I grew up in church, which is probably no surprise to you considering my goodie-goodie-ness and the fact that I'm from a small town in Alabama. In church culture you hear a lot of dumb slogans. Let's just be honest. Half of them are on church signs trying to be relevant and/or clever. ("God answers knee-mail," anyone? It's ok to gag if you want.)
All these mantras have varying levels of truth but usually share one particularly large measure of the eye-roll factor.
There is one in particular that somehow stuck with me over the years:
A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't.
When I was young, this just made me want to scuff up my Bible a bit--maybe slightly tear the cover and fix it with duct tape--so it would look a little more well-read. I could be super-awesome humblebrag Christian, then. "What? This old thing? Yeah, it's a little weathered, but it's just because I read my Bible so much. Don't worry about it."
I usually only remember this quote occasionally when I see someone's Bible that actually is falling apart, which happened a week or so ago.
It popped back into my mind: "A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn't."
And what struck me this time was how blatantly untrue that is.
I know it means well, but the more I try to figure out what they are trying to say, the more I realize you can't really skew this positively without shaming someone.
A Bible that's falling apart almost definitely belongs to a person who is also falling apart. So does every Bible.
Because everyone is falling apart in some way or another.
We're all broken, lost, shame-filled, sinful, sorrowful, struggling, tired...you name it. All of us.
Reading your Bible won't help you not fall apart. The people who wrote those words were falling apart--Paul, David, everyone.
What it will do is give you something to cling to when you are falling apart. It gives you some place solid to plant your feet--truth when everything else is uncertain, or a place to lie down and rest when you feel like you can't do it anymore.
If you're falling apart, know that you're not alone. It seems like you are because we don't tell people we're falling apart. We suck it up because "someone always has it worse than us." Which might be true on the surface, but pain is pain.
Your pain isn't less valid because of the existence of someone else's.
Don't be afraid to fall apart. We're all doing it. But, if you're open to it, you have something to cling to.
Have you ever felt like you weren't allowed to fall apart? What helps you feel peace when you do?