Sunday, February 12

the grace of unraveling

Have you ever felt like there's no right place to begin?

That's what it feels like now, with so many words stored up for the keeping.  With every passing day I think, tomorrow I'm going to write this down. 

And after that, tomorrow I'm going to get it right.  I need some grace, because tomorrow always seems to feel like yesterday, and getting things right is a hard thing to do.


My world is swamped with reading, lately, and I've learned that my favorite part of stories is the unraveling.  There's probably a technical term for it, but I'm trying to be less technical these days.

The unraveling is the point in the story where there's just too much stuff going on.  There's conflict and pressure, and the main character is forced to move or change or do something that they wouldn't normally ever do.

It's usually the hardest part of the whole novel, but I've learned to love every second.  Why?

Because life happens in the hard places.
In the big decisions.  In the moments where it feels like there's just too much crap going on.  I get excited for a character because all I can think is:  This is going to make you better.  This is going to change you into someone you otherwise wouldn't have become.

And then the plot they planned on unravels, and the character loses his job, or her boyfriend breaks up with her, or there's an earthquake, or someone gets sick.  Everything falls through, and it's awful.  This is the point where I usually restrain myself from throwing the novel across the room, because things cannot. get. any. worse.

And then something miraculous happens: the character changes.  They realize that they don't need ______, ______, or _______ as much as they thought they did.  They find out who they truly are and how they want to live their lives.  The unraveling makes them re-think everything they once thought was so important.

Except when it's real life, and not just a story, it is so much harder to bear.  I don't like the unraveling when it feels like a season of my life.  Thankfully, I'm not currently in that season.  But I know some people who are in it.  People who are dear and loved, and maybe that person is you.

Dear friend, the unraveling is true to its name.  It will pull apart all of the things you lean on, and the things you think you need, and the relationships that aren't really good for you.  It will reveal all your weak coping mechanisms and unhealthy habits.  It will unravel who you think you are and what you think you need.

But even in its harshness, it is graceful.  In my life, it has been God's way of saying, You don't really need this, Elizabeth.  I am going to remove it from your life and you are going to be uncomfortable.  But I want to make you into someone different.
Because the grace of unraveling will change you into someone you otherwise wouldn't have become.

Someone that this world desperately needs awake and alive, growing and changing and living.  Someone who lets pain do its work, trusting that who they began as and who they are becoming are two entirely different people.

Someone who believes, even as life is coming apart at the seams, that what emerges beneath the surface will be stronger, and better, and more whole than it could have ever been before.


Amy Ellison said...

Girl, you have such a way with words!

And once again, you've hit the nail on the head.

"It will unravel who you think you are and what you think you need."

The times I've unraveled have been the most pivotal seasons of my life. My prayer is that I will never be too wound-up to unravel at the slightest touch of my Savior.

Thank you, friend, for sharing your words, and your story.

Sarah said...

Well-said! Life really does happen in the hard places. It's where we are stretched and where we grow. Glad I found your blog, and so looking forward to reading!

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Amy. "My prayer is that I will never be too wound-up to unravel at the slightest touch of my Savior." Amen, friend. I have no words.

Hey Sarah. Being stretched is so hard and yet so worth it. Thanks for your kind words and your honesty. It's always nice to find a friend on the other side of the computer screen.