heartbreak and the example of Christ
My new place of employment has a unofficial tag line. “No drama… no avoidance.” Things are dealt with honestly and directly, and any drama is not tolerated.
It’s taken me awhile to adjust to this kind of environment. And I suspect it will take me a bit longer to find my footing in this. Hopefully not because I thrive on drama, but because I am just not used to things being dealt with directly and without avoidance.
I don’t know anyone who likes confrontation. That would make me question if they understand what confrontation means, or perhaps would make me question their sanity. But there are some people who at least understand that while confrontation is hard and challenging, it’s also an opportunity. And it’s healthy, certainly more so than the alternative.
There’s the phenomenon I learned about it one of my classes in seminary: triangulation. Triangulation is when a third party somehow gets involved in the brokenness between two people. It’s such an easy trap to fall into, and I’ve sadly been party to it myself, as well as had a third person get involved in something (in my life) that had nothing to do with them, in their attempts to repair and deal with an issue. (Obviously, it didn’t end well. It rarely does.) This is just an unhealthy as avoidance, though the heart is usually in the right place. This makes it all the more deceiving.
For the last few weeks I’ve had this song in my head:
There is certainly a double meaning in this song when you listen to the lyrics. These in particular struck me tonight:
You’re a lovely magician, and I’ve fallen under your spell
You discern every moment as one who knows how this will end
It’s as if you see through me, as if I’m unknown to myself
Your eye finds the aquifer, the static reserve of my tears
So I need a well to my heart, I trust you to break the ground
When Jesus walked on this earth, he was not free from emotion or heartbreak. He was angry when it was right to be angry. He wept when it was appropriate to weep. His example of dealing with everyday life was done perfectly, and we are given that “template” by the example of his life for how we are to deal with everyday life. He didn’t avoid. He didn’t suppress strong emotion. He spoke when he needed to and was quiet when he needed to be. He confronted, and said and did hard things.
Oh how I fall short of this every single day.
[I need a well to my heart and I trust no one but Jesus to break the ground.]
I need this example of Jesus every single day, because the reality is that I am living in a broken world and I know it wasn’t meant to be this way. And so I lash out when shalom is broken and I rage against the injustice and the unfairness of it all. Then the tears come and I say and do stupid things. Jesus gave me his example, but I fail to heed it. I disregard his restraint and his passion, because I am stubborn and going through my own stuff and somehow I think that supersedes what is actually right, and do instead what I feel is right.
I am the reason his grace exists.
“When we have months of erratic emotions, we can go to him and know that he understands. He knows what the right emotions are and he can guide us and help us, and all the while justifies us… Gives us what we need as we stand before the Father forever, whether we are experiencing emotions appropriate or not. What a comfort that is.” – Derek Webb, audio commentary on “Your Heart Breaks in All the Right Places”
A light on the water, like sounds bouncing off every wall
You give me my heading and guide me through dangers unknown
You weep with the weeping and dance when the music incites
You do it for me and I wish now to do it for you
Like salt in the drops from your eyes, it restores and it preserves
I am so glad that God doesn’t see the wreck of the person I am and sees Jesus instead. May I learn to see others this same way. Because when I hurt God over and over again, he still sees Jesus, but I seriously doubt my ability to see Jesus in those who’ve hurt me…who’ve avoided me… who’ve done the triangulation dance.
Jesus’ heart breaks in all the right places. I need this to happen to me, too.