This is BLOG 2 of my series! (Haha I feel so official saying that…)
FYI – I don’t know exactly how many there will be. I’m estimating 4 total. So 3 more after this one… or something.
Before I begin I must say that I am so very intensely enjoying Josh Garrels album called Love & War & The Sea in Between. So full of truth and creative yumminess with fresh rhymes and melodies sung over cool beats and instruments. He has a way of expressing truth and spiritual things with a zing and uniqueness thats refreshing and makes my spirit jolt alive because it melted right deep into my soul. Awesome stuff. I think you can download it for free right now until the rest of the year. Go get it! Just do a Google search or something.
So, as I said in my previous blog, I’ve been reflecting on my summer and seeing that it has been a wonderful journey with the Lover of my soul. This is a continuation.
In the next couple of blogs I am hoping to express some things that I learned and things that He spoke to me about. It’s personal. So don’t laugh at me. Or poke fun. Or I’ll suck your blood.
Anyway, I think that’s enough blabber. Moving on.
So… Summer began and I thought to myself, “FINALLY! Sun! Birds! Air! I can just enjoy myself for a little bit and rest!”
As I said in my last post, I’ve had a lot of time that was spent in quiet and alone, with nothing pressing going on, no expectation to fulfill, no ministry trips to go on, no meetings to go to, no performing music or leading anything, no prayer groups, no conferences, etc. Just my usual job working at the Shelter, that is on most days, very secluded in my upstairs tower and quiet. There was a lot of space. Space around me. And come to find out, space inside me. A disconnect within me.
IN those quiet places and moments, I very much enjoyed my time and being alone. I enjoyed myself. I normally love my times alone, but this was different. I felt free to do and be and to pursue whatever thought and daydream I wanted. I didn’t have to ponder with a purpose or daydream with a mission. I was allowed to just ponder for the sake of pondering. I began to see my heart come back. Everything I enjoyed, loved, found value in, everything about me that made me, ME, I got to rediscover.
“Ahh, now this is the life. I so needed this. This is resting…” or so I thought.
[Segway (segue) dance into a teaching moment]
Now… what I just described is a good thing every once in a while. When everything inside of you gets consumed by what you are doing on the outside of you, you start to lose yourself. You forget how to be happy just because the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You forget how to do the things you enjoyed, you forget what it feels like to be inspired, smile, laugh from the heart. And when that happens, you lose sight of the beauty of life. The beauty of your life and the love that sustains it. And when you sense that you are not able to find moments of peace and freedom on the inside of you and feel guilty for straying off the path that the cries of the urgent beckon you to, that’s a good sign you need to back off and take some time for yourself… to be with yourself and to be with God. Because every moment is PRECIOUS. Every thought, every movement of your heart, every part of your being that you can turn toward God and be filled with life and joy is important because when you lose focus on who you are and the delight of God on your life, you are losing your true passion, identity, and purpose. So you need times of doing what you want to do just for the sake of doing it. For enjoyment. Simply because it’s who you are and how God created you.
But all of that to say… while this was good in finding myself coming alive and enjoying this time, it was not resting. It was only the teeny beginning of the journey into what it really means to rest. I thought that I was enjoying myself because I WAS finally able to rest. The pressures on the outside lessened and I thought I finally entered into freedom and real rest. I felt freer, but it wasn’t everything.
I would say, however, that it was the candy, flowers, a breath of fresh air, fun, giggles, wooing, singing, laughing, portion of the “Summer Love” relationship. Running hand in hand, hearts in our eyes like you see in cartoons, grinning ear to ear and having eyes for only them. I began to see the world differently. I started seeing myself again in a new light, see Jesus in a new light. It was like meeting Him for the first time. Meeting myself for the first time because I realized He liked me. So I started liking me more. It was fun and exhilarating. It felt fresh and unstoppable.
[Cue dramatic music] *dun dun dun*
… during the middle of the night…
Let’s just say, after a while, I felt I was good. I felt that was enough “vacationing” and “resting” and that it was time to really buckle down and figure things out. Figure out my goals, my dreams, my next steps, my future, my life. That’s … a lot.
(Now this might sound like repetition from my last blog, but bare with me…)
With this very smart ambition to figure and sort out my life in a week resulted in a greatly overwhelmed and heavy heart. As you can imagine. But that wasn’t all of it. With this continued space, time, and now a freshly added teaspoon of anxiety, I was knocked completely off my feet.
The real questions, the doubts, the fears, the disappointments, shame… came to the surface. Or rather, I was kinda “tricked” into going deeper… Haha. Without my usual distractions, I started facing myself. The covers have now been pulled away, the foundations revealed, and now we can see that there was a lot of dust, dead rats and squirming bugs, faulty pillars, and a nasty odor on top of it all. (Eww… that mental picture is making me squirm tonight.) Maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but that’s what it seemed like to me. All of a sudden I felt the most vulnerable I’ve ever been and the most exposed. It’s not that I’ve been trying to hide everything or not deal with things in the moment or neglect to spend time with God, but things happened and it was time for God to do some deep things inside of me. It was a time of transition and I needed to be realigned. He wanted to speak to me. He wanted me to come back to Him. Bare. Vulnerable. Hurting. Laughing. All of me as I was.
So now I finally figured out the reason why I truly needed to rest. It wasn’t from the outward circumstances and pressures I felt in life, it was the inward chaos and storm that needed much quieting. I had entered into the messiest phase of the journey. It was time to get reacquainted with my real thoughts and truths of my heart. And the heaviness that I put on myself all of a sudden to figure out my life put enough pressure on me to reveal what exactly I was standing on.
The truth is… I became scared. I inadvertently blamed God. Not in a way that it was all His fault… but yeah kind of. I doubted His goodness and His love for me. That’s a big deal. I started analyzing the past and every single choice I made that led me to where I was. I blamed myself for where I was, who I was, what I was doing, what I wasn’t doing, the choices I made, and so indirectly questioned God’s guidance and hand on my life. I didn’t find Him as trustworthy as I once did. I had disappointments, false hopes, expectations, and some expectations for the wrong things. All of that was revealed. And then I felt sorry for myself. I felt I trusted God and was let down. I gave and gave of myself, to no end. To people, to God. I gave all that I could and strived to be the best I could be, to do the right thing even if it hurt, and in the end I felt everything I did was for nothing. “What was the point of me pouring myself out for You, them, or anybody?” So if God wasn’t gonna help me out, then I’d have to figure things out on my own. So that’s what I was trying to do. With tons of questions of “why?” and “how?” I was offended in my heart, but I was facing it. I tried to figure out a plan… tons of them. But my heart and mind was just full of more questions and riddles, mazes, fog, and … no answers. So I didn’t actually get anywhere. My times with God were overruled by thoughts, countless streaming thoughts of fear, doubt, questions, and I was just asking for answers… over and over. It was frustrating. It was actually very intense. I went through a lot of anxiousness. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t enjoy things, didn’t even like worship music or anyone who talked about God. I didn’t want to hear it. It sounded all so boring and cliche, fake, gibberish, impractical, dumb, and a bunch of other things.
But eventually … I slowly started to let go …
No. It wasn’t easy. Nor was it overnight.
I kept praying…
“God I know I’m a mess. Heal me…”
And I questioned how that would happen if I didn’t even want to listen to worship music or go to church or even really read my Bible. But…
“God, I’m here…”
There is a lot that happened in this time and some that I want to still share in the next blogs, but the thing that I really emphasize in this blog is about learning how to enter into REST. A lot of the time we think that resting is taking a vacation, not thinking about issues, getting away from the mundane, daily routine and pressures, and taking a breather. Now that is a VERY good thing. HOWEVER, I really believe that a lot of people miss out on really living above the storm with peace in their hearts in the deepest places because we never really sit down, take a deep breath, learn to be okay with what’s going on inside of us, and then really dive deep into some things in our hearts… all so that God can come be what we need. We come to believe so many lies, come to so many conclusions, agree with them, and allow fear and doubt to drive the ship. But until you can take some time to sit still and allow yourself to face things, you don’t ever really allow peace to come in where you actually need it most. A.k.a you don’t actually know God as you truly can know Him in that moment. Otherwise we just distract ourselves or self-medicate. A.k.a peace is actually found through the storm, not by steering away from it. And it’s scary. But the way I see it… If you never face it, you never get the sweet taste of victory. And victory is never just for you. That’s a whole other blog.
I believe God is always wanting to reach out and reveal Himself in the deepest places, places that really matter in each person on the planet. He is the King of the Cosmos with so much to Him that we can never know or fully grasp His dimensions, facets, and awesomeness. He is a big ball of mystery, but who He is NEVER changes. He is so AWESOMELY HUGE but so close. He is not a man with a white beard, shirtless with bulging muscles holding a trident or a lightning bolt waiting on you to get it right, so that He can do His part. He is in LOVE. He gave EVERYTHING for you. And I believe that in every circumstance and situation, He is wanting to show Himself to be strong, loving, good, and kind. He is wanting to show us who He really is, if we would allow ourselves to BE, sit down in quiet, be willing to be honest and vulnerable, and listen to what He has to say. Because in the passing through it, God is actually right there in the middle of it, loving you more than you ever thought possible. And His love is what changes you forever.
In other words:
Sit. Breathe. Be silent. Cry. Get mad. Pout. Lay down. Shut up. Listen. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Phew* Maybe I should have just said that instead of typing all this out… Hopefully it all made sense. I’m doing my best to organize my thoughts. 🙂
Oh just so you know, I am back to the skipping through the fields, eating berries, giggling hand in hand, singing with the birds, and loving the sun. It’s deeper, truer, stronger and is on the road to becoming unshakeable. That’s what it’s all for in the end. 🙂
‘Til next time.