Being Ok With Being Fragile

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It’s taken me years to admit this, and even more to be ok with it: I’m fragile.

Like the Lenox ladies my grandmother used to collect, that as a girl I loved admiring behind their glass, especially taken with their paper-thin, china detailing…I, too, require careful handling.

Only now as an almost 40-year-old, do I once again have child-like, enraptured eyes–to appreciate the exquisite detailing with which my Father formed me.

But etched in my story are grievous years spent fighting the ways He made me delicate.

Once my grandmother went to be with Jesus, I inherited her Lenox ladies; and their flawless fragility, it seems. I lived the paradox for years…I remember my devastation when one of my favorites, an ethereal ballerina, succumbed to gravity (we’re all victims of the Fall, after all). The unsightly chip in her gossamer skirt became a mortal wound in my eyes, deeming her ruined. An unretractable reality, that left me raw.

Like my ballerina, I’ve lived paper-thin. Depression and anxiety have had their way with me, rendering me susceptible; breakable. High maintenance, even (oh, the dreaded H word…). And so I existed behind glass of my own creation for years…in an effort to protect myself; to hide my more shameful parts. I carefully painted “beautiful” over my messy fragility; creating an appealing façade, but never allowing anyone to come close enough to touch. Sadly, I succeeded only in sabotaging myself and postponing the inevitable.

Until finally, God made me face my fragility—and graciously accept it, as a gift. Delicately beautiful, for all its inherent purpose. And in this facing–this whole-self-embracing—I began to live out loud; glass shattered; wielding authenticity to gather my fellow fragile close, and destroy stigma around mental illness. Living out my calling as a light on a hill–a broken ballerina, made beautiful by God shining through my weak places.

A broken ballerina, made strong by God illuminating the way through this fragile existence. Made strong through learning how to handle myself with care: pacing myself. Eating well. Sleeping–a lot. Exercising. Getting outside. Taking my meds and supplements. Grounding myself in the truth–in the Word. Making (and keeping) counseling appointments. And bubble-wrapping myself in grace—lots of grace.

All things that take time and money, that sometimes I’d rather spend otherwise. But otherwise wasn’t in God’s plans for me. And neither was being a simple, low-maintenance girl. I joke that taking care of myself is a part time job. But it’s really no joke—and it’s ok.

It’s ok to be fragile.

This wisdom right here—it’s been dog-eared, highlighted and underlined to death in my copy of Jesus Calling—because it’s gold. Mine it, claiming its wisdom as your own:

“Come to Me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakness, My child. Actually, it draws me closer to you, because weakness stirs up My compassion—My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been. Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow Me to bless you richly through it.”

Sara Young, Jesus Calling (Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. 235.

Embrace your fragility, whatever its particular variety, because it’s a thing of beauty.

Live it proud, and out loud, sister–and be made strong.

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