our internal thought life with a graph, it’d look like a roller coaster of lines, up, up, up, and then plunging into depths, only to go back up and then down again.
Until that is, we were burned once for all. Our life, as we knew it, went up in smoke. Then we came to God. Then we gave up. Unfortunately, this is the way some of us had to come.
At least, that’s how it happened for me, quickly and slowly, all at once. To the pit, to the very depths of who I was and who I was not. I left new age mumbo-jumbo, although I didn’t know it was called that, at the time. I left it all, for Jesus.
That’s how it begins–surrendering, no matter if it’s the first time or the third. But by God, we hope we learn faster rather than slower.
“God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death.” AW Tozer, Man: The Dwelling Place of God
We begin again. We relinquish control. We quit trying to make the world go our way at all costs, despite our painful experiences. Instead, we hold out our hands, palms up, and we allow ourselves a good fall. We tell God, “Take it. Take everything I have.” And fear is right there beside us the whole time.
But also beside us, is relief.