Finding your identity and place in the world is not a seven-stop program. It is not a tapestry, neatly woven. It is not easy or simple or tidy. In fact, it feels more like a sweater unwinding thread by thread. You are wrecked. It is not something you do. It happens to you. You cannot control it.
To be wrecked begins with an experience that pulls you out of your comfort zone and self-centeredness, whether you want it to or not. Your old narcissistic dreams begin to fade in light of something bigger, something better. The process leaves you battered and broken after the “real world” has slammed up against your ideals a couple dozen times. What’s left standing is a new paradigm. It’s hard, but it’s good. It’s incredible and indelible. It’s tough, but only in the way that all things worth fighting for are tough. Being wrecked means everything you believe–everything you know about yourself, your world, and your destiny–is now in question. Because you’ve seen something bigger. And you can’t go back. At first the process is disorienting. It calls out the greatest parts of you, the parts you might be afraid of. It tests your courage, the very fibers of your being. This may very well be why we avoid conflict. It calls into question that which we are most afraid of–ourselves. And in the end, you’re not who you were before. You’re different. You’re changed. Your old life beings to make less and less sense in light of your new priorities. Everything that used to matter now feels arbitrary. And it seems futile to try rebuilding the old way of doing life. As confusing or as difficult as that may be, it’s good.
I received the book Wrecked by Jeff Goins, for Christmas. It has been on my wish list for a couple years, but I’m not sure it would have made such an impact on me before this year. I’m only a few pages in because I re-read almost every paragraph at least once. The quote above is where he describes what it feels to be wrecked in a way that I believe could not be written more perfectly.
It is messy, confusing, even discouraging at times, and yet it is good. I have tried so many times, and in many different ways, to explain what he did.
When I think back on my experience in Honduras, I relive and feel so many different things. I remember the disappointment of missing out on life back in Ohio, the certainty I felt the second I walked into the classroom and saw my students, the exhausting I felt from keeping up with a new culture. I hear all the laughter, frustration and explanation that came from my mouth. I think of the roller coaster my heart seemed to stay on, even when I thought I had taken the bench instead of the ride.
My two favorite parts from this chunk of the book are the way he uses a sweater unraveling to describe the messiness, and he couldn’t have been more right. Just when you think the sweater has nothing left to fall apart, it goes on unraveling even more. My other favorite part was when he said “It tests your courage, the very fibers of your being.” I love that because it does test everything in you, good and bad. It shows you exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are.
Ultimately, you cannot control it. You cannot make it happen, or stop if from happening. It simply goes.
So, for those of you who have not been wrecked, that is what it means to be wrecked…that is exactly how it feels.
It is not pretty to experience, nor is it pretty to watch. It changes your being, down to the very core of who you are. It is one of the most challenging things to experience, and yet once it happens, you would relive it over and over again.
It doesn’t take going overseas to experience this either, it simply takes stepping outside of yourself and placing yourself somewhere that gives you the opportunity to be wrecked.
Have a great day!