Compass Resources for the Chaos of Life

Lisa Modrzejewski, Crucible Women’s Ministry Leader, shares the following reflection on how Crucible has impacted the way she interacts with her world: 

Playground Chaos 

I recently took my five-year-old son to a meet-up with other kids his age who will be entering Kindergarten this fall. My son took off running toward the playground when we got there and jumped right into the middle of the crowd of kids congregated around the biggest climbing structure.  

Throughout the hour, the kids ricocheted around the playground like ping-pong balls being dumped from a bucket, running from the swings to the slides to the monkey bars and back, colliding with each other along the way. Some were shy and played alone, others instantly formed a pack and chased each other around. One boy found an abandoned kickball and was immediately dubbed the leader, as the other boys either clamored to join him or plotted steal the ball to become the new leader.  

The Answer to the Unknown 

These social dynamics always fascinate me and remind me of the stories I’ve heard from the many souls who attend a men’s or women’s Crucible retreat or participate in groups or coaching. For so many of them, these types of kindergarten interactions were the source of intense pain and isolation. Whispered lies of shame are eager to seize the opportunity to answer the questions that arise in young minds in moments of pain or confusion. “Why did he laugh at me when I fell down?” The voice of shame may say, “Because you’re not fast or strong enough. You can’t keep up. You don’t have what it takes.” These lies can actually bring comfort to us – our innate human desire is to make sense of confusion. These little moments of choosing to believe the lies and move toward agreement with them, while painful and soul-killing, bring some comfort to the human mind, because they’re answers to the unknown. We hate the unknown! We’d rather believe terrible things about ourselves, God and others than risk wondering or trusting what God has said about us in His word. 

 The Reminders 

As my son moved through the playdate, I watched him experience feeling like a victim when a friend rejected his offer of a high-five and to share a knock-knock joke. Not five minutes later, he became the villain to another boy when he accidentally scratched the boy’s hand during a scuffle over that stupid kickball. Then he was lauded as the hero by two other moms when he let a little girl go before him on the steps up the slide. What a rollercoaster! I was grateful for the chance to speak into his experience along the way – encouraging him to apologize for scratching the boy’s hand, even though it was an accident. I reminded him that sometimes he doesn’t feel like stopping to hear jokes either, and that maybe there was someone else who would want to give him a high five. 

My own inner five-year-old girl and my inner thirty-eight-year-old girl both received some valuable reminders from this: Even if I accidentally (or, admittedly, “on-purpose”) scratch someone, I lose nothing if I move toward them to apologize and see if they need help. They may still decide not to play with me anymore that day, but neither of our value as people diminish. Repair can come with time and effort on both sides, but it might not. Even then, we both still have the same value. 

Testing the Lies 

Sometimes, in my scrambling to make sense of situations that seem incomprehensible, I accept lies or half-truths about myself, others, and God. I want to continually test those beliefs against God’s Word. Tonight, as I met with my own group, I shared some of those lies or half-truths I’ve been telling myself, and processed through where they come from, what is actually true, and repented of lies I’ve been hanging on to. I took the opportunity to bring wisdom to myself like a patient, steady mother who knows that everything is going to be ok, even when I encounter confusing, chaotic environments.  

I encourage you to continue to press into your own life-story, God’s word, and community like so many have found through Crucible. Weed out those lies and replace them with truth and life-giving encouragement about how much you truly matter and that it’s all going to be ok.