In Lysa Terkeurst’s book, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered,” she writes an allegory called, “Upside Down.” When I first heard it I bawled through the whole thing because I could relate to having a life that is upside down.
A couple of my favorite phrases in the allegory are, “And that’s when you will see what a gift it is that you’ve been entrusted with enough hurt to keep you humane. You’ll offer the only real answer available: ‘The Lord helped me survive and He’ll help you too. I’ll hold your hand while you find your way to Him.’” I sometimes view dystonia as an inconvenience rather than a gift. The Lord has showed me throughout the years that He has indeed entrusted me with this gift of dystonia to help comfort others.
This phrase just is an encouragement to me.
“Tell her I gave her the words upside down because she’ll give the world permission once again to see the wonderful in the why. Her whys have made her wise.”
I have no doubt that when you read the allegory you also will relate with it. I hope you will share it with someone who needs encouragement.
By Lysa Terkeurst
The Son turned his head and quizzically said, “Hmmm . . . Father, those are really strange words to assign to this life. Can we pick some other words? I have some fantastic suggestions for this one. She’s optimistic and strong. She’s caring and compassionate. She’s good and generous, and she’s so very aware of others. She’s a deep thinker and a deep feeler all in one. She’s so very rare, Father. Yes, she’s rare.”
“I know. And that’s why she must be upside down.”
“Father, as she gets older I don’t think she will like that You gave her these words. I think she will question, ‘Why did You do this to me?’”
The Father replied, “She most certainly will question Me. Her favorite question of all will be ‘Why?’ And it will serve her well. For in the incessant wrestling she will come to learn something most people never learn. She will see I didn’t do these things to her. I did them for her. Though it broke My heart to give her the opposite of what she wanted, she will watch me eventually turn all that bad into good. I will turn it all upside down, and in doing so she will live right side up. She will be a beacon of light in extreme darkness. She will be a voice of hope when others feel all is lost.
“As she learns to live in this upside-down way, she will discover there are some problems that cannot be solved, though her brain will tirelessly try. But, in the end, she will release even that—all the trying—all the wrestling to tie things up tidily. And she will finally embrace her most glorious quality of all: her messiness.
“This is the most upside-down part of the whole story. What makes her most delightful are the parts of her that are most messy. Untidy. Unpolished. Uneducated. Untouched by perfection. Untarnished by performance.
“She will effortlessly show others a way to find Me and draw their hearts into the reality that I am a good God. And most importantly that I am good at being God. No human should have to carry the weight of being their own god, but so many do. “As she seeks Me in her mess, she will show others how to find freedom from that weight. She will be a force to be reckoned with in the great battle of good versus evil. Her gentleness will be her strength. Her love will be the fiercest weapon. Her balance will be the beauty of her soul. And her wrestling with the answers to Why? that never come will be her humility.
“She’ll be a learner and a lover of truth. She will crave certainty. But people are unpredictable, and circumstances will often cause her confusion. So, she’ll take her uncertainties and bury them in the rich soil of My Word.
“These will be some of our closest times together, she and I. When she learns something while confused—she’ll remember it forever. Truth will shape her in the best of ways and lead her heart to want to give the hope she’s found to others. So it’s through her uncertainties she’ll find her most certain purpose in the world. She will be: ~ a curator of curiosity ~ an image bearer of imagination ~ a tender truth-teller ~ a bold gospel-bringer ~ the wonder-full part of why
“Those are the things she’ll discover as she journeys through life, dancing and falling and getting back up again. “But, Son, there is something you must tell her Yourself right now today:
“Dear daughter of Mine, when the world tries to beat that ‘why’ question out of you, offer it back to the heart of every wide-eyed inner child and whisper, ‘Yes, yes, ask away.’ Because to kill that question is to kill the passion-filled purpose that will give you an answer. You’ll never know why that person did what they did. Or why the seemingly perfect circumstances shifted and corrupted the way they did. Why the destruction and devastation marched into your life. No, you’ll never know those answers. But trust Me—it wouldn’t make anything better even if you did have those answers. It just wouldn’t. I’ve not kept those answers from you as a cruel exercise of My power. I’ve kept those answers, because only I can bear the weight of them. “You live in a broken world where broken things happen. In a sin-soaked world horrible things happen. They just do. And you will hurt deeply because of these things. You, dear girl, will also watch others hurt. “You will hear human answers that try to tie bows around the big blows of life. These sound good in a sermon but never hold up in real life. And that’s when you will see what a gift it is that you’ve been entrusted with enough hurt to keep you humane. You’ll offer the only real answer available: ‘The Lord helped me survive and He’ll help you too. I’ll hold your hand while you find your way to Him.’
“You won’t know why this and that are happening. But there is a part of the why you will come to know. Look around, and you will see the part of why I do want you to know. You’ll find it in the eyes of every human you brush up against or bump into or barrel over or dare to embrace. In their eyes will be a secret sorrow, a deep wound, a scared child. You were made to connect with that person. Really connect. But you’ll never ever connect with your perfections and performance. All that’s slick and shiny about you repels them or scares them or makes them shrink back. But your tears? Oh, they are liquid magnets drawing others in. They are a river of reality. A healing for hurts. A bonding for brokenness.
“You see, it’s through your tears that people are united. It’s what makes you a safe person to others when you simply whisper, ‘Me too. Me too.’ “You won’t have to bring them answers. Just bring them your peaceful presence. And right then and there your heart will feel like it could just about explode with joy that you have imperfections. They’ll invite you to stay when they realize you haven’t skipped through life untouched by failures and faults and being made to feel fragile by others.
“Perfection intimidates. Compassion inspires. And in that you will finally find the why. Why did this happen? Because there’s someone else in the world who would drown in their own tears if not for seeing yours. And when you make one other human simply see they aren’t alone, you make the world a better place.
“Tell her I gave her the words upside down because she’ll give the world permission once again to see the wonderful in the why. Her whys have made her wise.
“Upside down are the perfect words for a girl who will eventually land right side up, messy and marvelous and so very alive.”