Life has a way of shaking us.
If you have somehow become complacent, life will jolt you into paying attention. If you’ve numbed out, life with pierce through your walls and force you to feel its presence.
For good or bad, life doesn’t allow you to stay settled long before it scoops you up like a toddler with a snow globe, shaking your world around.
Sometimes it’s a gentle swirl. A reminder that bigger things are happening outside of our bubble and we should pay attention. Other times, it’s a violent rattle. A thunderbolt to our core and a percussion to our status quo.
These are periods of awakening. Terms of transition.
They happen to all of us. What we do with them is our choice.
Sometimes we need these experiences to disquiet our peace and force us into a new thing.
We get comfortable in our bubbles. Even if what’s inside there is messy, we become used to our particular mess. Snug in our personal experiences-even the hard ones. We snow globe our lives so that even when we get shaken, it’s still contained into something (we think) we can manage.
But every now and then, life isn’t satisfied with our safe discomfort. At a certain point, the occasional subtle shakes of the same moving parts become ineffective and we need something bigger to move us.
Sometimes we need the bubble to shatter. Sometimes we have to get completely lost in order to be found.
This is the undoing.
The periods of our lives where after significant rocking and discomfort, we look around and realize absolutely nothing is the same. To act like it is the same would be foolish and trite. It would disqualify everything we just experienced and invalidate the purpose in it all.
But so often that’s what we do.
Life shakes us around, shatters our bubble; and then instead of undoing, we try to redo.
We scurry to the nearest broom and sweep up the broken pieces of that old comfortable life. We gather our mess. The same mess we’ve been trapped in for too long. We desperately scoop the pieces back together and try to redo what was undone, forgetting that maybe there’s a bigger purpose in the undoing.
That shattering is uncomfortable. It makes us uneasy.
We don’t like to be uncomfortable or uneasy. We don’t enjoy being unsettled. And so, even if it makes no sense to crawl back into that same bubble we just got busted out of (whether by choice or chance, or some combination of both), we think the only way back to safety is to redo.
Too often in life we lose ourselves. We lose our focus. Our voice. Our ambition. We lose our drive. Our purpose. And then we lose our footing. We slip; or worse, we coast. Sometimes we don’t even notice until life swirls us a bit and we have no choice but to pay attention.
For me, a gentle swirl isn’t always enough.
Sometimes I need the shatter.
I’ve been rocked and shaken for a long time. In fact, for over a decade of my life I have in many ways felt unsteady. Uncomfortable. Vibrated inside my walls. But I think at times, I simply learned how to navigate my life while it shook. I learned the movements and the patterns of the swirl and taught myself how to steady my feet inside an unsteady experience.
Eventually, that motion rocks me into numbness. The discomfort soothes me into a daze and I become listless.
So I need the shattering.
I need the undoing.
My chaotic, messy bubble has busted. As I stand amidst the splintered pieces of this illusionary snow globe I created over the years, rather than feeling devastated-although that was the initial sense-I realize I can breathe better.
Everything feels exposed. Nothing feels safe.
But everything feels real.
I can touch everything. My pain. My past. My hope. My future. It’s all surrounding me.
It exists without walls. Without borders and boundaries.
It feels untrustworthy.
I can feel myself wanting to crawl back to the familiar in many ways. To use the same blankets of protection. To settle the pieces back into their recognizable corners.
Those things didn’t work in the past, but they felt secure. It was a familiar kind of immobilization and I felt protected inside those walls.
The undoing of that is startling. It rocks everything. And it scares me to death.
But I am learning, as I have over and over in my life, that the only way out is through. That there is beauty in the undoing. And that the redoing is only hindering me from all that lies ahead.
So rather than sweeping up the pieces and trying to fit them back where they were before, God is calling me to a new thing. Beckoning me out of the broken bubble and pushing me out into the open space.
The layers of this life continue to deepen. I continue to find new truths and am learning to allow things to be what they are without needing to fit them back into something that makes sense. I am learning to allow the discomfort and sit amidst the jagged edges of the old until I am ready to step into the new.
I am learning to feel. To allow myself to feel.
And I am learning that even when those feelings are uncomfortable, distressing, ugly, and harsh, allowing them to exist within me refines my spirit into its truest form.
Life is messy. Even inside the bubbles we become accustomed to, it gets messy.
Sometimes the only way to a new thing is to allow the shattering. Welcome the undoing. And then rather than redoing, simply step away. Step away with all those feelings and all those experiences, and just DO. Don’t undo or redo. Just do the next, new thing.
The breaking apart of our old selves is painful. But I have learned that in order to be hurt in this life, we have to pay attention. We have to be present in order to experience our own pain. To experience our own life. So if you are alive and awake enough to feel; aware enough to be hurt; then you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Feel it. Welcome it. And go live as a result of it.
If the bubble that keeps you safe has shattered, maybe instead of redoing the undone, it’s time to step out into a new thing.