Thursday, March 2, 2017

Brokenness, Llamas, and One Long February

This past weekend I had one of the most fun experiences of my life. 

I participated in the Cotopaxi Questival in Atlanta ( A 24 hour scavenger hunt all over the city and state. It was wild. We did things from eating worms, to choreographed dances in public, talking to strangers about llamas on an escalator, hunting Atlanta landmarks, and running into a super cold lake. Cotopaxi is an outdoor gear company who loves llamas and has a bend towards doing social good. And they're also pretty neat. 

It was just awesome. Any of the photos or videos you see in this blog came from this weekend.

Team Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies

But more than just being a lot of fun it was very timely. It was the adventure-style release valve I needed. Because, you see, February has been a very long month.

Through various means the Lord has been taking me through a lot of brokenness lately. This past month being when a lot of it came to its peak. All sorts of things came up in my life, from difficult events to all kinds of problems. Just about every issue, even car issues, cropped up this month. Perhaps the biggest problem with this is that I wasn’t aware what the Lord was doing.

So I dealt with each individual thing the way I always do. I plowed through it at top speed. Or at least whatever top speed was for each scenario. I tried to crash through it. Find the finish line. Get it over with. Pain, sadness, difficulty; I crashed through them all. My thinking being that the sooner I get through it, at whatever means necessary, the sooner it’s done. No matter how mangled I am on the other end.

And let me tell you, I was mangled. More accurately, am mangled.

So, I would say this is obvious but it clearly wasn’t, this is not sustainable. Nor is it any way to live. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are times when it’s necessary to charge into or out of things. But there are also times, I’d say maybe more times in my case, where the Lord is bringing you somewhere to work on you. To have you sit there for a minute. And as humanity is known to do, we often go down swinging and stubborn.

This is called brokenness. When the Lord brings you somewhere to refine you. Break you down. Tear down the things that are old and don’t belong so He can build something new on top of it.

He’s been breaking me down for a while now, I guess. Over a few months. I thought I was just hitting rough patches, when in actuality I had been run off the road. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t as friendly. I wasn’t as open. I surely wasn’t as happy. But more than that, I lost some of my fire. In not dealing with things the way the Lord intended, I was just diminishing myself and affecting the people I love around me more than I knew.

To be frank, it’s been kinda awful.

It wasn’t until this last week that He brought the hammer down, though. You see, He’s been breaking things off for the last few months. But there comes a certain point when He just lands the final blow. And the final blow felt like getting crushed by a car WHILE getting struck by lightning. Not an experience I suggest going after just for fun.

But it brought to my knees, and it brought me to Him. And He was waiting for me. We’ve been talking about a lot lately. Words like surrender and trust. Perseverance and belief. Tough words. Words with a lot of weight behind them.

So I’m sitting here. Broken. Beat up. But still moving. Not dead yet. I’ve been broken and now He’s looking to reform me into someone better. Someone more like Him.

Which is why I needed a 24 hour scavenger hunt to act a fool and have fun. We wanted to be competitive, but also just enjoy the experience. For me it was an opportunity to exhale, be in great company with my friends, and run around like an idiot. It was perfect. 

And guess what? Out of 507 teams, the first time they've ever done this in Atlanta, we took first place. We won the whole deal. Which let me tell you, is shocking. 

I’m sure there’s a spiritual lesson in there somewhere. But to be honest, I’m too exhausted to figure it out. 

So I guess if you're broken, or being broken, hold on. He's got you where He wants you. He's working. You'll look back and understand if you don't right now. You're gonna make it. I know I am. 

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been mulling over.