How ‘Yes, And’ Helped Me be Real

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A few months ago I took an improv class as a team building with coworkers. After overcoming the initial fear of potential embarrassment, the process of ‘clearing out the attic’ of your imagination became such a blast and illuminated a new outlook on life, my creative soul soaked right up.

Fast forward a few months and I find myself wrestling with a question that had become lodged in my attic, packaged up nicely but left to collect cobwebs. Why does grief happen. Why does grief happen to good people? How can bad things happen when God is real… if? Why does God allow brokenness if He really loves us? Is God really good if we have sorrow and heartache? Why did God take my friend away from me?

Ah, there it is. A fresh gust of realness. The question I have tormented with off and on for one year, three months and 23 days. Which after much exploration has led me to a deeper question…did this happen because I am undeserving of love?

It would be hard to find someone who hasn’t encountered these questions. I wouldn’t believe them if you found one. Job experienced it. Tim Keller has a sermon about it. The list continues. Would life be real without loss?

For a long time I was afraid to share my honest thoughts with God. I still struggle with it. (Even now typing to you, I apologize for the distance you may feel.) I felt my emotions would be too much or push God away, deeming me ‘high  maintenance’, ‘oversensitive’ or the worst of all…’needy’. I internally shudder just thinking about it. To believe the lie I would be Too Much was too great a risk to take with God, but growing up I learned that to be true, among other devastating untruths. As a result I kept Jesus at an arm’s length, a ‘safe’ distance*.  I didn’t realize I wasn’t fully real and he wasn’t fully let in. With a wall up, I would have less risk to be hurt, my subconscious shouted.

Through many avenues of pursuit, including real conversations from friends, daily texts, counseling, endless things, I explored and I tried again to share my pain w God.  I wept and sobbed and pleaded for her to come back. I bargained. I thought I saw her out and about. It wasn’t her. They prescribed me pills. I threw them away. They blocked my creative visions. I prayed that I could be in heaven too. Why did she get to be there and I wasn’t? I thought about legacy and loss. What legacy I would like to leave behind. How her love impacted me and countless others. What God has to say about me being worthy of love or Too Much (spoiler alert: I am irrevocably Loved and I am definitely not too much, just like you).

The other day I walked past a cemetery near my house on the way to church. A place of marked loss surrounded by houses with movement and the gentle flurry of spring’s breath among the trees. “Love is always on the move because God is love.”**  Along this path I felt met with, what if God is Love AND devastating things happen? What if I can be real with God AND He still loves me? The ultimate Yes, And.

If you have or are experiencing a great loss or tragedy, my heart breaks with you. I would be happy to pray for you or send you a note of encouragement.

As always, thanks for dropping by, Fashionistas!

Until next time,

-Fashion Stoppe

* “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “…who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” -C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

**”Love is always on the move because God is love.”-Tyler Jones, Vintage Church 3/25/18

Photo by Smith Hardy Photography

4 thoughts on “How ‘Yes, And’ Helped Me be Real

  1. I love this so much! Thank you for writing it. I know it took a lot.

    “What if God is Love AND devastating things happen?” This times a thousand. I don’t know of a better, truer way to describe the world.

    P.S., Some of the most liberating words I’ve ever heard are, “God LOVES high-maintenance people.” When I go through a high-maintenance season I usually feel like I’m doing something wrong. But the truth is I don’t have to hide my neediness from God—he already knows, and still loves me.

    • Ah day made – thank you, Ryan Burger! I appreciate you soo much. And now, the fact that I can remind myself “God LOVES high maintenance peeps” – honey to the soul! or in this case, wedges dipped in glitter.

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