Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come Apart Before You Come Apart--Robin Jones Gunn


"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you'll recover your life.
I'll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28, The Message

Don’t you love that phrase; “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace”?

Now, just how do we do that?

Several years ago I copied in my journal a key phrase that Jesus said in Mark 6:31. Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat when Jesus said, “Come apart and rest awhile.” I jotted a note after the verse and asked myself, “What does it look like when a woman takes the time to come apart before her life starts to come apart?”

Here’s the interesting thing about what happens when we stop and rest. We might find ourselves taking extended dives into the deep places of the heart in order to revisit times when we faced an experience we weren’t able to process in the moment. Those memories were purposefully weighted and sunk with the flimsy promise that someday, if we were terribly brave, we might return to the wreckage and see if anything was salvageable.

But you see, when we’re so busy all the time we don’t have to return to the wreckage. We don’t have to do what the verse from last week told us to do – “make a careful exploration” of who we are and the work we’ve been given.

Yet here’s the surprise. When we come apart and fearlessly take those extended dives into the deep places, we find treasure in the wreckage. Not just salvageable bits of brokenness. Treasure.
When we can put our hands on that treasure and give it to the Lord, He fashions it into a gift for us to give to others. I think that is when we begin to learn something about living in the unforced rhythms of grace.

As a writer, my stories will never ring true or touch a heart or change a life unless I am first taking the deep dives. Only then can I unashamedly hold out to readers the treasure that the Lord has refined and reshaped in my own life. He redeemed all of me. I have life experience gold to offer to others. But I will never dig deep enough to find that salvageable treasure that the Lord is so eager to turn into a gift unless I come apart and rest awhile.

So how are you going to come apart and rest awhile this week? As soon as I finish typing this, I have a date with the hammock in our backyard. Tell us your place and way of coming apart with Jesus.

May the words your write be a gift to many.

5 comments:

SITTING ON A CACTUS SMILING said...

Thank you Robin. Your words stirred deep into my heart. Many of the stories (memoirs) I write is experiences that the Lord is using now as I write them down, and process through them, to bring healing to me and I hope strength and hope to others. Thank you for wording the process so beautiful. You helped me to look at what I write out of another angle and ponder in joy and amazement at what God did and is doing.

Jamie Jo said...

That is one thing I love about the mission field. Life is not so continually hectic as in the states, which affords me the luxury of daily writing and thinking, not to mention communicating with the family. For me it's best to start my day in the wee hours, giving me alone time to pray, read, write, and ponder before the rest of the family is clamoring for attention.

I still haven't figured out how to find outright treasure from the broken pieces in my past, but I am seeing snippets of beauty from them. Thanks for the reminder to keep digging there.

Yesterday I got one of your books from the library to further inspire me in my writing journey. I love your writing style, and I adore your characters. What a privilege to get to know you a bit more personally here on WOTH.

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Three weeks ago I promised myself I would make the most of the time I have before school starts by spending more time with our Lord. I haven't done it in the way I'd planned, but He's been speaking to me nonetheless. One way I come apart is to read, and my preference is for Christian novels, which aren't that easy to get hold of in Cambodia. The last couple of weeks I've enjoyed rereading some books that I've read before, and as I have read each one, God has spoken to me through the truths that Christian authors have woven into their novels. Like Karen Ball's "What Lie's Within", where the main character concludes at the end of the story that she is finally free. "From fear. From guilt. From the struggle against trusting herself and others. From the driving need for perfection." As I read those words, it hit me again, that God truly has set me free from those things as well. Thanks for your encouragement to "Come Apart" and to you and all those other Christian novelists who encourage and challenge through your stories. They truly help me to "Come apart before I come apart".

Linsey said...

Thanks so much for your blog posts. I have enjoyed reading them very much.
I grew up on the mission field and now coming back as an adult I found that I had a lot of issues from my childhood that I had buried, which suddenly overwhelmed me. My first year here was incredibly hard but as you say, having allowed myself to go through those hard times and deal with those issues, God is healing me from deep within.
I still struggle but I am slowly learning bit by bit, day by day that God does in fact love me and has a surprising plan for my life, which is unfolding in a wonderful, totally unexpected way. I am learning so much being here on the overseas mission field. Thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

Robin Gunn said...

Good stuff, you guys.
Karen, I'm so glad you mentioned Karen Ball's novel. She's an amazing woman and such a great writer.

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