“If someone is coming apart at the seams, they are feeling extremely upset and
have difficulty continuing to do the things they usually do.”
This summer was full of fresh start moments. Links via blogs, emails, websites, etc. that opened their hands and hearts and offered me great advice, sage words, and mounds of story. One imparticular: michaelhyatt.com. Today, Michael writes about a new book, Standout, by Marcus Buckingham in which Marcus incites leaders to focus and hone their two greatest strengths instead of always trying to gird up their weaknesses. I posted a response that I’d like to share with you:
“On March 5, 2011, in front of an event I had planned for women, “The Freedom from Fear Event,” I had a total, very public, meltdown. Oh, no one in the audience really ‘saw’ it, but I quietly became unglued from the inside out. Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. A/V failed. Timing was off. You name it. Even while I was speaking, I heard two women whisper, ‘Wow, she needs help.’ I stopped my message and actually looked at them and said, ‘You have no idea.’ After two trips to Thailand in Nov 2009, my eyes were opened to the horrific world of sex trafficking. I came home and prayed fervently about what to do with what I saw. So, after months and months, I rallied a small band of women and we started a small movement,’The Gathering Delegation: Women Helping Women Across the World.’ Our first ‘Orange Event‘ (orange being the color of freedom from sexual slavery) in July 2010. It was a great success. BUT, in the midst of all of this, I realized my great weaknesses as a leader and began focusing on my WEAKNESSES instead of my strengths. Of course, I believe Satan, the great deceiver, desired no more than for me to FALL APART AT THE SEAMS and throw in the towel. Well, I did. Oh so slowly I unraveled. One little stitch at at time. Not publicly, but privately.”
(At the Freedom From Fear Event where I worked the
Power Point from behind a table. Yes, I sat behind a
table, on the floor for almost an hour, while my friend,
the Remarkable Rosemary Trible, shared her
empowering story of overcoming the trauma of rape.
So exhausted at this point, I wish the floor had swallowed me up.
I went straight home, at around 4pm, got in bed,
pulled the cover over my head, and cried.)
But, after a long six months of intense soul searching and prayer, clarity came in a variety of ways: through counseling sessions, through circumstances and situations, through talks (and altercations) with my husband and children, through endless prayer walks with God, through floating (in my pool that I’ve never spent time in prior to this summer) and thinking and floating and thinking some more, through participation and serving in the events of other great women, through books, videos, and great teaching, through intense, highly soul-invasive graduate courses, through failed attempts at friendships and relationships, through open and closed doors, through life/vocation coaching, through short road trips (and flat tires) with a mentor and friend, and so much more.
The key word here being: through. You see, life is all about forward movement. Getting out of bed in the morning, putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve always loved the word THROUGH. Moses and the Israelites passed through the Red Sea. The three Hebrews passed through the fiery furnace. The shepherd writes of walking through the valley of the shadow of death. So many reference to this powerful word. Defined, it means, “used as a function word to indicate passage into and out of a treatment, handling, or process.” Notice: process.
The process is the work. It has to happen in order for us to become WHO God originally intended us to be. I hate it, yes, but it has to happen. Clarity comes after continued forward movement through clouds of confusion and the cacophony of voices. It is a process. And, as Marcus Buckingham states, “Clarity is the antidote to anxiety.”
So, after a very arduous process of moving through, on August 18, I opened the doors of my heart and my home to start again. Fourteen women, hungry to grow in their faith and understanding of the issue of sexual exploitation/slavery, showed up to learn how they could help fight the global scourge of sex trafficking. It was amazing. Humbly, I admitted my weaknesses. BUT, this time my focus was NOT on my weaknesses, but on my STRENGTHS:
vision and voice. Andy Stanley says it best:
So, on this ordinary Tuesday, I pray that your process, your go-through-it experience, however painful it might be, brings clarity of mind, clarity of purpose, clarity of vision, and clarity of spiritual truth. Keep getting out of bed. Put one faithful foot in front of the other. GOD IS WITH YOU. Be awakened to his power and presence! I can’t wait to hear how he brought you THROUGH it all.