This week the ground has shifted under me. I thought I had found solid ground. I thought I was breathing easy, in pastures green.
Only to find my lungs filling with toxic gases, my mouth filled with ash, my history choking me once again.
And I am left gasping, desperate for a gulp of fresh air, of light. Longing for fresh water to pour down my parched throat and loosen my tongue once again.
This desert heat seems to have come from nowhere. But with a gentle hand on my shoulder, God reminds me that this is what I asked for – to be made new, made whole, to lay all of my life down that it might be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) for the Holy One.
Is this what it means to live surrendered? To loosen all my bonds that they may be tied to God?
You cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:3). So if I want to serve God, I cannot also be serving self-preservation, I cannot be serving self-defence. To serve my God I must lay down my shields against the world, and stand vulnerable.
I remind myself that I already have the victory in Christ (Romans 8:37), I don’t need to fight this anymore, but I still feel naked.
Maybe it’s in our own nakedness that we can be most truly ourselves, the selves that God made us to be.
But I am convinced I am vulnerable. I have the wounds still toxic and unhealed from before I could build my shields, from before I learned to hide my weakness from sight.
Over time these shields have come to feel like part of me. And out of sight, I’ve put these old wounds out of my mind as well.
The shafts of the arrow which pierced me have long ago been broken off, but the tips remain, slowly sinking into my flesh and turning septic.
I need to let this heal.
It is time.
So I seek out my wounded Christ. In his pierced hands, open side, I find the living waters I need to soak in. It is here with my crucified God that I can heal old wounds long hidden by brittle shields. And it is here, washed in blood, that my nakedness does not come hand-in-hand with shame.
And I find rest.