Rest

I had a maintenance man scheduled to come by today. No specific time. I woke up around 8am to be ready for him. But I couldn’t get it together. I was so tired from the days before.

I finally laid down on the sofa and passed out. Dreaming. Off in deep sleep. Everything I intended for the morning unfinished.

It was after 1pm when I finally awoke from my sleep. I lay there thinking I probably missed the guy. Then a knock on the door almost immediately. There he was.

After I let him in, an assurance from inside about other matters: “Rest, enjoy My rest.” Just because I don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean God isn’t at work. Or that He is late. Or that I missed Him. The promises of God are always on time.

New Clothes

I was wearing the same clothes all the time. They were very comfortable. My favorites. But they were falling apart. I kept hanging on. Excusing the holes. The broken clasps. I didn’t want to let go.

They were perfect for me when I first aquired them. But it took time to see that things weren’t the same anymore. Now I was in pain. They were no longer a part of my life. They were distracting me from life because of their state of falling apart.

All of a sudden one day I asked myself, why am I putting up with this? I have the ability to lay these clothes to rest and do what I need to do. Those clothes did their best. Better than expected. Better than ever before. But they were finally wearing out.

So I bought new clothes. Just a few at first. It felt too extravagant to move on too quickly. But after wearing the new clothes, I could hardly stand the old ones. I saved them for absolute last.

In short time after wearing the new clothes, I bought more. And was ready to more readily let go of more and more of the old.

There was risk. Would I like these new clothes as much as the old ones? What if they didn’t live up to the old ones? What if they didn’t last as long? What if they didn’t fit the same? Only a few turned out to be misses. Most turned out to be hits. Thanks to my old clothes, I new more and better what I wanted when looking for the new clothes.

Can’t put my new wine in old wineskins. Here’s to honoring the old. And courageously embracing new life.

Who Are You?

Where do you find your identity? Who are you?

Do you define yourself by your career? What if your career is stripped from you? By something in the industry, your failure, or the failures of others? Who are you then? Do you still have value?

What if you lost all your money and had to resort to begging? Would you be just a beggar?

Do you define yourself by your appearance? What if you had a terrible accident or lost your health? Who would you be then?

Do you define yourself by who you are associated with? By your family, your spouse, or your friends? What if they all were gone or turned on you? Who would you be then? Do you still have value as an unmarried person or an outcast?

Do you define yourself by your level of educational attainment? What if you lost your mind? What if your knowledge and skills were not needed in the market anymore? Who would you be then?

Do you define yourself by your children or the lack thereof? What if they turned on you or were gone? What would that say about you? Do you still have worth when you are unable to conceive? What if you have aborted a child? Does that define you?

What if you were paralyzed, blind, and mute? Totally dependent on others? Would you still have value? How would you define yourself then?

What has been stripped away from you? What are you missing today? What is holding you back from moving forward? From enjoying this day?

Certainly sadness is not a crime. Or anger. But what story are you telling yourself about who you are and your place is this world? What story are you telling yourself about God?

Your time is not over. But even if it was… who are you?

Here’s something to consider: you were created in the image of God. What if I am the Sarah-ness of God? What if there is nobody else in all of time past or time future who is able to represent the Sarah-ness of God like I’m able to? What if your name is Joe or Pam and you are the Joe-ness or Pam-ness of God?

Look at the animals. So much diversity. So much Creativity. All of nature, even in its fallen state, is telling us about who God is. He created majestic sealife and silly puppies. Beautiful flowers and huge mountains.

How much more do His humans bear His image? The love that so passionately moves us. The courage we have. Our concern for others. Our creativity. The excellence of an athlete or the smile of a child. Even our tears.

There is only one of you in all of Creation. You alone are able to be you. You alone carry what the world needs to see about the you-ness of God. Nobody else can express that exactly like you can.

Now that would give you meaning everywhere. To yourself. To others. To God.

Of course we pervert the image we have been given. That’s a given and not the issue at hand. But I’d bet a good portion of our perverting comes out of not knowing our value and who we are. Of trying to be something more and yet less than who we already are.

What if God loves you? Really loves you? What if He enjoys nachos and a jamming beat as much as I do? What if He enjoys sunsets and the ocean as much as I do? What if His heart breaks for the broken as much as mine does?

What about you?

Sufficient

God’s strength is sufficient but the process of releasing my desire to be self-sufficient has been full of me kicking and screaming all the way. Part of that resisting has been a stubborn insistence that I must feel better and have answers in order to move forward.

Finally accepted that God will give me the strength to take the next step even if my emotions are not settled and I have no idea what the future holds. Have to accept that I am capable of moving forward even if I don’t feel like it. Honoring the feelings without giving them the power to paralyze me.

My new mantra is: just do the next thing. It’s good enough that I take care of business. I don’t know how religion traps us into thinking the only worthy pursuits are those that change the entire world. Paying your bills, taking care of your space, cooking a tasty meal, enjoying Creation, loving well the ones you’re with – those are significant accomplishments. Focusing on what I do know and leaving God the rest. Leaving Him the business of greatness.

Our economy is not His economy. His thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways. It might be the simple “little” thing you do well today that sets in motion events that effect great change in some tomorrow. Everything you do today is planting seeds. Even giving a stranger a smile.

I think He delights to participate with us to help blow up the small boxes we and others try to put Him in. But at the end of the day, is His opinion enough for me? Do I find my identity in Him alone? What parts of me still do I still allow to be held hostage by the opinions of others?

Boxing

I’m learning to run to God more. My Trainer. My Coach. My Physician. I’m amazed how He lifts me back up and gets me going again.

I’ve never really leaned in before like I’m learning to do now. Receiving comfort that I feel like I don’t have to explain or defend. But hope that I wish I could share with the whole world.

Fall onto God. Give Him the whole ugly weight. Don’t take it back. Wait. Ask for the next step.

I think the longer you walk, especially if you pray to be closer and to know God more, the less information you get for the future. It feels sometimes like I literally live minute to minute. Manna. I can’t carry today’s comfort into tomorrow much anymore. I have to go gather anew every day. New mercies. New love.

It takes abiding to a whole other level. I don’t like to be that dependent. It feels scary to let go and trust.

The hard part is releasing my expectations. Being in the moment. Learning to be ok with things not going according to my plan. And being patient. Holding onto His character and His promises even when all circumstances are screaming the opposite.

My strength fails but thankfully He pours out a fresh new batch every time I ask. Just amazes me. I am a tiny undetectable speck in the universe and feel the presence of our Creator. Just blows my mind. And I’m not “special”; He’s there for you in the same way also.

Seek. Knock.

Load Paths

Forgive me while I geek out here. I am learning about load paths in my AutoCAD class. Basically, the idea of load paths is that you build a house in such a way as to transfer the energy of a force to the foundation. That way the force doesn’t destroy all the other little parts of the house that cannot withstand the force on their own.

See where I am going with this? Makes me so happy. Lol. 😀 God built this Creation. He is our foundation. Think about the verse where Jesus says His load is easy and His burden is light. When we rest on Him as our foundation, instead of resting in our own strength, we can then transfer every force through us and onto Him. Then we won’t be shaken down. He doesn’t expect us to be able to hold it all together on our own. How cool!?

Free To…

I was talking to someone yesterday about why I don’t go back to certain things from my past. Those things in the past were making me sick and I’m not willing to trade my current health for the comforts from the past.

I had the thought that my current apartment situation is a perfect metaphor. The one picture is part of the ceiling in the bathroom of my old apartment that was making me sick.

The other picture is of my current sleeping situation in the new apartment while I wait for my furniture to be delivered on Friday.

From my friend’s perspective, maybe it looks like I am missing out right now. But even in spite of all my current challenges, I am happier now than I’ve been in 16 years. I have more peace of mind, heart, and soul than I’ve ever had. It’s not always easy but I have way more joy and true freedom than before.

Just like with my apartment, some of the same, but mostly out with the old and in with the new. I settled for less before. Out of desperation. But God is delivering me and giving me a better, higher view.

Just like with my apartment, my life is now stripped down to the bare essentials. Compared to the past, it looks empty in certain ways. But it will be filled again in due time.

But the best of all: I CAN BREATHE! All the pain of barely sleeping on these pillows pales in comparison to being able to wake up and BREATHE and not feel sick. Similarly mainly in the spiritual sense, I was uncomfortable for awhile but it has all been worth it because I don’t feel sick in my mind anymore. My heart doesn’t hurt in the same ways anymore. And I am finally FREE.