Rebuild / by Liz Brown



I was going to get a different tattoo this weekend. I had a plan. But on Thursday decided to get this word instead. I knew it with a surety that my whimsical Enneagram 4 self barely ever experiences. I knew the word I wanted and I knew where I wanted it. I was calm and I was sure. But I didn't really know why that word was meant for me. It had come up a few times in my life over the past few months, but that was about it. It hadn't changed my life or anything--yet. 

After getting the word on my arm, I met up with my friend Lauren to go to a worship night. I still really didn’t know why I’d gotten the word, only that it was supposed to be there.

Then that night, in the middle of an anxiety battle, the words were sung over me, with me, in me: “I will build my life upon Your love; it is a firm foundation. I will put my trust in You alone and I will not be shaken.” I knew as soon as I heard those words, why I needed them. I knew what I needed to demolish and I knew how I needed to rebuild: on love, in love. I needed to demolish my fear, to demolish my desire to control, to demolish my anxiety. I needed to trust that God will hold and contain me--and I need to rebuild upon love.

When I worked at Principal, I took walks on my lunch breaks to keep me sane. One of my favorite things to watch was demolition. There’s something satisfying about these intentional collapses or tiny explosions, the arching cranes and the swinging wrecking balls. 

Here’s the thing: when you build something you start from the ground up. But when you rebuild something, first you have to demolish what’s there. You have to deconstruct what’s underneath. And while demolition looks cool from the sidewalk, it feels like sadness or disappointment or pain in my heart.  

But my heart and my life have been built on top of people and on top of fear. I have been afraid of being left behind. I have been afraid of failure. I have been afraid of being wrong or being hurt. So I have clung so deeply and desperately to fear, hoping anxiously that it will keep me safe. I have clung to people, hoping they won’t let me down. I have clung so tightly and created a foundation out of fear. I have been overwhelmed by anxiety and disappointment and exhaustion.
But maybe I'm tired and I'm reading too much into it. Maybe that's all the word was supposed to mean.

The next morning, I got to church and the sermon was called "Good Ground." I kid you not, these were some of the points in the sermon:

-You're only as good as your foundation.

-Obedience to Jesus and his words is the only foundation.

-Jesus doesn't just want to repair your foundation; he wants to replace it with the Rock.

Does that sound a little like demolition to you? A little like rebuilding?

Then I read in Ephesians about how as the Church, we are being built together into a place where God dwells. And I'm pretty sure he dwells in love and not in fear.

By this third "coincidence," I knew why I needed this word on my arm. I knew how and what I needed to rebuild. Today  I need to begin demolishing fear and begin rebuilding in trust in Jesus and in love. Perhaps much of life is learning what to demolish and learning what to rebuild. Maybe this is growing--tearing down and building up until we are strong and brave and resilient and loving.

So here I am today, holding this crumbling heart, trying to deconstruct the fears I've based my life upon. I'm striving to trust that the pain through the demolition process will lead to something more sturdy and strong and beautiful and enduring as I'm rebuild, more secure. As I'm rebuilt on love. As I'm rebuilt with a strong trust that God will always keep my heart safe and he will never let me down. I am hurting now, but I am being rebuilt, I believe that.

Over the last couple of months, I've been reading Hannah Brencher’s book Come Matter Here. Coincidentally, she writes: “‘I want you to look around... Look at all the things you’ve done here. You’ve built so many beautiful things, but you built them all out of fear. I don’t want you to think you have to go through your life being ruled by fear... It wouldn’t be too big to believe you could let the fear go. You could build out of love instead.”

So here I am. Demolishing the fear. Rebuilding out of love instead.