On the outside looking in, I grow agitated. I know this is all temporary…made for more…a greater purpose. Is that why it is so hard to move through the routines? Is this why I come undone and lose control? Dodging and sifting through the robotic-surface-level-monotonous beings always moving…those who are missing life?
Allergic to wheat, dairy products, strawberries…and most of all…small talk…fake, false, façades.
I have to remind myself to breathe.
I turn green. I become Hulk. Angry.
We, all living lives, have issues, complications, struggles, triumphs, victories, joys, celebrations, gifts, disasters, chaos, mistakes, failures, temptations, aches. We all live stories…yet when we gather, in a time when it should be embraced to express the chapters of our lives, all of a sudden we turn into models for the next Colgate commercial. People plaster on a smile as big as the moon and start vomiting small talk and good cheer. Let’s all just hold hands and sing if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. And, at the same time, I cannot handle the people who always have grumpy pants on. The people who make mountains out of mole hills and always have an issue they need to dump on out. Can you stop grumbling please?
The small chatter, the grumbles…it is loud. It is deafening. It is debilitating to the soul.
(I know I am misunderstood. Half the time I do not even understand myself. Complicated is just one of the many qualities I would pin on. And because we live in a world where people get riled and fired up over a comment, I’ll go on to say)...No, it is not wrong to be happy. It is not wrong to smile. I am not saying everyone who is happy is faking it and really hiding a deep dark tragic secret. I know sometimes people want to hold hands and sing and talk about the texture of the chairs they sit in or chicken casserole recipes. Also, I am the first person to admit that there are some weeks where I wear my grumpy pants without washing them…over and over. So we all have been on either side.
I am just saying…it is time to be hungry for the real.
I am sick of us making everything in life all about our selfish selves.
I am tired. I am hungry. I do not feel good. I need coffee. That person looked at me weird. I must be fat. I am too complicated. I am too emotional. I cry too much. I should cry more. I should pray more eloquently. I should read this book. I should go talk to that person. I am bored. I will never amount to anything. I didn’t like the songs we sung this morning. I should have worn something else. I am lazy. I have a headache. I need more caffeine. I should have done these things today. I need more sleep. I should do more. I am not enough. I failed again. I am too angry. I was not challenged enough today. I am facing too many challenges. I am weak. I am caged. I am too shy. I should be more organized. Things never go my way. That person always gets their way. I am a loser. I must be doing something wrong. I must be too quiet. I am unworthy.
This mindset…a piece of our fallen human nature...
"An underlying, gut feeling of failing...I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy…shame…”-Stasi Eldredge Captivating
How many thoughts go through our head, on a daily basis, always about “I”? How can we be better? So…how do we change this heart and mindset? How can we save our lives? Lose it.
“If anyone is going to follow me, he must deny himself,’ Jesus would say repeatedly. In a world where everything revolves around self—protect yourself, promote yourself, preserve yourself, entertain yourself, comfort yourself, take care of yourself—Jesus said, ‘Slay yourself.” –David Platt Follow Me
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it…” Luke 9:23-24
The themes of this year have all been surrounded around boldness. Following the Lord, with radical actions and losing the life so we can gain true life…the real life. Defeating lies with truth…equipping and engaging the heart, mind, soul in the Word so we can be obedient, willing servants—always hungering for more of Him…doing it all with and by the power of the Holy Spirit who abides within.
How do we do this? What does it look like to actually live a life that is all about, for, with, directed and centered on God?
It is wrestling season in my life right now. God and I have been spending quite a lot of time in the rings. Always wrestling. So many questions, so much I do not understand, challenges, doubts, anxieties, fears, worries, future, circumstances. I am not ok. I am angry. I am overwhelmed. I am frustrated beyond belief. And all this—I give to God. And we wrestle…because He is Father and I am stubborn daughter.
I remember Jacob...“a wrestler like us…refuses to let the man go. He doesn’t even really know who the man is, can’t clearly see his face, but he begs, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me.’ And the man turns to Jacob and gives him a new name. Names him
“There’s always more to the story…the exact significance of God’s touching Jacob upon the sinew of his thigh? The sinew of the thigh is the strongest in the human body. A horse couldn’t even tear it apart…The Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing with us…” -Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts
I am wrestling to be broken. My friend reminds me, “He always wins”. And I strive and yearn to lose…to be broken. Isn’t the breaking…part of the blessing? Done so we can lose this life…to embrace Christ? Lose the “I”. To live Radical. To live obedient. To live ready and willing.
It can be easy to come up with excuse. Refuse. Immediately: at once; instantly; without any intervening time or space; in direct relation; as soon as. The word, it describes an action. Over and over it is used to describe the actions of Jesus and the disciples in the Bible.
Why do we drag our feet? I do not always know where it is the Lord calls me to go…but I do know nothing will ever get done by just sitting. We are not saved by works…but do not let that be an excuse for your behavior. Faith always ignites action. We are required and commanded to be obedient…belief should give way to a willing heart.
It is never about us…because we are not worth it. Always about the One who satisfies the languishing soul…Jesus.
It is hard. It is confusing. It requires sacrifice, discipline, brokenness, faith, trust, hope...remember the bigger picture. His will. Because just the thought of being separated from Jesus makes the lungs collapse and heart hurt. Lose the life.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but He who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23