Your crushing is not the end- it’s only the beginning.Bishop TD Jakes
It’s human nature to want to understand suffering. A loud “why” resounds with every disappointment and heartbreak.
Me to God: MAKE IT MAKE SENSE
I’ve often challenged the notion of suffering and still do if I’m being honest. I’m used to things coming to me easily. I’m naturally smart and logical. My self-esteem remains intact so no one or anybody can tell me I’m not the finest thing walking. I’ve never had any great losses. I’ve been incredibly blessed as God’s hand has always been ever present.
But recently, when God challenged me and showed me the slightest semblance of suffering, I fell out.
I decided to read Crushing by Bishop TD Jakes. When I want answers, I go look for them.
Of course, Jesus hung, bled and died but why do I feel like I’m being crucified, too? Why we both gotta hurt? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? The many questions I had before diving into this text. MAKE IT MAKE SENSE, LORD.
I started reading with a hardened heart and halfway closed mind. My God didn’t want me to suffer. That’s not how He intends for me to live my life. I rolled my eyes through the first few chapters.
Recently, I started re-watching Grey’s Anatomy, my favorite show in the world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched all seasons of this show. I’m emotionally invested. These are my friends. I skip the season when Derek dies because it’s too hard. But this time around, I’m seeing everybody differently, through new lenses. I’m not having the same emotional reactions and allowing Shonda to shred my heart to pieces. I didn’t cry when Denny died because Izzie shouldn’t have cut that LVAD wire. And Alex was a jerk. My friends have been annoying me.
I still love the show but I’m enjoying from a different perspective, withholding empathy to their willful ignorance and not sympathetic to the self-inflicted drama.
Some things just require a new perspective. Once you’ve adopted a new perspective, you see the world differently and you take things in differently. It’s called growth.
I have been looking at suffering all wrong. It’s not punishment. It only feels like pain because it’s new and unfamiliar. Yes, it’s pruning but it’s learning. It’s growth. It’s how I’m going to get from point A to point E and eventually to Z. God is the author and finisher of my faith and the Creator of time. I’m looking at the present, the right now, as I should but I still worry about what’s to come. God has that already mapped out. The journey is way more important than the destination. Sure, keep your eyes on the finish line if that’s what keeps you going but take a moment to look around. What’s happened? Did you miss anything? Maybe an opportunity to learn or meet someone? I get so caught up sometimes I miss what God is doing in the moment. I don’t want to miss the blessing because it looks different or it’s not what I want when God is giving me what I need.
“The process is going to cost you what you know about yourself and all that is stable and familiar.”Bishop TD Jakes
I used to talk about glory all the time. My OGs remember Brown Girl Glory. I see glory as our true essence. It’s when we peel back all of our layers and get to who we truly are, who we are when no one’s looking. Who we were before the world told us who we should and shouldn’t be. It’s that innocence, that child-like belief that kept us curious and ambitious and wanting to be doctors and lawyers and journalists and made us believe we could do anything. That’s who I want to be. But that requires some suffering. It requires some pruning. Peeling back those layers hurts but it’s necessary. I’m unlearning and shedding comfort, releasing ideas and beliefs that no longer serve me and challenging everything I thought I believed to be true. And it’s painful because it’s hard.
Suffering for me means abandoning who I thought I should be and becoming who God has called me to be. The price is me carrying my cross daily. Bishop Jakes explains in the book how we often say that but we say it not remembering how bloodied, bruised and broken Jesus was when he did so. Carrying a cross is no easy feat.
Crushing gave me perspective and a renewed hope. It’s during the trying times that you get to know yourself and God better and deeper. The real praise happens in the valley, during the painful pruning. I’m taking this time to draw closer to Him and surrender everything and stop wandering and seeking temporary fulfillment.
Long story short: read Crushing.
People who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are.The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin