The continuing saga of an awesome Friday night...
Friday night was supposed to be my victory, another part of it anyway. It was the kind of night I wouldn't even have thought about for the past several years, the kind of event that I'd tell myself didn't sound fun anyway so that I wouldn't feel bad about not going. Although I was never short of excuses for not going. But through the incredible grace of a friend, there was a ticket waiting at will call in my name and I determined to go.
Not just to go, but to win. To make that night a victory.
I've been kind of all about that lately, as my flesh clings to the past and my heart clings to the Presence and I so want the Presence to win. I want God to be strong in my life. Not just strong, but stronger - stronger than the fears and the worries and the faithfulness that too often holds me back. I have been waiting on God to show Himself in this one little area that if I'm not careful seems like a big area with thousands of excuses for why it has to be.
Excuses but no truth.
My trip to Tennessee earlier this month and my awesome Friday night were both set up to be victory over that one little area, just like many other things have been set up for such a win over the past several months as I have hungered to come out victorious.
The problem with the victory is that if you're looking for the win, you lose. The truth is that the way I was going into it, I was watching my weakness. I was watching my failure points. I was watching the little cues here and there that would tell me I was going to lose, and I was doing everything I could to overcome those nuisances one at a time. In the process, missing these awesome opportunities entirely and realizing that while on paper, it may seem that victory scores the win, in actuality, my own brokenness, fear, and failure still dominated the night - forefront in my mind, constantly on my thoughts while I told myself I was overcoming them. With a smile on my face.
It's so easy for us to think that the key to victory in our lives is standing against. That we have to muster our strength and stand firm, that we have to refuse to give ground to the broken things that would try to take over our minds. They try to take over our minds because that's how they sneak into the rest of our lives until one day, you realize you haven't thought about anything else in awhile and even when you thought you were winning, you were losing. Then not only have you lost the victory, but you've lost a whole series of moments you'll never get back in which you were still more focused on your brokenness than the blessing two feet in front of your face.
I don't know about you, but I've lost too many moments trying to win. There has to be a better way.
And there is. Instead of standing stronger, choose simply to stand. And for once in your life, forget. Forget to remember that you're fighting a war. Throw yourself into the moment.
Thank the Lord that Friday night, I forgot to remember. That's the key, I think, to the victory. Forgetting to remember. Forgetting to fight. With the recent Tennessee excursion and Friday's awesome night, I forgot to fight. I got so wrapped up in the moment, so involved with what was happening around me and in front of me that I forgot to recognize the war waging within me, which magically called a cease fire in a moment that I wasn't listening for the next ricochet.
I was standing there Friday night, worshiping in this awesome opportunity before me, and I wasn't thinking about the win. I wasn't thinking about how long it's been since I've done this. I wasn't thinking about the blessing of being there. I was just there, just present to what was unfolding in front of me, and not wrapped up so much in the victory. It felt like I resigned myself to, "Win or not, I'm here. And I'm staying. And I'm going to have a good time."
And then I won. Without thinking about it, without fighting for anything, without taking a stand, but rather simply standing to worship, I won. All of the trouble I brought with me Friday night, all the doubts and fears and insecurities, all the hauntings of a memory that remembered things like this just don't go well for me any more...all of that was silenced and I had that night. I had an awesome Friday night in which to experience life as it is meant to be lived, not in the battle or in the victory or in the win or the loss, but in the moment.
Purely in the moment. Forgetting to remember that tonight was supposed to be anything more than this. Forgetting to remember that I had higher hopes on the battlefield for Friday night. Forgetting to remember it was a battle; totally lost in the blessing.
The truest form of victory is to fully engage in the moment and not give footing to your enemy. You can't even think about it. Just live.
When I think back on Friday night, I'm not thinking about the victory. I'm not thinking about the win. I'm thinking about the incredibly awesome things that started to unfold before my very eyes and my very heart because I forgot to remember. Not consciously, of course; there were just more pressing things on my mind. A moment that I didn't want to miss.
Somewhere in forgetting to remember, I opened the space for God to show up in a night I will never forget. And that makes me stronger.