I've watched the things I hustled for, hustle themselves through my fingers. Planning and careful construction have imploded with no demolition crew in sight. There was no wrecking ball. There were no explosives. And yet all that remain are the ruins of a life once reaching ever skyward.
A Tower of Babel, now rubble.
I stand at the center, the dust of downfall encircles my head. A crown of thorns.
A thousand-yard stare carries me miles from the immediate trauma of such a monumental failure. My world has slowed and my thoughts are a broken record.
What have I done?
Standing eye-to-eye with my failure pulls a low and steady sob from my belly. But it's all too fresh for tears to heed their summons. Numbness is here. Then, self-pity swallows me whole, moving me, folding me into myself., looking for a quick remedy. A pain-killer. A silencer.
But this aftermath will not be quick or silent because pride prepares the way for the fall.
The truth is that Grace does not envelope rogue attempts at popularity. There is a Favor reserved strictly for those who are building upward with the kingdom in their view.
They choose daily never to succumb to the the decadent lure of idols. They choose daily to forfeit their ego for the will of a God who calls the ineligible and predestines them to do the incredible.
That's how I got it so wrong.
I deigned connection to the Alpha and Omega in favor of testing the reach and power of my own mortal arm. I worshiped what I built with my own hands and awaited the applause of the masses. I closed my eyes to the sight of a God whose breath of life pushes the blood through my veins and endows my arms with the strength to build. I closed my ears to the still, small voice of a Creator who establishes kingdoms and topples them with a thought. I trusted the din of a million muddled voices, in search of a number one spot, self-made status. I abandoned the love of a Savior for the echo of my own voice reverberating along empty pathways. I thumbed my nose at Purpose and sold my soul to the highest follower count. I pulled away from a Destiny-Predestinator to feel the futile warmth of the admiration of the lost ones.
Marred foundations yield nothing but ticking timebombs of destruction. Whether the destruction is self-inflicted or otherwise is no matter.
I feel debris in my hair as I hold my head, shellshocked. How am I still standing here? The dreams I built for myself are a whisper on the lips of the past and the crowds shouting my name have long gone.
Getting knocked to your knees has a way of humbling a heart's posture.
It is a rectifying thing.
Pedestals kicked from beneath me lead me back to the rivers I was once embarrassed to visit for healing.
It is a purifying thing.
Now, I run toward the river. Tears of repentance, I've found amidst a wrecked, worthless dream. I disrobe. Flinging down behind me layer after layer of pride, my pace motivated by a promise unfathomable but waiting with open arms ahead. There is a courage and a desperation that makes it easy to toss pride, arrogance, insecurity, ego, hubris, vanity behind me into the rubble.
I stand before a God who knew me this way long ago. Knew me vulnerable, bare, desperate, seeking, surrendered. He's laid a new foundation at my feet. And what I hustled for and lost back there, He offers me freely here.
Rebuilding will not be easy but the work will be inspired. Not for hire.