Perhaps you’ve done this team building activity before. You break into groups and are given a few random objects: usually a fist full of straws (the bendy kind are best), some tape, perhaps some rubber bands, and a raw egg. You are told that you have 5 minutes to build a contraption (out of the straws, tape and rubber bands) that will protect your egg when it is dropped from a certain height.
I’ve done this activity countless times and never had success. Sometimes we have grand ideas (meticulously diagramed on the back of a retreat folder) that are impossible to implement in the time allotted. Other times we have no ideas and haphazardly tape things to the egg at the last minute (which usually proves to be a hilarious bonding experience). More than once we’ve broken our egg mid-build.
As for the testing of our contraption, different facilitators choose different heights. But I’ve noticed that it makes no difference whether the facilitator stands at the second story Cafeteria balcony or on top a picnic table. Our egg always breaks. Eggs are fragile and hard boiling them, in this game, is cheating.
Recently God brought to mind this odd team building exercise as he has been showing me that hearts are fragile too, but hard boiling them is cheating.
When we love, we open ourselves to hurt. When we trust, we open ourselves to disappointment. When we surrender, we open ourselves up to . . . the unknown. And yet, to live a life without love, trust and surrender is to be hard boiled. It is to cheat ourselves, to squelch something deep within, to thwart the end for which we were made. You see, we are made in the image of God who is love: an eternal exchange of love, trust, and surrender between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are made for that exchange too. And not just with our fellow man. God welcomes us into his eternal exchange of love. Whoa.
Perhaps you’ve spent years diagramming the perfect contraption to protect your heart, to buffer yourself from hurt or disappointment. Maybe you’ve run out of ideas and are haphazardly taping things together, desperately preparing for impact. Maybe your heart has broken mid-build. Maybe you are hard boiled, unwilling (or unable) to let others in. Maybe it feels like you’re free-falling from the second story balcony with only bendy straws to break the fall. What do you do?
Love God. Offer him your heart daily in prayer. Your doubts and fears (all of them!), hopes and dreams (sometimes this is the hardest!), and sins and hurts (why would you want to keep those!). When you are tempted to hold something back, recall that you are made to love God and offer it to him anyways.
Trust him. He knows what he is doing. Really, he does. “O God; in you I take refuge I say to the Lord, you are my Lord, you are my only good. I keep the Lord always before me; with the Lord at my right, I shall never be shaken.” Psalm 16
Surrender. Go ahead, you can do it. God will not let you free-fall to a shattered oozing mess. “Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, For you will not abandon me . . .” Psalm 16
We may be fragile, but we need not be hard boiled. The Lord knows how to care for us and he invites us to love.