Will you step into the storm raging within your heart… the storm you’ve chosen to observe from a distance? Do you trust me? Jesus has been asking me this question, particularly in this season where I am seeing hurt and bitterness underneath the surface of my heart.
I see my heart has hardened as a result of my lack of vulnerability and honesty with the hurt and wounds raging within. It’s this fear that when I choose to be vulnerable, I will not be able to bear the weight of the darkness, brokenness, and ugliness. It’s this fear of honestly and vulnerably seeing that I am a mess and owning that mess. However, in this lack of vulnerability, I am not able to fully step into greater measures of healing that Jesus has for me. In my fear of seeing the depth of messiness and brokenness, I don’t fully enter in. I’ve simply shut myself down… out of fear, out of discomfort, out of not wanting to honestly face certain facts that are possibly true about my heart’s condition. I’m fighting. Fighting with myself… fighting to remain strong, not to crumble, not to become engulfed by the impending storm I see brewing from the places of hurt, confusion, anger, bitterness, and frustration. I’m afraid of going into the storm because I am afraid I won’t make it out.
But something in me says that I must actually ride into this storm. Something in my heart knows that for me to reach my destination, I must step in. You would think that as you enter deeper and deeper into the storm, you’d be completely engulfed and swept off your feet. It’s easy to think that when I enter in, I won’t be able to come out of the mess… my pain, hurt, bitterness, and resentment. Someone once said that the safest place to be in a storm is in the eye of the storm. I never really understood nor did I really take the time to explore the meaning of that statement… until today.
Eye of the Storm: a region of mostly calm weather found at the center of strong tropical cyclones.
The eye of the storm is where there is a space of calmness, quietness, and safety. How insane is that?! You would think that the more you move into the storm of hurt and pain, you’d be encountered with greater and stronger winds and forces, all climaxing at the center of it all. However, the safest place to be is actually in the center, the region of calm weather found in the midst of strong winds. Jesus is waiting for us in that place. Jesus is extending his arms out to us, inviting us into those places of hurt, but out of our assumptions of what it means to enter, we refuse. Instead, we run, staying only at the outer edges of the storm. We know it’ll be messy, difficult, and chaotic, and we assume the entire journey, further and deeper into the storm, will be messy, painful, and chaotic the whole way through. We see the turmoil of the raging storm, and we feel the strong gusts of the cyclones as a result of fear in fully experiencing the turmoil; we choose instead to numb our pain. Jesus beckons us, but as a result of fear, many of us don’t enter in.
Out of fear of the unknown and being afraid to take that risk, I chose to simply not enter in. As a result, however, I began seeing my heart becoming lifeless. Fear had suffocated the tenderness out of my heart. There’s this fear that once we enter in, we will collapse under the weight of our pains and brokenness. I’m not saying that we will pass through completely unscathed; however, I am realizing that we must keep walking. We must continue to persevere and endure in the face of pain and bitterness. Jesus asks, “Do you trust me?” He asks this not so that He can affirm our loyalty to Him, rather, it’s a question of invitation because He wants to walk with me and bring me alongside green pastures and quiet waters.
It’s crazy to think that the place I feared entering the most is actually the place where I may find freedom and a peace that I haven’t had in so long. The eye of the storm is where Jesus is. The eye of the storm is where my soul will come to find rest. The eye of the storm is the beginning place of my healing. Journeying into the eye of the storm seems completely contrary to the path I feel I should head towards, a path that leads me far, far away from the turmoil raging within. However, it is there, in the eye of the storm, where Jesus will meet me. It is there, in the eye of the storm, I will see the beginning of my restoration and wholeness unfold.
words by Grace Chun and photo by Cate Willis