Lately, God has been speaking to my heart about deterioration.
Odd, I know, because, as everyone knows, I am the restoration girl. I don’t believe in lost causes, irreconcilable differences, or too far gone. I think everything can be saved. I think everything should be saved. Oh, I don’t think I’ll be the one doing the saving, mind you, but I think God’s heart is sold out for bringing back and making new, and so over the course of my walk with him, I’ve become obsessed with asking Him to save, save, save. Because I know He can. I know He wants to. And He is honored and delighted in my asking, my unhedged belief in Him to do it.
But recently, He’s been letting me know: not everyone wants their situation to be saved. And He will not force what He wants, no matter how much He wants it. And He does not want me to force it either.
So, God has allowed some things to deteriorate. In my life. In the lives of people around me. In how I relate to people. In how people relate to me.
And, you know, part of me is so tempted to go into restoration mode, but God has asked me to let go, to stop fighting for and pouring myself into the resistant and unwilling, to step out of the gap. He has asked me to stop accepting and absorbing the dead and the vain; in fact, He has asked me to let the dead and vain things I’ve already internalized to burn inside of me.
And so I have. My hands are open and still. The gifts He has cultivated in me are at last viable, or perhaps I just at last realize their value, and the importance of sharing them where He will use them to produce gifts in others. I am ready to share.
I am no longer able to walk through life with my head down. I am no longer able to take in shame and disrespect and indignity as if I deserve them. I am no longer able to take in any person’s treatment of me, opinion of me as the measure of my person. I am no longer able to keep coming back for more. And even though these things have taken up a lot of space in my life, and their burning will leave a vacancy, they contribute nothing to my actual life and some of them are actually harmful, and I am no longer able to keep them around.
These things need to deteriorate.
They do not honor and delight God.
I should not be fighting for them.
So I’m not.
It’s been felt, I know. In the past week, in the past month. The people for whom I have fought for so long may not know it’s because I’ve lowered my hands and taken a step back, but they have felt the shift in their lives.
And maybe that’s God’s point: that they feel this, and learn to desire and fight for restoration for themselves. I hope that’s God’s point, anyhow. No, I know that’s God’s point. After all, it’s what He’s teaching me through the deterioration taking place in my own life – to fight to know him more, to fight for tribe/community, to fight for career, to fight to savor and enjoy life, to fight to be fought for.
Like restoration, deterioration is a teaching tool God uses; the question is whether or not we are willing to learn.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24 NIV).