Sunday, September 26, 2010

Giving Up

Have you ever completely given up on someone or something? Have you ever wanted to?

I know I have often wanted to give up--on myself. Sometimes I think my life is too much and too hard for me, and I want to just cop out of everything and, I don't know, go curl up alone in a hole for the rest of my life? (I've never been completely clear what it is I would do.) But I never have. However, I don't take any credit for that fact. In those times when I have really truly wanted to give up, it has been something from within me that is *not* just me (the Holy Spirit?) that has popped up and said, "No, you are not going to sit there curled up in a ball crying forever. You are going to get up and keep trying." I've fought it, but it's there, and it won't let me give up.

I think that God has been incredibly patient with me. No matter how many times I get melodramatically pessimistic, no matter how many times I have entirely the wrong attitude, He sticks around. And when there's something He's trying to tell me? Does He tell me once or twice and then leave me alone? No. He keeps telling me until I finally listen. He keeps teaching me the same lesson over and over, and I'm the one who gets frustrated about the fact that it seems to take me about eighty thousand repetitions of the same lesson to actually learn it.

One thing I realized just this morning is that one of my fears is that God will one day say, "Oh, she'll never get it, why am I wasting My time?" and walk away. I'm afraid of this because I'm foolish enough to think that God might be like me. It's perfectly obvious to me that in His place, I would eventually give up and walk away.

Thank you, God, for not being like me. That is what makes You so worthy of all my praise and worship, all my life, all my heart, all my thoughts. I'm sorry that I fall so short so often of giving You all that I am.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Weird is the new normal
Terrible is the new good
Crazy is the new sane

I have always hated change. If something is different, if I am going to do something I have never done before, if I am leaving what I consider to be my normal zone of existence in either time, place, or people, I am sure that that means something terrible is happening. I've heard it said that change is the only constant, and it has often seemed that, for me, that was going to translate into "fear is the only constant". Not surprisingly, I have never thought that constant fear sounded like a good way to live. I only thought I might be stuck with it.

Now, there is nothing in the Bible that instructs us to live in fear. The Bible says of fear that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7)and that "perfect love casts out fear . . . and the one who fears is not perfected in love" (1 John 4:18). Nor does the picture given in the Bible of what God wants for our lives leave room for fearfulness. Jesus says of His sheep, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10), and He also says (in a passage where He is giving instructions on abiding in Him, in His Word, and in His love) "These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full" (John 15:11). I don't know about you, but I don't find living abundantly and having my joy made full to be compatible with living in fear.

But, I think to myself, to *not* be afraid would be a big change. And I don't like change. So, right now, I'm in a really good place: laying down new and better patterns, having more confidence and less shyness, just generally being a lot happier with my life the way it is. And that's great. But it's so different that I find it downright disconcerting. That's why I'm writing this--to remind myself that change can actually be good--to show myself that a more joyful and abundant life *is* God's will for me and not some wacky innovation of my own.

Therefore, I can feel free to enjoy it, and to trust God that it will not be merely a phase.

PS: a note on the three lines at the top. It is an expression of how disoriented I feel. My new normal is quite different from the old one; I am enjoying things that I used to be afraid of; I am living in a way that is more intense and "out there" than usual. Here's hoping it lasts!