Thursday, December 29, 2011


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
Hebrews 13:8
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17

Have I mentioned that I don't like change? (Oh, only every other time I write or so.)

This has been a year of change for me . . . of adjusting and re-adjusting, and changing my mind, and getting caught in weird cycles that don't seem to end, wondering who I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to do, and not coming anywhere near figuring it out, because I have a different idea every time I think I might know, or because half my ideas are unlikely and the other half unpleasant . . . or because I don't have any ideas that day.

I feel like I'm not good enough at what I want to be good enough at, or that I don't even know what I want to be good at, or that I will never be good enough at anything. I feel like everything I really want is something I can't have, or something that I am afraid would actually make me miserable--and I can't decide if I'd be more miserable with it or without it--

I feel like my dreams got taken away and haven't been replaced yet.

I feel like I must be a terrible, ungrateful, jealous person or I would not feel all these things.

And yet somehow, I know that God is good and that He loves me. And that even amidst all this change within and around me, He has remained constant.

I don't normally care for the practice of posting big chunks of song lyrics divorced from the music, but I want to end on this note. I wrote this song in late October of this year:

To You I bring
my longing heart
To You I bring
my desire

To You I bring
my aching heart
The questions I
cannot answer

You see me whole
in all my secrets
You hold my world
inside Your hands

And yet You love
me through it all
I trust in You
to be steadfast

You know what I
cannot yet know
Please guide me through
This confusion

You see me whole
in all my secrets
You hold my world
inside Your hands

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too Good to be True

As they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them.

Luke 24:36-43

I am often tempted to take a rather dark view of the world. I am often inclined to take my sorrows more seriously than my joys, as if the one were the real thing, the tangible reality, and the other were ephemeral and incorporeal.

But does sorrow actually have more real substance than joy? 

In this scene following the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were incredulous. Was Jesus really standing before them? Was He a spirit? Should they be worried instead of rejoicing? And His response was: Touch Me. I am flesh and bone. I am real.

I read all the stories of His betrayal and suffering and crucifixion in each Gospel one after the other, and appreciated them for the real Sorrow and the real Pain that they show, because it is a comfort to me to see these parts of what it is to be human acknowledged by God and shared by Christ. Which is a good and right comfort. But then I read all the stories of His resurrection, and I was convicted about my tendency to focus on those parts of life and forget the others--forget how much I have to be thankful for.

Mind you, I am not saying that sorrow is not also real and tangible, only that Joy is quite as real. That, in a sense, there's no such thing as too good to be true. Because of the Good that is True and gives Joy. Because God.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"--yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

James 4:13-16

I like making plans. I prefer to have a plan whenever possible, and I prefer things to go according to that plan. Obviously, it doesn't always work out that way.

I am currently approaching a big shift in my life, a major lifestyle change, the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It's not actually happening for six months, but I'm thinking about it a lot and trying to figure out what exactly it is that I'm going to do next. At first, I was really terrified, because I was drifting without ideas. Now, I'm still nervous about the change, and I still have a lot of thinking to do, but I have some ideas, at least, which is nice. Interestingly enough, the having of the ideas was chronologically preceded by being more at peace with not being sure yet, with not knowing, with not having a plan.

During all this thinking and planning, I had a birthday that sounded like a significant number to me. It sounded so grown up, and I'm pretty sure that I used to think that by the time I reached the age I am now I would have things a lot more figured out than I actually do yet. That made it even harder to be OK with being confused and planless, but I've started being OK with it.

See, I used to think that by the age I am now I would need to be "set" on some particular path that I would then just Follow For the Rest of My Life. Well, I'm not set. And that's making me think that I actually have more time to figure things out than I thought I did, or that maybe I'm not ever going to figure it all out, that it's always going to be a journey, an experiment, an adventure.

It's OK if I don't know what the Big Plan is. I just need to find the next step, and keep asking God to show me where His will is for me right now. Not ten years from now or two years from now, but right now.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How Not to Accomplish Goals

Ít is better to try and fail epically than to not try at all.

Or at least, so I say. This is one of the things I believe that it is hard for me to actually put into practice. I want something, but I'm afraid I can't have it, so I pretend I don't want it. I work at something, but I'm afraid I won't succeed, so I don't try very hard. Then I realize what I'm doing and what its result inevitably will be.

If I distract myself from the things most important to me by putting more effort into somewhat less important things, I'm always going to be stuck wondering why it is I'm doing better at the less important things while disappointing myself in those most important things.

If I spend my time running away from my own goals, I'm never going to reach them! If I run towards them, I might fail--I might fail badly--but it's still the only way I'm going to have any chance at success.

Another element is the unexpected. I fear the unexpected because if I'm not prepared for something, if I didn't know it was coming, I don't think I'm going to be able to handle it well. If I don't know what's going to happen then I'd rather nothing did. The bad part is that this goes for unexpected opportunities. Sometimes I say no (or run the other way) to an opportunity that I really want, just because I wasn't expecting it, or don't know what the outcome will be, so it scares me.

But what if the path of daily happenstance is actually trying to lead me somewhere that I really want to go? Am I going to miss it because I was scared to take a detour?

I'm trying to learn to be more scared of not trying than I am of failing. Or, better yet, not to be motivated by any fear, but to actually be positively motivated by the desires that God has placed in me and by the trust that He knows what He is doing, whether I was "prepared" or not.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Confession

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:18-25, ESV

I have a confession to make. Like so many things, this confession has a good side and a bad side. The good side is this: I care about the issues of the world. I care about violence and injustice and starvation and exploitation. Ever since when I was 12 I read this one book that mentioned some of these things that happen in the world, I have cared, and I have wanted to do something.

Another good thing is that I have always known that this is something that God cares about, too. There are so many verses about releasing the captives and caring for the poor and doing what is just by our neighbors; it is clearly important to Him.

So, I care, and I recognize that He has called me to care, and not  only to feel something, but also to do something. What's the bad side of my confession?

Well, thinking about the things that are wrong in the world is painful, and I am kind of a wimp. Knowing that I am supposed to do something, and not knowing what to do about it, is hard. For years I have been actively avoiding and putting off the subject. My reasoning was, that I didn't know what I specifically was supposed to do, and until I knew that, why not just not think about it at all? It was much easier that way, so I put that part of my heart to the side, and I didn't talk about it or seek it. Until quite recently, that is.

More recently, I have been thinking about the fact that knowing God's will in an area of one's life comes from actively spending time listening to Him in that area, both in prayer and in His word. I have also been thinking about the fact that most things for me work out to be a slow and gradual process, not a sudden realization. Putting those two things together means that, unless I start seeking these issues, thinking about them, praying about them, reading about them, talking about them, then I am never going to know what it is I am called to do, and it is going to be a small and guilty secret for the rest of my life that there was something I was supposed to do, and I was never brave enough to find out what it was.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No Pressure!

I have a new motto.

It is a promise to myself about what my motivations and attitudes will be, and what they will not be.

It is a promise that this year will be different. That I will not waste time in feeling guilty when I take a break, or in hanging around half-working just because I don't feel entitled to a break. That I will, in fact, take breaks when I need them for mental or physical health and that I will NOT feel guilty about being a finite human being with a certain temperament that comes with its limitations.

It is a promise that I will never again use my own personal version of the carrot-and-the-stick method of motivation--my own personal method being all stick and no carrot. It is a promise that avoidance of guilt, or obligation to match what someone else is doing, or fear of failure, will NOT be the reason that I do what I do.

It is a promise that I will find a true and proper motivation to work, in personal enjoyment of the material, in a genuine desire to do well, in a healthy non-pressurized desire to please and serve others, in a sense that what I am doing I am doing because I am called of God to do it and not because it is required by an institution or an organization.

It is a promise that I will make time alone with God seeking Him in my own quiet, creative, introverted ways a priority, because otherwise I will never find the energy to do the work He has called me to, or the guidance to know what that work is.

And most of all, it is a commitment to focus on the process rather than the destination, to focus on direction rather than measuring where I am as if it is supposed to be the end result, and to find satisfaction in the process of becoming the person that God has called me to be, in patience and in trust, without fear, without apology, and without the need to compare myself to others.

Monday, August 1, 2011


What is trust? It is not needing to know all the answers before you believe in something. It is following God's peace through the Holy Spirit and believing that, even if what we are doing does not make sense to us now, even if we do not know why we should do a thing,that somehow it all makes sense. It is being obedient in disregard of the consequences (or of knowing what the consequences are). It is bringing all our feelings, hurts, desires, and questions to God, believing that He can understand, that He will heal, that He will give us exactly (no more, and no less) what we truly need from Him in comfort or information--if only we will trust Him enough to bring these things to Him in faith.

It is piloting a ship in uncharted waters with no land in sight, but being unafraid because you have listened to the right person about what your compass-bearing should be.

It is believing that the character of God is entirely good. It is believing that His word is truth. It is seeking Him when we cannot see and asking Him when we cannot know. It is listening to the still, small voice and heeding His instructions. It is knowing that God never stops loving, never abandons, never lies, never betrays; knowing that those who trust in Him will not be disappointed. It is realizing that we as humans do not need to understand in order to trust in Him.

It is taking to Him and to His Word all the twisted and broken pieces of our wrong beliefs about Him, about ourselves, about our relationship with Him, and letting Him break that portrait and replace it with His own truth. It is knowing that He understands, in a way that we could not, precisely who we are and what we need and how we learn and how we relate to the bigger picture. It is trusting that He will show us exactly as much of the picture as we truly need to know, if only we will ask.

It is letting Him break us out of the prisons that we have devised for our own "safety" but that really just prevent us from flying . . . it is trusting His timing, both in the sense of waiting on Him and in the sense that when He tells you that it is time to do a thing, it must be the right time to do it!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kingdom-Bearing, Gifts, and Fruits

"Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'"
Luke 10:8-11

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-8

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

During a Bible study, I was struck by the idea presented to me that we, as servants of God sent by Him, carried the kingdom with us where we went whether the people that we took it to accepted the message or not. We were asked to reflect on what it meant to us that we took the kingdom of God with us wherever we went. I thought about it, and in the midst of thinking about that and being encouraged by it I was also overwhelmed by a sense of it as a colossal responsibility, and I had to remind myself that I am far from the only kingdom-bearer.

As we have all been given different gifts of the Spirit and different personalities and abilities, I guess we also each bear different pieces and aspects and ways of manifesting that Kingdom. I am sure that God does not expect us to each witness and serve in the same way; He would not have created us each different if that were the case. I have been thinking a lot about who He has made me to be and how some of the very things that I think of as weaknesses--or that I sometimes wish were more like the way they are for someone else--are things that actually enable me to do things that I would otherwise be unable to do.

As I try to serve God, I can be very impatient about the idea of seeing some sort of results--mostly because I want to be sure that I am really doing something. This is something that He has been asking me to be more trusting about, and to be content even if I never *see* the results that I might wish to. To trust Him that if I am attempting to serve Him and am growing, He will work through me, whether I see what He is doing or not--and, if I doubt His ability to work through me even if I am willing and wishing and praying for Him to do so, that is not humility, that is doubting Him!! That would be, as it were, putting more trust in my ability to screw things up than in His ability to fix them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mary and Martha

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42

At the beginning of this passage, it sounds like Martha's doing a great job. She welcomes Jesus into her home; she is working hard to be a good hostess to Him. But then she turns and sees her sister doing something that she decides doesn't count as doing anything: listening to Jesus. So she goes to Jesus and tries to tell Him what to do. Jesus doesn't respond the way she wanted, but He does respond with compassion. He implies that her priorities might not be where they should be, and He definitely refuses to rebuke Mary for sitting at His feet and listening to Him.

When we were talking about this in a manuscript Bible study (yeah, this is one of those posts I meant to do about a month ago), I took a lot of comfort from it for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it seemed to imply that "worried and distracted by many things" was not God's will for us as a lifestyle. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being busy!!--it might be a difference in attitude and priorities more than in the level of business. Also, in a certain area of my life this past year I have felt like I simply didn't "do" enough, and honestly, maybe I didn't, but it is still comforting to think that maybe the number of things one *does* is not an appropriate measure of success.

As a direction rather than as a comfort, the strongest angle that I saw was a question of priorities or even chronological order. Which is more important (or comes first) in serving God--listening to Him or running around looking for things to do? Obviously, doing things is truly an important part of serving Him, but maybe us going around doing stuff (even in a true attempt to serve Him) isn't necessarily serving Him. Maybe the first thing to do is always to listen to Him and pray and then serve Him according to His leading, according to His will rather than our ingenuity and energy.

I guess the lesson would be how very very important it is to spend time regularly in the presence of God, reading His word, listening to Him, praying, seeking guidance. The week that I was first thinking about that in reading that passage, I actually was spending a lot of time in that, and it was very good. This is not to say that I am still being good about it, but I guess that's why I wanted to write this, as a reminder.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rich and Poor

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

James 1:9-11

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Matthew 19: 30

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Luke 14:11

There are many different ways in which it is possible to be rich or poor. I would argue that each of us reading this right now probably has areas of their life in which they could be classified as rich and also areas in which they could be classified as poor. Where do you feel like a success? Where do you feel like a failure? What is easy for you and what is hard? Is there an area of your life in which you are jealous of other people? What about one in which those same people might be jealous of you (think about it! it's more likely than it sounds!)?

I've certainly felt the oddity of that dichotomy in my life. My own strengths and weaknesses, wholenesses and brokennesses, are often frustrating for me--on both sides! I was recently re-reading A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and was struck by Sara's insistence (in the early stage of the book when she is ridiculously fortunate in many ways) that it was only "an accident" that she was what she was instead of being a poor ignorant hungry scullery-maid. That is a little what I have always thought about the way succeeding in some ways and areas of my life has been for me. Why this for me and yet not for someone else?

Unfortunately, I've tended to focus far more on the things that I perceive as my failures. Especially when I see other people succeeding in that same area. (Forgive me . . .) I sit and look at where I am like I'm down in some little hole while "they" are over there mountain climbing . . . and it didn't occur to me at all that some of the same people that I feel that sinful jealousy of might also have the temptation to be jealous of me, but after actually talking with some of those folks and thinking I realize that that can happen!

I've only recently (well, a few weeks ago now) come to think of all the mountains being brought low and the valleys brought high kinds of imagery in Scripture relative to this set of failures and successes. And the directives to glory in the humiliation of one's "rich" areas while glorying in the exaltation of one's "poor" areas . . . I think what that means for me right now is looking at where I am rich, acknowledging it, even being thankful for it, but mostly realizing how very tiny and unimportant and PASSING it is compared to God. And then looking at everything that I have felt discontented with my position--with what I've been unable to do--with what I don't have--and glorying in God's ability and desire and plan to exalt those humble things, if not now, then in the end.

For knowledge will pass away, and ability will pass away, even disappointment will pass away, but love will never cease, and God will never change.

Love, en español*

Si yo hablara en todas las lenguas sin dificultad, y aún las lenguas de los cielos, pero no amara, sería ruido sin sentido. Si pudiera predicar el futuro sin error, si pudiera entender todos los misterios, si tuviera todo sabiduría y una fe perfecta--para mover las montañas--pero no amara--yo sería un ser sin sentido, sin razón, y sin nada de bueno dentro de mí. Si diera un sinfín de posesiones y me diera a mí al martirio del fuego, pero no por amor, ese acto no tendría ningún valor.

¿Y cómo es este amor que vale tanto? Tiene paciencia; no tiene prisa, entiende como mover lentamente. Es amable, por supuesto, y simpático. Nunca tiene envidia de nadie aunque tenga hambre y ve comida o se sienta sólo y ve compañía. Nunca se jacta y no tiene arrogancia aunque sea primero en todo y sea alabado como el mejor. Siempre tiene en cuenta los sentimientos ajenos, no insiste en tener lo que quiere, no se queja ni recuerde un mal acto que sufre. Nunca regocija en lo malo, sino en la verdad. El amor es único en poder; puede soportar lo peor, creer lo imposible, esperar lo improbable, y sobrevivir lo fatal.

El amor siempre permanece. La profecía tendrá fin, las lenguas tendrán fin, y la sabiduría pasará de la tierra. Porque el conocimiento y la profecía son incompletos y pasarán cuando la perfección llegue. Cuando estuve una niña, hablé, pensé, y razoné como una niña. Ahora que he llegado a ser una mujer he dejado la perspectiva de la niñeza. Ahora no vemos con nitidez, pero luego sí. Ahoro sólo conozco unos trocitos, pero luego conoceré enteramente, como ya he sido conocido.

Entonces ahora permanecen los tres: la fe, la esperanza, y el amor. Pero es importante tener en cuenta que lo más importante de los tres es el amor.

*this is a paraphrase (in Spanish) that I wrote while reading the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians (in English). It is a very personal paraphrase that is not in my first language so I apologize for any way in which it does not accurately reflect the meaning of the text. I would also like to acknowledge (sorry!) that this is really not one of those "several" posts I thought I would do in a few days a few weeks ago, and that I know that not everyone can read Spanish, and that those of you who can read it will probably find grammatical errors and/or misused words. However, I felt compelled to write this this morning and I now feel compelled to post it, despite these drawbacks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Turtle Speed

So, about those several posts in a few days encapsulating items from a week's worth of study, reflection and realization? That's not quite happening the way I was expecting. I've sat down to try to post something more than once since I stated that intention, but I have not been successful. Why not? I'm not sure really; it's certainly not for lack of ideas. I have a list of ideas sitting there waiting for me. Yet it somehow feels unnatural and wrong to me to spew them all out at once. I still need to process these ideas more and write them out as they come, even if that is a little slower than what I was expecting it to be.

Slowness--that was one of those ideas, in a way. That I move slowly, process things slowly, figure out what's going on inside my head slowly, make slow progress towards where I'd like to be. If I am going to be content with who I am and not frustrated with myself (through comparison to other people or even simply with my own goals), I am going to have to accept turtle speed.

Turtles are referred to in a rather well-known fable as "slow and steady." "Slow and steady wins the race" is the moral of it. As I consider my life and find reassurance in my perspective on it, I would like to make an addendum--"slow and steady and in the right direction wins the race."

A little obvious, maybe. Still, it's worth thinking about, especially if we're talking about the race as a metaphor for life. No one ever won a race by running away from the goal. We run (or walk or crawl) towards the right goal if we have any desire to win the prize.

That is my comfort right now. That, maybe I'm not at the destination I'd like to be at, and maybe I am not making progress as quickly as I would like, but I do believe that I am going slowly and steadily in the right direction.

Speaking of the destination versus the journey (and slow and steady!): I went on a hike up a mountain during this past week. Now, I am not a person who tends to keep in amazingly athletic shape, so a hike up a mountain is rather a challenging experience for me. I was already sweaty and out of breath and wondering why I had come when I had probably only been going for a few minutes.

Some people felt that the proper way to do the hike was to stop quite often, and you would think I would have been one of them. However, I discovered that it was a lot easier for me to talk myself into simply continuing to put one foot in front of another than it was to stop and go and stop and go again, which would have entailed continually convincing myself to start again. It really was "slow and steady" that kept me going up that mountain.

Then, I got to the view that was supposed to be the destination of the hike and therefore, in my head, supposed to be the purpose, the reward. Maybe for some people it worked out that way, but not for me. The view was pretty, but not worth the trouble of the hike, especially not considering that I'm scared of heights, so I didn't really enjoy looking at it that much, and I kept freaking out about other people being what I thought (irrationally) was "too close" to the edge.

Do I regret going on the hike because I didn't enjoy the view as much as I could have? Not one bit. The awesome part of the hike was the hike. Pushing myself to keep going and finding that I could and enjoying the feeling of making an effort and enjoying the camaraderie and conversation with my fellow hikers.

It might also be that the truly best part of that hike was considering it as a metaphor. I should not be nearly so worried about when I am going to "arrive" or where I am going to "arrive" at. I should by all means keep going--in the right direction--and learn to enjoy the journey itself.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


This God, see, He's unique. Who else would forgive so many mistakes and overlook so many faults, just to keep His people His? Sure, He gets mad at us sometimes, but He doesn't stay mad. Loving and caring are what He likes to do. He will take pity on us and attack for us the monsters in our thoughts and our behaviors that we've been unable to rid ourselves of. He'll take those things and make them nothing. He will stick by us and show us what love is, just like He did with so many others before us.

--paraphrase of Micah 7:18-20, written during a Bible study weeks ago

Two things that I want to expand on from that: God works in our lives and in our selves. He does stuff. He changes stuff. He is good and He perseveres in faithfully doing good. The character of God as portrayed in Scripture is a very comforting thing to focus on. Through the camp that I was blessed to be able to attend this past week, God has worked in my life and spoken truth into my heart, so I expect to have a lot to post in a short period of time as I process what I have been learning.

A second thing: there's a reason I refer to "monsters" in my paraphrase of the passage to Micah. In my mind, as I try to picture and describe things that bother or frighten me--things I can't seem to conquer myself--I call them monsters. In this case, sin; when I was a teenager, I thought it was my schoolwork, but in retrospect it was really my attitude. This past academic year, I've been fairly intentional about fighting some certain specific monsters, and though I feel I have really made some progress, it seems as if there are always more of the pesky things.

However, "fighting" is a misleadingly active term for what I'm doing. I'm naturally fairly passive, especially with perceived threats. For example, the bees and wasps that occasionally buzzed around me this past week were greeted with no swattings, brushings-away, or running-aways; I just held still and politely requested verbally that they please go buzz elsewhere (no, I wasn't expecting the verbal requests to work). (side note: this method of dealing with threats is part of why I call myself a rabbit.)

Given the Biblical mandates to resist the devil and to stand firm (see James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:6-9, and Ephesians 6:10-17), I'm guessing that I should probably be more assertive with spiritual threats than I am with insects. However, the aforementioned passages also include submitting to God and being strong in the Lord. It is only in His might that we can resist those monsters successfully, so my plan is to keep pursuing Him and working to trust Him more as I try to change. I'm hoping that more boldness will come, but I want to find it by knowing where my confidence comes from, not by trying to feel bold.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Backwards or Forwards?

I am not a fan of change. Tonight, thinking about the things that have changed in my life in the last year or so, and even from longer ago, I almost started to cry, thinking, "I just want to go back."

What did I even mean by that? Back to before I (or my life) changed in some particular way? Back to when I was a child? Back to this past summer, which I spent in a foreign country (and loved it)? Back geographically to that country itself? Or back to before I went there, before that experience and all the unexpected changes in myself that came after it and because of it? Or even "back" (if that is the proper word) to where I would be right now if I had not gone?

I can't lie to myself and say that everything was wonderful there and if I just went back, everything would be wonderful again (ahem--I may possibly have felt something like that when I first got back--ahem). I also can't lie to myself and say that I would wish away the experience, changes notwithstanding. Therefore, I am left not quite knowing what it is I am wishing for.

I am such a reader and writer at heart that at times my dreams are like novels or short stories; that is to say, I play a double role in them, as a character and also a reader, or as a character and also the author. In one "book" that I dreamed one night awhile ago, that I found interesting enough to write down the general idea of, I felt that I really only dreamed the introduction.

See, even though the plot that I did dream certainly had enough drama and conflict and oddity (it was a dream, after all) that, fleshed out, it could probably make a book (if I could manage to make said book quite make sense), as I was reading or writing or living it or whatever I was doing, I felt or knew that the bulk of the book and the really interesting parts of it were yet to come.

I have a choice, I suppose. (There are always choices, as my mother always says.) I could keep trying to go backwards in time or maturity or whatever it is I am trying to go backwards in. I could keep looking back as if all the best things are there. However, the futility of that exercise seems rather obvious. We live forwards, not backwards, and I (obviously) don't have the power to change that or to go back to what I used to be. So, if I am going to have to live forwards, the way everyone except Merlin* does, I may as well be looking forwards too (I imagine one would bump into fewer things that way). And who knows? Maybe the future is the "really interesting part" of my life, for the exact same reason that I'm sometimes scared of it: I don't know what it is yet.

ps I actually wrote this in the one o'clock hour, am, so please forgive if it is not quite my normal writing

*who, according to legend, actually did live backwards, which sounds terribly confusing, but would certainly grant "prophetic" abilities, as he could remember the future as if it was the past

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Burdens, part 2

Even though the lifting of a burden is a beautiful thing, and certainly something that my God is known for His ability to do, not everything in our lives that could be described as a burden is dispensed with as quickly as one may, say, take off a heavy backpack. Of course, sometimes it is human foolishness in not giving those things up or not taking them to God, but that's not always the case.

Something in my life that is not what I would like it to be was described by a friend the other night as a burden. I don't know if I had thought of it in quite those terms. A pain, perhaps. A feeling. A confusion. A foolishness. This thing, I take it to God, repeatedly. I am tired and frustrated that it has not gone away. I think that I have cried quite enough tears about it by now.

What will happen with this in my life I do not know. I do know two things from Scripture that seem worth bringing up in relation to the concept at hand. One is that Paul himself was troubled with a something (he calls it a thorn in the flesh; I don't know what that was intended to refer to), and he prayed for it to be taken away, and received this answer: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) And another is that Jesus' ability to sympathize with suffering is not limited by His knowledge of how soon it will end (see John chapter 11, especially verse 35 considered in context).

Something I really want to say before I end this thought is perhaps seen in the analogy of a walk. A few weeks ago I was literally taking walks in which my purpose was to spend time with God, thinking and praying about His will for me. I told someone this in conversation and said that, even if I was not necessarily getting the answers I was looking for yet, He was walking with me, and so they were good walks. I think the same is true here. I may not, in that area of my life, be what one could call happy, I may not understand what is going on, I may not know how it will be resolved. But I do know that God is walking with me.

Burdens, part 1

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells those who are carrying heavy burdens to come to Him, that they may have rest. Burdens can be a lot of things. They can be griefs about the past, worries about the future, weights of responsibility in the present. Jesus wants to give rest from these things, to bear them with or for you.

I am such a creature of habit that I find the lifting of a burden that I've been carrying for a long time quite unnerving, because it feels so different from what I'm used to.

Yet, it feels lovely. A burden that I have been carrying too heavily for too long is one of forcing myself externally into the right actions, of controlling what I do into being exactly what I think it ought to be. Now, please don't misunderstand me. Self-control is indeed a Christian virtue and being responsible is a good thing.

However, I was missing two very important things that have led to a great change in how I see myself and what I do and by what means I attempt to make changes in my life. First, it is so very important that external change come from internal change. Anything that I am doing (or not doing) that is wrong is coming out of something that I am thinking or feeling or perceiving wrongly, and it is so much better to deal with a problem at its root. Second, I can't make myself change by some supreme act of my own will. God can change me, not I.

What does this mean as a change in process? It means to pray about everything first. It means to ask God to show me where I am wrong in my head and my heart and to seek His help in fixing those things. That is the process I wrote about in my last post. It is also important to seek His guidance in what changes in my actions are necessary, in how He truly wants me to live. It may be that His will for my life and actions is not the same as the box I have been tempted to try to force myself into. Either way, first and foremost I must be seeking Him and being open to His will and His timing.

What a relief it is not to be in control! What a blessed, scary relief.

p.s. Don't worry! I know this doesn't mean laziness. If you have read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, I think this is a change in thought process that he talks about as the moment when you finally, truly, experientially realize that you cannot be good enough to earn salvation and that you are saved truly through faith and not works. Then, after that, of course you keep on trying to do what is right--just in a less worried way.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


In the book Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie (which is a favorite book from my childhood), there is a scene in which the narrator describes the inside of a child's mind as something that can be dusted and put in order, like a little office room or a secret country. According to Mr. Barrie, all good mothers (or all mothers; I don't remember how he words it and I don't have the book with me right now to check) tidy up their children's minds in the evening after the children have fallen asleep, seeing their thoughts and putting things in their proper places.

This picture of the human mind fascinated me (OK, maybe that should be present tense). I altered it a little bit, and tend to imagine my mind as a place with a lot of filing cabinets, or at least desks with drawers. My mind could be like a room filled with boxes, some locked, some open, some neat, some messy, and some thoughts and feelings properly in boxes and others strewn around the floor or on top of the tables. Some things are out in the open for me or others to look at freely . . . others, in secret hidy-holes meant only for my eyes . . . others, locked away in boxes which I don't want to open again. Memories, hopes, dreams, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, all the things that have ever passed through my mind.

I have a tendency to put things that pain me away in boxes, to look at "later". Sometimes later means the next morning. Sometimes the next week. Sometimes the next year. Sometimes, and I say this not proudly, even longer. I know that I ought to want to bring them all to God for His healing touch, but to bring them out of their boxes is to feel them again, and I don't want to reach for that key. Sometimes a circumstance, a person, or a thought, brings me back to one of those things against my will, and I ought perhaps to be grateful for the chance at healing, but instead I say within myself, "Thanks for bringing up such an unpleasant subject! While you're at it, why don't you give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?"*

Unfortunately for the part of me that wants to leave those boxes locked, sitting quietly in the corner, the echoes of the things that I refused to deal with at the time don't go away if I keep ignoring them. They are bound to come up again. Some of them would interfere with the future, some with the present, but all unhealed wounds interfere with my being the whole person that God intends me to be. And lately, He has been asking me to let Him into those boxes, so that, like the mothers in Peter Pan, He can put me back in order. He can replace lies with the truth, hurt with healing, neglect with love, misunderstanding with empathy, ashes with beauty, selfishness with a true servant's heart. He can make me the person that He wants me to be.

God, Father God, thank You for being more stubborn for my good than I am. Thank You for loving me more truly than I love myself. I want to give You the keys to every corner of my heart, to give You free reign in me. Please give me the peace and the courage to keep coming to You with every splinter and the confidence to know that You are seeking what is truly best.

*Feel free to correct my wording. I didn't look it up to check. If you don't get it, go watch The Princess Bride

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Who I Am

For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.

Hebrews 2:11

No matter who I think I am, no matter how I judge myself and expect others to judge me by my performance, the truth of who I am is found in what God has called me. He has called me His daughter and Jesus has called me His sister. I have often been the sort of person who has defined myself by my relationship to a person or group of people, but human relationships may come and go, and even the ones that we keep and cherish (which is certainly a blessing) can't be a guarantee that that person will always be there in every situation . . . so, if I want my definition of myself to be stable, I can't base it in that. But if I could see myself as first and foremost the beloved daughter of God!

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. . . . But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:2-5, 9-10

The next time that I find myself freaking out about whether I will succeed at something or what people will think of me, I hope that I will remember that who I really am is not defined by these things that so often seem to make up my life. I hope that those of you who are reading this can also find comfort in who you are in relation to God.

God asked me to go for a walk with Him this morning, so I walked around outside for awhile, talking to Him. It was a good thing to do. I found myself talking about things that seemed to me silly and inconsequential and then said apologetically, "I'm sure that's not what You asked me out here to talk about." In response, however, I think He said something along the lines of, "Why do you think I asked you out here to talk about something in particular? To accomplish some task? I want to be with you, to spend time with you."

That made me think about what I often forget to reassure myself of. God loves . . . me. Not for something I have done. Not for something He wants me to do in the future. Me. Not just as a tool to use to reach other people. Not just as a project with which to prove what He can do. He actually cares about doing these things FOR ME. He wants to spend time with me. He wants to help me and heal me and be with me. Yes, He has prepared good works for me to do. Yes, He wants to use me as a servant. But He would not be the truly all-loving God that I proclaim Him as, if He did not also simply care about me, my well-being, my holiness, my future.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Who God Is

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.

Psalm 85:8-11

God's Word is an everlasting comfort to me, the one thing that remains real no matter what has happened to me or how I am feeling. It is bigger than I am, truer than my feelings, and yet it is also infinitely personal. God speaks to me sometimes through natural beauty, through fiction, through music, through His body of believers, but His own dear written Word on the page is the one thing I can count on to always have something to say to me that I can hear through whatever muck is crowding my mind and dragging my emotions down.

In this paradox that is my existence, I, who always have believed in God, and who have repeatedly found myself defending to others His goodness, His faithfulness, His lovingness, and His reality, still often find myself doubtful of His true character, especially as relates to me. Yet I've always felt that if I truly understood His character (not that my finite mind could ever quite grasp it), then I would never doubt. Surely, He Who is everlasting and unchanging, is the same loving, forgiving, steadfast, merciful God to me as He is to His other children.

Insofar as I still have this doubt, however, I am trying to "cure" it (or, more accurately, to allow God to cure it), by using the truth of His Word to show me Who He really is. When I started trying to think of verses to put in this written meditation on the character of God the Father, I found myself thinking mainly of verses about God the Son. Since Jesus Himself said, "Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father," (John 14:9) I think that's OK.

. . . His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

He will not cry aloud or lift up His voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed He will not break,
and a faintly burning wick He will not quench;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
Isaiah 42:2-3

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."
John 10:10-15

This is Jesus, this juxtaposition of power and gentleness, this Everlasting One Who laid down His life for the humblest ones. Surely He will sympathize with my weakness. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16) Surely He has come into my life to heal and to comfort.

I'm sure there are many more verses (feel free to share your favorites with me!). I just wanted to share a little bit of the comfort I am seeking and finding in the Word as I strive to make God my focus and to find my peace in His being and not in my circumstances.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Limitations; or, the sequel to "determination or pigheadedness?"

Sometimes, friends, we must take a step back and ask ourselves if the pursuit that we are engaged in is truly worth the effort that we are putting into it, the pain that it may cost us, the time and energy that it is taking away from other things.

Naturally, sometimes the answer is "Yes, absolutely. It's hard [or might seem frivolous, for some examples I might mention] but it's worth it because . . . " you love it, or you're doing it for someone that you love, or it is for the betterment of mankind, or it relaxes you so you can go back to work more healthily, or you and your friends take an innocent enjoyment in it, or it is a worthwhile pursuit for the improvement of your character, or it is necessary for the fulfillment of your responsibilities.

What happens, though, if you realize something isn't worth it? If you realize that your effort is too great compared to any benefit that you or anyone else could derive from it? If you realize that the price you are paying in health or happiness is too great? If you realize that, in comparison to something else you could be pursuing, it is a waste of your time and energy, or a throwing away of the gifts that God has given you?

Or, to bring this to a specific (but not precisely cosmic in scope) example, and explain how it is a sequel to the previous post: what if I am realizing that my body personally, despite at first seeming to accept the additional strain with surprisingly good grace, is simply unwilling to allow me to routinely (even as little as once a week) stay up well past midnight getting things done without exacting a painful tax in return?

Accepting that limitation is difficult for me. I have a sense of responsibility to get certain things done by tomorrow, but I understand that my body is sending me the message, in no uncertain terms, that I, personally, should not stay up late right now. What if it means I don't finish the assignment? What if it means I have to ask for grace from a teacher? What if it means [gasp] admitting weakness and a certain level of irresponsibility (why didn't I do it ahead of time?)?

So be it. Yo no soy sin falta. Soy un ser humano.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

if there is a fine line between bravery and foolhardiness, what about determination and pigheadedness?

It is past three o'clock in the morning. I am not, by nature, a night owl. By all that is normal and healthy, I should be fast asleep right now. I am not, obviously.

To what, you ask, do I attribute this unaccustomed and undesirable state of consciousness? Insomnia caused by stress or too much caffeine or some other, more incomprehensible, reason, such as an insufficient amount of calcium and magnesium in my physical system? Bad dreams? Sleeping environment too cold or too hot or too noisy?

All of these would be quite believable reasons, but I am afraid tonight the true answer is "none of the above," although both stress and caffeine are not without a certain degree of complicity.

No, I am awake because of my own stubbornness. Determination? Or pigheadedness? What is the difference? Is it one of degree? Is it whether the thing that it causes you to do is by some objective standard reasonable or unreasonable? Or is the only difference the choice of the speaker (or writer) of putting a positive or a negative spin on the stick-to-it-iveness of the person or action being described?

At the moment, I don't know. I am ambivalent about my own decision to be awake this late at night. I am tired. I will pay for this later. However, I feel a certain degree of--pride? or satisfaction? another question of positive or negative spin?--at having accomplished what I set out to do. And yes, for anyone who is still wondering, I did indeed stay up this late in the noble (I hope) cause of Getting Things Done.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Poetic Interlude*

The world is crazy, and I know it well
The tales that our battered hearts could tell
In heaven's gates we see a wild hope
That someday we will do much more than cope

Run free, run wild, and then run home to Me
To all your secrets I still hold the key
Do not forget the debt of love you owe
Or cease to treasure all the love you know.

Take care of them, my God, this is my plea
And help me to accept, You value me
You know the truth, You know the cost
You know the falling of the lost

The mysteries I ponder in my heart
Oh well You know that this is just the start!
Take me for a quiet walk in love
And tell me that my soul belongs above

*written a little more than two years ago

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love, in suffering

Jesus was spat upon, scourged, abandoned by His closest friends, thought of as crazy by His immediate family members, laughed at by the authority figures of His day, disbelieved in His own hometown. He watched every day sins being committed that in His pure holiness must have been more acute a pain than to the most righteous man that ever lived. He lived with knowing that He was doubted when He knew that He carried in His person the very Truth of Life. He lived with knowing that even His followers who believed in Him misunderstood His plan for their redemption. He ate with sinners, wept at His friend's tomb even knowing that momentarily that friend was going to be resurrected, and accepted gratefully the repentant tears of an immoral woman as they fell upon His feet. He washed His disciples' feet. He sat at a preposterous excuse for a court trial to frame Him for some crime, any crime, and He did not say a word in His own defense, even though He knew that at that assembly, He and only He had never sinned. Even though He had the power to call down a legion of angels to take His place, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross, and stayed there of His own volition while His blood dripped down and His body gave out.

Even knowing all this, having known it all my life, and loving Him for it, I fail at being half as grateful as He deserves. Naturally, infinite goodness demands infinite gratitude, and infinite gratitude is more than a finite being can give, but I even fail at giving Him all of my gratitude that I could give. I say that because, even knowing all this, knowing how much He suffered for me on the cross and in His life, I sometimes have the gall to come to Him with some specific hurt or incompleteness in my life and say, "But Jesus, You've never known what it was to feel *this*." When I say it, what I mean is not that it is *more* than anything He has felt, but that that certain specific type of thing is something that He has not experienced and could not understand.

When I do that, He looks at me. He doesn't have to say anything, because I know what His answer is. I know that there is not an inch, not an ounce, not a prick of pain that I will ever feel that He has not felt, because He has already carried mine, because He is walking through it with me even at that moment when in childish ingratitude I complain to Him that He does not know how it feels. He already bore all those things, every single one of them, for every soul that ever was.

It is when I look into His eyes that I realize that truth, and it is when I realize that truth that I can fall at His feet and cry out to Him with all my soul.

He will always understand. He lives in me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


In Joshua Harris' book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (which I highly recommend, even though I am not even mentioning the main ideas in the book in this post), one of the things he talks about is the difference between thinking of something as a line not to cross versus thinking of that same concept more as a direction. Specifically in avoidance of sin (or, more aptly put, pursuance of holiness), this speaks of the difference between trying to not put a toe across that line (not fall into some certain specific act of sin), while actually trying to get as close to the line as possible, and trying to stay as far away as possible from sin and the appearance of sin and, yes, even the temptation to sin.

Applying the idea more broadly than simply thinking about things that are definitively bad for us to do, this can be about our lifestyle, our everyday choices, our overall directional choices that determine our future. I've been thinking a lot lately about the direction of my life. I'm wondering where it's leading me, or, more accurately, where my choices are leading it. Am I going where I want to be going? Are the things that I am engaged in now leading me towards the skills, the knowledge, the character, the lifestyle that I want to have?

Years ago, I was sure what I wanted to do--maybe not for all my life, but for the next few years at least. I had a starting plan, but I wasn't sure what the long-term plan was. With a few small unexpected things that have happened along the way, I am still pretty much on the path that I set myself on then. But somewhere, somehow, something went wrong, and I'm thinking about changing direction.

Why? I can't explain why very well, although I've been trying--to myself, to other people. I have been struggling with a sense of dissatisfaction and discontentment with where I am and what I am doing. Not only because it's hard, even though it is. Not only because I am afraid of certain things that I see coming up down the path, even though I am. Not for these reasons alone, but because I cannot justify to myself why I am on this path. I couldn't justify it very well when I started on it either, but I thought I should pursue it anyway, and I am not sorry that I did, because I have learned a lot and pursued a lot of worthwhile things. Thing is, I'm losing my conviction that it is what I should still be pursuing. I would have thought I would have a justification by now, but I would be OK with going on without that, if I still felt certain it was the path that God wanted me to keep following.

Lacking in peace, lacking in a sense of wisdom about the priorities of my life, lacking contentment in who I am and what I am doing with my life right now, I have been praying and asking my friends to pray for me for the peaceable and gentle wisdom that comes from above that James writes about under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I am surprised and a little frightened at the changes to which I think that peace may well be leading me, but I am going to keep seeking that wisdom and trusting that God will lead me where He wants me to go.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Sometimes I like to say that I maintain balance by being unbalanced in different ways from day to day. What I mean by that is if A, B, C, and D are various projects or things I am working on (or sometimes, sleeping and eating are items also treated in this manner), then one day I neglect A and B to focus on C and D, then the next few days maybe do the opposite, and just keeping juggling everything around so that nothing gets completely dropped, but I get to maintain a certain level of sanity by not committing 100% to every item every day (what my sizable super-responsible side would prefer, but my reasonably realistic side realizes is not actually quite possible). I don't know how truly accurate a description this is of the way a live my life, but there is definitely an element of truth to it and, truth be told, I like it that way. I would rather be balanced by being unbalanced in a creative way than by, well, actually being balanced.

"Balanced" and "stable" for me are words that actually have connotations of "boring." Perhaps that means I'm a little bit crazy, but it also means I'd rather be a little bit crazy. Only a little bit, though, because I would also like to maintain partial sanity. I don't want to be the same person in the same mood with the same behavior every day. I don't want to be completely unemotional in my reactions to life. But I also want to be responsible and trustworthy, and I want to be able to maintain a certain level of composure before other people (not that I never let myself lose composure in front of my friends).

Oddly, these aren't the meanings of the word "balance" that I really meant to write about. You see, there is one sense of the word in which I very much want it, rather than wanting to achieve balance by not having it or only achieve it to a certain point. This sense might be a little harder for me to explain. I want to have balance in "input" versus "output". I don't mean give and take in relationships (not that that's a bad thing), and I don't mean working on productive things versus taking refreshing leisure time (also not a bad thing, and somewhat related to what I mean). I mean the difference between reading a book and writing it. The difference between studying and writing in my diary. The difference between listening to music and playing it. Consumption versus creativity.

I have to have balance between these two, or I'm not right on the inside. If my life goes too heavily on the "input" side, it isn't good for my ability to keep going with it. I feel like there isn't any room left in my brain for more. I feel stifled. I feel out of touch with what's going on in my own mind and heart. So I have to go write in my diary, or write a poem, or write a blog post, or play music in a creative and expressive way (something that doesn't always happen if I'm playing music because I have to), before I can go back to the other things.

Of course, I can go far enough in the other direction that I need a break from that, too. If I've written or played myself out, I can feel exhausted, depleted, not have enough in me for one more line or phrase. And then I want to go read, or have a long conversation with someone about something completely unrelated.

And that, my friends, is my explanation for why I am posting on this blog today, even though it would be very easy to make the argument that I do not have time.

Monday, January 31, 2011

More than Enough

Do you ever think that if you say something about your experience out loud enough times, it will become true? I'm not talking about trying to lie to other people, but proclaiming something spiritually about yourself until you actually experience it instead of just know that you ought to.

"Jesus, You are more than enough for me," proclaim so many songs and things Christians say. I sing them, because I know it ought to be true. In a fundamental sense, it is true, because Jesus in His person is indeed more than sufficient to satisfy my every need. I know it, so I say it, but that doesn't mean that that's always what I am experiencing from my limited, overly emotional perspective.

"I am satisfied in You," I want to say to Him. But often, I don't mean it. His person alone, I think wrongly to myself, is not enough to satisfy me. First, I need Him to give me this and satisfy that desire.

But that's not what being satisfied in Him means. And then I wonder, if I can't be satisfied in Him now, why do I think I will be later, after He answers this one wish? If I don't learn what it means to be satisfied in His person rather than what I think He can give me in this life, I never will be satisfied.

Ironically, some of the times when have felt most satisfied lately are not the times when I am denying the existence of the deepest desires of my heart that have yet to be fulfilled (denying my own feelings or thinking that they must be wrong or unimportant tends to be a tempting path for me, but I don't believe it's the right one--our deepest desires are often placed there by God for a purpose), but when I admit them to my Father and start asking Him to fulfill them. The satisfaction isn't in a knowledge of when or how or in some ways if that desire is going to be answered, but in knowing that He hears me, that He understands, that He cares, and in the sense that I get in those moments that He is working to answer that need, that He has a plan for what will happen in that area of my life and it is good.