No, this is not a post about poo, or coffee, or salad, or stock photography. It is a post about what’s inside our body coming out, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I received this nifty little book, What’s Your Poo Telling You?, several years ago from a good friend. My always-wanting-to-read son brought it to me yesterday and a wonderfully poopy analogy popped into my head. It is true, what we put into the body comes out in all manner of interesting ways.
I found out the hard way two nights ago what’s inside… wait for it… my heart (again, I have many things to say about the digestive tract, alas, today is not the day for this), because what came out of me was a flood of sadness, low self-worth, and even physical symptoms of stress. And I had a really great day on Wednesday, amidst a really great week, amidst a wonderful season of my life. But in this moment of sadness, I perceived very clearly where my hope lies.
The Dark Moments of the Soul
Life is full of seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, depression, exhilaration, success, love at first sight, love in changing diapers, etc. By seasons I mean everything from one week of life-giving joy to 12 years of depression. But this post isn’t about seasons, it’s about moments, and more importantly about what they reveal.
Some of us love to be in love (the feelings associated with new love). Some of us take unbelievable pride in our children and pour our entire souls into parenting. Some give everything to their career, academic pursuits, friendships, serving responsibilities in the church, the Denver Broncos, Russell Westbrook’s health, and all sorts of other pursuits. Praise God that he has made us deep feelers, creators, parents, teachers, and passionate individuals. But what do the brief (but often frequently recurring) dark moments of the soul reveal about these loves?
What happens when your new love leaves? What happens when your child throws an insane tantrum or gets expelled from college for ______, you lose your job, you get a B- on a paper, your 10th conference paper is rejected, your best friend betrays your trust, you lose a serving responsibility in church because of a new pastor, your team loses, your favorite player fails, or you have a train wreck of a message in a Wednesday night service? Do you crawl into a hole and cry? Do you wake the next morning with a canker sore in your mouth (yep, that’s me)?
Our good and merciful God uses the dark moments of the soul to show us where we place our identity. True, if you have kids, a large part of your identity should be titled “Parent.” But if your parenting is your highest goal, if your feelings of falling in love are your highest aim, or the experience of knocking it out of the park in a public speaking or performance event is your chief identity, then your dark moments of the soul will consume you over and over and over again, until eventually they sweep you into a dark season of life.
We wear many hats in life: husband/wife, father/mother, pastor, friend, fan, and (for many of my readers) redeemed son/daughter of the risen Jesus Christ. What identities we prioritize in our souls are seen most clearly in the dark moments. We can say one thing all day long, but how we perceive ourselves when everything we built begins to crumble to the ground shows us what is chief inside.
Thankfully, our God, in every dark moment, welcomes us back with open arms onto the rock solid foundation of his Christ. As we turn, as we confess our upside-down, poorly prioritized hearts, he mercifully forgives us. But he doesn’t stop there: Jesus re-orders our soul with every prayer, with every dark part of the soul we expose to his light in repentance.