I freaked out on Friday. Just a little. Me and the OKC crew went camping with a new church we’ve been visiting, and there is a certain amount of scary associated with spending two days and nights with twenty total strangers. About thirty minutes before we left I panicked a little and decided that I didn’t want to go. I could just sit and talk to old friends and just kind of…carry on.
I didn’t make that choice. I went and it was fun. There was some awkward and some awesome. Most notably: my Chacos have passed to the other side. The soles split and the straps are breaking and the sole is peeling away. So I called the Chaco people because you always hear about this warranty.
I expected it to be too good to be true. But talking to the lady she asked me “How did you break them?” I told her hiking up a mountain and she said “As long as they broke while you were using them normally we will fix them free”.
Which is like softball. My coach was absolutely terrifying at times, and she loved push ups SO MUCH. Every error during practice or a game…100 push ups. It was brutal. The only exception was a ‘hustle error’. If you made a mistake going full speed and leaving it all out there you could get away with a lot more. The trick was to be going hard.
Which is like physical therapy. When a muscle or something gets hurt from activity it’s pretty straightforward. You work it back out. You don’t let it just sit and be injured, you get it moving. You engage the hurt part. Atrophy is harder to fight, because the muscle has to learn what to do before you can do it. The hardest though? When someone has this fear of an activity. Subconsciously they are guarding against that movement, trying to stay safe. So you have to break that reflex. You have to expose the hurt area before you can make it better.
Which is kind of like life. You get hurt. People hurt you and things get hard and sometimes you lose so much. I got angry. I got angry and I burned bridges. I didn’t ever want to come back here. I’m discovering all these defenses I’ve put up against getting hurt. Even going to a church event, something as familiar as camping became close to impossible. What if these people are the wrong kind of Christian? What if they stamp out the faith I managed to piece back together?
Which is like rebuilding the relationships I tore apart. How do you look someone in the eye and tell them “I was wrong, I’m sorry, and I love you”? How do you rebuild on a charred foundation? What if I get hurt again and there’s no Waco to run away and hide?
You get into it. You stretch the parts that are hurting. You break the reflexes that are trying to keep you safe (really they’re just keeping you from healing). You work the parts that don’t work so well. You go hard, knowing that if you make an error it’s better to make it going full speed. You put the Chacos on and tear up the trails again. Because warranty.
You’re a new creation.
Not just once.
Jesus wasn’t all about safe. He was a little bit more into danger and pushing the limits and being brave. That’s how you get to the hard places. Jesus was vulnerable. Jesus let the instinct to protect himself go. Jesus is standing there asking us to follow Him.
Standing there. And I remember that yes. I will end up hurt. I will break in new places and old places because it’s a call to die. Not just once, but every day. I die every day and I am being made new every day. And in the weak, hurting places He is strong. (Paul would say that He uses the weak things to show His strength). I’m okay with being that.
On a more practical note: my chacos are headed to the chacospital and all will be well. My anger and cynicism might take a little longer, but I’m going after it hard. That means new and familiar conversations with new and familiar faces.