Friday, July 23, 2010

Which Wonderland?

Oh, how I’ve longed to be Alice. To have a magic looking glass that transports me to another world. Not the fantastical maze and wicked Cheshire of wonderland, but something more practical and yes, more unbelievable.

God gives me that glass. He’s constantly showing me things beyond my wildest imagination, and it just leaves me…


Because, let’s face it: we’re all here, in this life, and it’s tough to see anything other than that sometimes. But then something happens that takes us by surprise and we can only shake our heads and wonder what to make of it.

That’s where I’m at.

It happened again today, though today is just one in a long string of new visions. God’s working hard on my heart, on His redeeming work in my being. I’ve noticed the small things – the glint of my smile in the mirror, the coming together of a good piece of writing, the hearty laugh shared around a bar table with family. Who ever thought I could have these things, let alone hold them?

I’ve dreamed so much, so often, of precisely all that God is now giving me. It’s incredible. Truly. Sometimes, I find myself wondering – why now? Why answer the call of my heart now?

The more He reveals, the more I understand the waiting. The waiting was necessary or His goodness would have overwhelmed me. To the point I could never receive it.

In a way, it’s like getting a really awesome toy for Christmas, that one must-have thing you’ve been hinting (or begging) for all year…only to see at the last minute those small words across the box: “Some assembly required.”

Life doesn’t just fall into our laps, not the life God’s planned for us. It could, I suppose, but we would not be very receptive. It takes work to grab hold of His promises, moreso when they finally start coming to fruition. We have to give up a lot (in some cases, everything) in order to fully receive. That’s where we get stuck.

I’ve prayed for this and that over the years, working on my own heart and trying to decipher the meaning of the longings deeply hidden. And I really thought I’d be happy when they came about. Yeah, I’m happy. Giddy. Giggling. And in complete awe of my God.

But it’s also a little more than I bargained for. It’s happening more and more without my conscious knowledge, without much effort. I’ve learned (though I’m still learning) the art of letting go, of simply being. It makes me realize the straining I’ve been doing, the hard work I’ve put into being something I never was. And now that I’m giving that up, it’s really beautiful.

I’m really beautiful.

Questions of worth don’t hold me out of the fray any more; I’ll jump right in and surround myself with the action. Last week, I went out to dinner with a bunch of my family (sans mom), sat in the bar, ate a meal, and cracked a few jokes. We talked about the relatives as children, talked about current news, caught up on each other’s lives. For 24 years, you’d never find me doing that – I always hated, even feared, eating in public, and I’ve been known to bolt for a door more often than I’d like to admit. But I hung out, stayed for a couple of hours, didn’t hurry out after my meal. And still, when it was over, I was sorry I’d left.

I sat with another woman at church (and you know who you are). I didn’t plan to, and my old heart begged me not to, but it was really nice. It’s the first time in who knows how many years that I haven’t sat alone. The invitations were out there, but I am finally freed to accept them.

I stopped worrying about who might be watching me in worship, about who is walking in or out or who might be standing around taking count, serving communion, or whatever. In that freedom, I cried through an entire service, for no other reason than sheer exhaustion after giving up the façade.

That’s maybe most surprising (I’ll stop with the examples now, but there are literally thousands of them from just the past few weeks). I never realized how exhausting it all is. You know when you have a bad cold or sinus infection, and you don’t sleep very well at all because you can’t breathe? Then after it clears, you do nothing but sleep for several days because your body can finally rest? That’s how this is for me – I haven’t rested well in 25 years. God has given me new breath, and I am incredibly tired.

But full of energy at the same time. It’s a paradox that is still a little hard to grasp.

And then there are still the looking glass moments, the ones that show me the life God has always intended for me and the one He is still busy creating.

It’s looking in the mirror and forgetting to feel ugly, shining instead with beauty and wondering, “Can I really be that beautiful?”

It’s cruising down the Interstate and forgetting to be afraid, then pulling into the driveway and wondering, “Why didn’t that scare me?”

It’s hearing the phone ring and realizing you’ve forgotten to obsess about it for days, knowing you haven’t lost your expectation but you’ve simply sacrificed control.

It’s drinking gallons of water because your throat is raw from singing…and forgetting to care who heard.

It’s thinking about the future and not wondering what will happen because you know that no matter what, it’s taken care of. It will all work out fine.

It’s anticipating things coming in the near future – things you’ve prayed for but should scare you now that they are here – and being oddly at ease, a peace you can’t explain. There’s nothing to be afraid of any more.

That’s what this new life is proving to be for me. Freedom from fear. Freedom from pretense. I simply…am. I am letting go, trusting God, and getting so close to that reckless abandon I dream of.

Reckless abandon that shows me, with great clarity, the life I haven’t lived and I wonder why, when this is so beautiful and so free and so EASY, I didn’t come to this conclusion sooner. Why couldn’t I have let go twenty years ago?

It’s really cool to live without bitterness, without anger. It’s neat to be able to catch myself just before something stupid, think about it, and think better. It’s just really interesting and wonderful and still…foreign. Foreign though I’ve been there before, if that makes sense. Strangely new, but with that sense of knowing that makes it all…comfortable?

Yet there are still times I wonder, looking into the looking glass, if it can really be true. Can this really be my life? Can it be so wonderful and beautiful and striking and free? Is it sustainable? Is it…real?

So the question really is: which side of the looking glass have I been living on all of these years – the humble, rustic bedroom or the fantastical universe of my own creation?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Sometimes, you have to walk through the door.

We spend so much of our lives praying for open doors, neglecting open windows, and longing for whatever small chance we have to breathe that fresh air. But without some level of understanding and appreciation for the doors and the air in our lives, we run the risk of missing it altogether in search of something lesser.

This struck me last night while I was trying to get my dog to come back inside about 9:30 so that I could go to bed. She’s been wanting out each night at dusk and just after sunset to sniff around the tree and harass whatever it is that’s drawn her attention out there. But she’s an old girl, 12 years old, and with bad arthritis, I don’t like to leave her outside all night.

Despite her protests.

As I stood at the door calling her name (and she pretended not to hear me, even though she will bark in the house at a schnauzer six houses away on a leash, her ears perking to the slight jingle of its collar), my only thought was, “C’mon dog. I’m tired. I want to go to bed, and I can’t stand here all night with the door open. I’m letting the bugs in.” With that, I brushed feverishly to get an unidentified insect out of my hair and closed the storm door, all the while tapping the glass and snapping my fingers and calling her name.

She continued to ignore me.

I took a last disgusted look at the bugs gathering around the light, clinging to the small screen in the door, and stepped out, closing the door behind me. I walked a few feet out onto the deck, the recent rain soaking my socks, and continued calling her name. Oddly, here, the bugs in my hair and the noises of the night around me were not as they had been just moments before – not disgusting or a nuisance or a demanding presence. Instead, I understood my change of place.

There was no risk of the bugs or the night invading my world, tucked safe into my house. No, here I stood in their world, the beautiful outdoors in all its twilight splendor. Even the bugs made it beautiful, and where bed had loudly been calling for some time, I now had no hurry to get back inside. It struck me how quickly my response had changed; it was not that the world had changed, either inside or out.

It was simply that I had ventured to step through the door.

So I have been thinking about that as the antidote to fear, this idea of stepping through an open door even when what lies on the other side seems strange or disgusting or dangerous. Not because foolishly charging into a potentially disruptive situation changes anything but simply because the view is different on the other side of the door.

We know what’s in here with us, in the rooms where we’ve locked ourselves away. We know what to expect, what is routine, what will come next, and how to protect our sensibilities. Yet there is always something about the other side of the door that calls us; are we willing to step out?

From inside the door, the night was still beautiful. But the sickly yellow deck light reflected off the window and turned the outdoors into a shadow world – vague forms of nature I knew existed but could barely make out. Looking up, I saw only the rotting wood paneling of a house longstanding in this place. And the preservation of my box dominated my thoughts.

Don’t let the bugs in.

Stepping out allowed me to see the night in its beauty, respond to its call, and relish the moment. It allowed me to look up and see not that etched wood but an expanding sky with moon and stars poking through the leaves of that big tree.

My dog looked at me, wondering what could have drawn me out of the house so late at night. She continued nosing around even as I stood at the edge of the deck, calling her name. Whatever she wanted under that tree was not going away. And I never figured out what it was.

But when she finally hobbled her old, achy body up the stairs to the deck and looked at me, then at the door, then back at me, I wasn’t sure any more that I was ready to go in. Stepping out changed my perspective, and it was not a moment I wanted to give up.

How often do I find myself looking at a door God has opened, peeking my head out to call into the wild or take a quick breath of air, but panicking about something so small as a bug? How would my life change is I embraced those doors and walked through them, then allowed my paradigm to shift to respond to my new surroundings? That is the key, I think, to holy movement and Godly growth. It is being able to appreciate the place and to respond as it calls us to, not as we would if we’d stayed behind. Had I responded outside as I did in the house, I would have spent the evening in hurried, demanding yelling for the dog to come inside as I swatted thousands of bugs away from my head.

It would have been decidedly less beautiful, less vocal in my heart.

And what a tragedy.

So when God opens a door, don’t stand inside and tap your toe. Step out. Then, change the way you’re thinking about things so that you’re not tempted to bring the inside out; respond as your heart calls you and soak in the moment. It might just change everything, even the way you see.

It does for me, this I know. My tried and true rule is only confirmed by this experience, that rule of course being “If you want to be a bug, be a bug OUTside.” When I walk out through that door and change the way I’m seeing and experiencing this very same world, I realize that a bug outside hardly bugs me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


God is coming to change some of the ways I view this world, this life, these things that simply are. And as He does, I am finding it most difficult to figure out what to do with the leftovers.

That is, when I find what He’s not calling me to, what He’s never created me to be, I’m still left wrestling with what He is saying.

He has not created me to win any popularity contests. Ever. Of this, I am fairly certain by now because my life has been a testimony to that. That’s just fine with me. I’m not the kind of girl to get caught up in trying to be homecoming queen. But then I wonder why, knowing I’d never win the most votes, He made me so magnetic. There is something deep, drawing, and mysterious in me that can suck you in if you’re not careful, and I realize this about myself.

He has not endowed me with the ferocity of the lion. Even though I’ve too often found myself overly aggressive, it’s never worked out to my advantage (and it clashes so dramatically with my heart that I cannot ignore it; it is unholy). Not that readily comes to mind, anyway. That’s why I’m not going to land a job in sales any time soon. Knocking door-to-door for school fundraisers, I always ended up buying myself out. That overwhelming hunger to win at all costs, to cut corners, to bend the truth for the victory, is not part of my DNA. Pursue, stalk, kill…it’s not in me. But instead of that killer instinct, He granted me tenacity. A spirit that never gives up, that slowly but surely pushes its way forward and refuses to be deterred by the mud or the muck or the obstacles in the way.

He didn’t make me bubbly or exuberant; you’ll never see me skipping down the road or holding an impromptu pep rally. I’m not the fan screaming in the stands. Yet I am deeply passionate and certainly keep a tender flame kindled in my spirit.

He hasn’t given me the loudest voice, the one that carries on the wind as it bellows over the uproar. But He lets me create my own noise disturbance by having a voice that stills others, that silences them without force but with gentle words, insight, and wisdom (though with these last two, the more you gain, the less you feel like you have).

He didn’t ripple my body with muscle. I am not a heavy lifter. But He’s given me a kind of quiet strength that stands even against the wind.

He isn’t overflowing my life with energy, enabling me to be one of those superwomen of God who goes and goes and does and goes more. But He’s made me faithful and given more than enough to serve well where I can.

It seems, in all honesty, that some of these things are the ones I most seek, the ones I think will somehow define my life in a better way. Who doesn’t want to be homecoming queen at least once in her life, to have the popular vote behind her? Who doesn’t want to be vicious and ferocious at times, taking what she wants instead of waiting to be blessed by it? Who doesn’t want to be bubbly or skip down the street? That kind of girl is the life of the party! Who doesn’t want the loudest voice, a voice that lets them scream over everything, “Would ya’ll be quiet for just a minute!?” then whisper a quiet “thank you.” Who doesn’t want muscles and strength to move mountains out of the way by force instead of faith? Force certainly makes some things a whole lot easier. Who doesn’t want the energy to go and never stop, never need rest, but always be serving?

I’m not saying these are bad things to want, and I admit to wanting them at times myself. But for me, they are the wrong things to want. They are good, holy things in those God has given them to. He just hasn’t given them to me. And it can be really hard to overcome this urge to go out and get them anyway, to build or foster them in my life in place of feeling broken or somehow defective.

Because sometimes, it seems that the people who have what you don’t are the ones making the waves in the world. Where is your wave? My wave. I do not want to die only to have the world say, “Good for her. She led a peaceful life and never made a ripple.” How horrible!

But these things – these non-gifts that I so actively seek – can become consuming if I focus on them too long. Like a child on the candy aisle, I am susceptible to throwing a hissy fit or a temper tantrum when I’m trying so hard but still not what seems to be working for everyone else.

Those things will never work for me. In part, that is why I’ve undertaken this particular writing, and I would encourage you to do so, as well. When our heart seeks something like this, something that could be good and valuable and honorable and even edifying, and we continue to fall short, it’s easy to feel empty or worthless or dumb. We run messages in our heads, negative messages that say, “I’ll never be popular. I’ll never have friends. I’ll never command a crowd’s attention; my voice isn’t loud enough. I’ll never be strong…or endless…or bubbly…” or whatever it is we’ve been striving after.

That much is true. We may never be those things. But that does not leave us hollow, empty, God-forsaken shells that are left for dead or completely useless. When I sat down and took away all the things I was trying to be that God never made me, what I ended up with was a lot of leftovers. Those leftovers ARE who He created in me, finally revealed from behind the mask of the fake.

And with leftovers like these – magnetism, charisma, tenacity, passion, a stilling voice, strength, faithfulness, diligence, and service – what more could a girl ask for?

(As of the end of this writing, I no longer view these traits as leftovers. They are the gifts, blessings, and endowments of my Lord that enable me to serve Him in the way He is calling me, that give me beauty, and that make my heart dance with joy.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Excruciating God

This God of mine, of ours, is an excruciating God. The more He reveals of Himself to us – or perhaps, the more we are open to understanding about Him and come to experience of His goodness – the deeper grows the ache and the yearning in our hearts for something more.

As I’ve worked to empty myself of the hollow, Godless things that too long failed at filling me, I’m coming to find a couple of things. First, God tears at my heart by being absolutely everything I’ve always wanted (and often more), that I’ve never deserved, and that it pains me to not find on this earth. And second, this world would be much better off if we could all be a little more selfless, working our ways toward completely selfless. Let me explain that in a minute and how my views have changed.

God is everything I’ve ever wanted, even the things I never knew how to put words to. There are many people in my life who hold this or that thing against me. In some cases, they are absolutely right. I have fallen short, failed people, hurt friends and family and even strangers. Where’s it’s appropriate or even possible, I have apologized. Apologies without excuses go a long way. But in some hearts, you will never be more than they’ve already judged you, and that’s tough. It is hard to look into the eyes of someone you love and who professes to love you, knowing they hold a grudge and that you will never be even a shadow of yourself in their eyes because their bitterness refuses to let them see you any other way than they’ve prejudged. This is especially painful in those cases where they are just dead wrong, where they have you playing a role in their mind that is necessary for their world to make sense. You know you could revolutionize their paradigm through your witness – even a silent witness – but they are blind and hard-hearted and may never hear. It’s only been recently that I’ve recognized this as unforgiveness. In both cases. These individuals hold against me things that either I’ve done or that I’ve only done as a figment of their imagination, and this coldness and distance I feel between us is their unforgiveness. I’m sure you have individuals like this in your life, too.

God is forgiveness. He answers that ache that so painfully pushes me away from some relationships I long to restore, and the dichotomy between His mercy and the hardened heart is so powerful that I cannot help but weep and wonder how God came to be so good when I am so…not.

He is redemption and beauty and love and dialogue and gentleness. Oh, how my God is gentleness. This is the other area where I sense Him strongly as that quiet opposition to the nature that often tries to overtake me. The world is harsh; that is no secret to any of us, is it? I am harsh. I can be loud, abrasive, demanding. I take too many things out on myself. I seek and hoard control and attention at times, then curse myself for these things that even as I do them, I know they are not in my heart. They are far from who God has made me to be, and yet – it’s tough. Gentleness, especially with oneself, is very tough. You feel like if you cut yourself too much slack, you’ll grow aloof and be worthless or worse…ditzy. You feel like if you offer yourself forgiveness, you’re somehow denying God the privilege of convicting you. Indeed, you might be. We can be so forgiving of ourselves that we actually inhibit our growth; we need to learn to see and judge ourselves in truth so that we can continue growing and developing in righteousness without falling into the trap of dwelling on our shortcomings or beating ourselves up. You feel like if you speak softly, you’ll never be heard. If you walk slowly, you’ll never get anywhere. If you offer your assistance, the world will take advantage of you. If you give up anything you want, the world will walk all over you and you’ll never have anything.

That is the world’s definition of selflessness. It is…invisibility, a vanishing act that puts you dead last in a subjective, submissive position, meekly asking permission of the world for anything. That is not, as I am coming to understand, Godly selflessness.

Godly selflessness would go a long way in this world.

Godly selflessness is not defeated. It is not loser-ville. And it is not passive. It does not mean giving up everything you are or ever were in favor of serving others and making sure the rest of the world gets to be happy. It is…capturing your strengths, holding strong your own heart, and picking your battles.

Selflessness is what lets us create harmony where there’s opportunity for something less. You notice that your routine is about to overlap, just for a morning, with someone else’s in the house who maybe got a late start or had a change of plans, so you quietly change what you would normally do to accommodate and not disrupt their day because you understand that you’ve got it in your heart to adapt and accept that – without losing any of yourself or feeling relegated to lesser status.

You learn to let people make mistakes because it’s not important to prove you are better, smarter, wiser, stronger, whatever than them; it is more important to recognize the importance that what they are doing has for them, to encourage them to finish and feel accomplished.

You stop arguing because you are strong enough within yourself to know it doesn’t matter who is right or who gets declared the winner; the relationship is what matters. Even if you know in your own heart you’re right, you let it go and don’t hold arrogantly onto it or start to feel smug because there are bigger gains here than losses.

You don’t gossip, even though you might know all the juiciest dirt. Gossip is just social status – putting yourself above because you know and someone else below because you can’t believe they did that. You might not even mention it. Or maybe you’ll step out and quietly, to the side, offer some help when you know you’ve got something legitimate to lend to the situation.

These are just a few examples of true selflessness. It is not defeat. It is not an exercise in superiority, inferiority, or victimology. It is simply a recognition of the honest assessment of any given situation. What is worth what? And why? And to whom? And for how long? And what good does it really do? When you start to live in sweet surrender, giving your spirit truly over to the One Who created you, you start to understand that so much of what used to matter simply doesn’t.

And you find new ways to live that promote peace, enable harmony, create strength…without the horrible feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, isolation, or whatever the world tells you you should have. You are not destroying yourself. You are not letting anyone or anything else trample you down. You are not under anyone’s feet, not being walked on or taken advantage of. You’ve got this firm grasp of yourself that allows you, with honor and integrity and strength and absolute assuredness, to sacrifice yourself.

It is the true meaning of Christ’s commission to lay down your life.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Repent into Emptiness, Surrender

I’m not really who you think I am, or at least not who I am trying to be. It’s something that’s been tugging on my heart for awhile now, but it’s one of those things that’s really tough to admit and even tougher to address. How do you respond when you look around and your life is a lie?

You start by shutting down, dying to the illusion and the façade, and surrendering to the truth. That’s a good start, anyway. Easier said than done.

Too much of my life was defined by what others said I was – whether it was them convincing the world of that or just my own heart. Someone tells you what they think of you enough times, and you come to believe it for yourself. When I finally took the time to sit down with God and hear His painful truth, that changed everything for me, and those lies vanished. In their place, I embraced some of what I should be, but not all.

Because, I suppose, I wanted the chance to live as I might have been. That seemed the truest redemption to me. A second chance and the opportunity to live as created, to go back in time and capture again those should-have-been moments by living out the original story now.

This isn’t the original story, though, and by trying to wrap my fingers around what never was, I did perhaps more of a disservice to myself than the lies. I went from living as one thing I never was to living as something else entirely that I also never was. Was never meant to be. As the days pass, I grow more discontented each time I open my mouth or look around or take a step.

My life is still driven by all the wrong things. Noble thing, perhaps, in theory, but not in practice. It just seems that from the time I rise each morning until I fall asleep each night, I get more and more distant from myself and from God.

This makes me very unhappy, to say the least.

I’ve been discontented for awhile now. Time and again, I’ve wondered why that is. It would be easy to blame the external stuff, the painstaking job search, the relationships that are all-too-slow to change, the general rut that leaves me restless as I continue to search for purpose in this world. And restlessness does often lead to discontent.

But when I began to look, really look, at the situation, my heart sank. None of the answers to the questions I was asking would have helped my discontent at all. If anything, the answers would have deepened it. They would have stood in testimony that still, there was something off. Something not right here.

Because I am here, driving, pushing, yearning, wrestling. I’m praying but not listening to the answers. And growing in self-hatred feeling like there’s something innately wrong with me.

There is. I’ve finally put my finger on it.

To put it simply, I’m not living as surrendered a life as I’d like. There are many snares too easy for me to fall into, and that’s why I keep falling back into the same patterns that lead to my distress. I don’t fall as deeply these days, but it’s there.

Truthfully, it’s hard to put words to this because it is so much a silent struggle in my heart. It would be easy to get into the excuses, the story of how I got here, but that’s not enough. That’s a story I’ve told myself too often in justification. I’m tired of justification. It is time to drink of the sweet honey where God is calling me.

Drink of it or let it go. Living in the middle, knowing the honey is there but letting fear or frustration or excuse or convenience keep me from enjoying its sweetness, just doesn’t cut it. It’s time to make a choice.

My choice is honey. It is Christ, my Rock. This means several things, the first of which is surrender.

Prayerful nights with God have given me many answers I never wanted to hear. I’m not going to be comfortable in this body or this life or this place until I embrace everything He’s made me…and give up everything He hasn’t.

He hasn’t made me to be loud; He’s created a kind of quiet stillness.

He hasn’t made me to be demanding; He’s created a spirit of graciousness and patience.

He hasn’t created me to be busy; He’s created mindfulness.

He hasn’t created me to be hurried or rushed; He’s created eternity.

He hasn’t created me to walk hard; He’s given a gentle stride.

He hasn’t created me to be panicked or fearful or frustrated or disparaged; He’s provided peace.

Why, then, does my human nature insist on the formers and reject the latters? Somewhere, there is an unhealed portion of my heart that says that one day, God might not be God. He might fail me, leave me, abandon me, or spitefully trick me into falling for His promises.

God is touching that piece of me. As I come to realize how contrary to my true self this life I live is, I repent. That’s not how I want to be; I want the fullness of whatever God’s got for me. First things first, that means wholly welcoming and embracing every little piece of me that He’s designed, that He’s formed through His wisdom. Then, that means living it out.

It’s tempting to run too far the opposite direction here, knowing what God hasn’t created for me and how easy it is to fall into those traps. It’s easy to back off completely, seclude myself, and promise by force of will to do better.

God hasn’t created me to be a recluse; He’s created community.

He hasn’t created me to stop; He’s offering a fork in the road, a new direction to take.

He hasn’t created me to succeed by my will alone; He’s lending His strength and endurance, more than I could ever need.

That leaves me somewhere in the middle, not wanting to continue this lie of a life but cautious of running too far the wrong way. It does a girl no good to turn away from what God didn’t create her to be…to be something else He hasn’t created.

I’m pursuing a new position, a new posture. Effective immediately. It’s not a journey I imagine I’ll do much talking about after this; talking should not be necessary. And I’m not doing this for you. It’s for me and for the Lord, who is my Shepherd. It does mean some potential changes, though.

You might not see me in some places as much as you used to. In others, you might see me more. I may be quieter for awhile or slower or softer or whatever I happen to be working on in my heart. Maybe it will come off as depression or anguish; it might be. Don’t think that something is wrong. On the contrary, something beautiful is happening.

I know that because it’s already begun. Several nights ago, I prayed the prayer that began this work in me as I saw some significant little things popping up and getting in the way. The distance between my Daddy and I was painfully wide…and growing wider. He took my prayer and turned it into this eye-opening experience and invitation to repentance.

I am accepting that invitation. It’s amazing how quickly things change. I’ve noticed it already in my heart and in my step, in my thoughts and in my tongue. Slowly, but surely, God continues to redeem me. (He’s really awesome that way.)

There is also a profound slowness to everything, this sense of eternity that is hard to describe. And a deep, deep pain resonating throughout the journey. This is an honest death; many things need to die, and they slowly are. The struggle is to now not rush to fill the void left by the departure of unrighteous and unholy living.

It’s ok to be empty. It’s ok to be slow. It’s ok to ponder and muse and wonder about things, to pray earnestly and listen patiently. It’s ok to say nothing and not know everything and just to simply BE.

That may be the hardest part of all of this for me – embracing the emptiness in the growth period where the old has died but the new is not fully formed. But it’s going to be just fine. There is something beautiful about that.

In the midst of the emptiness, the slowness, the wandering, the waiting, the praying, the listening, the restlessness, there is one truth that remains and grips my heart:

It’s all God.

To pursue His life, His purpose in me, to honor Him and live holy and righteous, humble and content, it’s time to live in reckless abandon and sweet surrender.

May God come into my heart and restore and redeem me as I pursue His righteousness and the great design He has for me.