“What’s wrong with me?” That’s a question I hear every day from one of my autistic students, and it never fails to break my heart. His asking is not defensive or even because he’s been offended. He asks me this because he knows he needs more help than some of the others in class, and he just wants to know what’s wrong with his work … or, what’s wrong with him. This same kid is a source of delight in my day, and I tell him, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. I just need to help with this.” He says, “Oh, ok.” And we move on until the next time.
I’ve been wondering a lot lately, and asking my Father, the same question: “What’s wrong with me?” I feel like while life is hard for all of us, God’s been doing an awful lot of work in me lately. My battles have been intense, He’s said no in several areas I expected to hear yes in, and while He’s answering some prayers, my most precious and urgent prayers remain unanswered. I have looked to Heaven plenty of times this week and cried out, “What the heck is so wrong with me?!” I have felt lately like I must be way more screwed up than even I knew, or God wouldn’t have to fix so much in me in preparation for whatever He wants to do in my life.
Well, I guess I got my response this afternoon while doing what? You guessed it … yard work. I get some pretty profound answers while tending to the mess in my yard. I guess the yard and I are quite alike.
Today, I was clearing out some overgrowth in the middle of my yard. I have a concrete barrier running down the middle of the back portion of my yard, and these last five years, some major nuisances have been growing there, dividing the yard quite nicely and making mowing even more of a pain than it should be. Well, this past summer, my step-dad came over and took care of them with a chain saw. One crazy, busy day of hauling limbs to a brush pile and I thought we had taken care of the problem … Only, we didn’t actually take care of the problem. A few weeks later, the stumps that were left had begun to sprout in all directions and the regrowth was massive chaos. Instead of one or two branches on one central trunk, there was now about 10 to 15 branches coming off the nub that was left. It looked worse than before!
I put on my pretty pink yard gloves and took some clippers out there to clear up the mess, and while I was out there, I was praying because, well, an unproductive mind is a dangerous thing. So I was praying about things, asking again, “What is so wrong with me?” And in response, I heard, “Check out what happens when you leave a root.” Ugh!
Yeah, that’s how it is between the Lord and I. He is straight up with me. I’m not clever enough to handle anything but straight-up. So … point taken. As I continued to chop away at the tangle of tendrils reaching out in every direction, I realized that this must be why I have been hurting so badly lately. I made it very clear to the Lord that I want His best, and in order to have His best, He has to remake me so that I don’t ruin His best. He’s standing over me with a bunch of clippers saying, “Let’s do this thing!” And He’s taking care of the mess.
Do you know what I thought of when I looked over the yard after cutting away the limbs, and before picking them up? One word – carnage. I had caused carnage to a great many budding trees. Likewise, I feel like the Lord is creating carnage in me. And I guess to an extent, He is. He’s dealing a death blow to my flesh in so many ways right now. But even though it hurts something fierce, I know that to be dead to my self and my desires means I am becoming more alive in Christ. And that’s something to rejoice about!
Father, thank you for all you are doing in me right now. In my weaker moments, I cry out about it and I question you, but your word assures me that you are doing this to make me more like Christ, and that is my purpose. Please know, the best part of my day is talking to you and I love to hear your voice, so continue to speak to me. I am forever listening for you. Please take care of the roots in me that cannot produce good fruit. I don’t want them anymore. Hold my hand and help me to endure this process of clearing out the mess in me. I love you.