Believing lies. Knowing Truth.

Believing the lies today. Know the truth.  Doesn’t matter. Believing the lies anyway.

They are swirling all around me in a feeding frenzy. Feeding on each other and growing stronger and darker and louder. Yet they aren’t shouting. That would be wasted energy.

They whisper.

Inept. Incapable.  Inadequate.  Incompetent.  Inferior.

And the whispers echo everywhere. Over and over. Around and around. My meager attempts to combat them with the truth I know fall flat and break apart into shattered pieces blown away by the windswept lies. Defeated and overwhelmed, I find myself listening again.

Yes I know the lies are lies. So why do I believe them and feel such assurance in what I believe that is not true? I don’t know. I can’t stop. Not today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never.

Thank God that His mercies really are new every morning. His faithfulness is infinite. Even when I falter and fail and believe lies as if they are true.

Even when I cry out to Him for help and feel nothing and wonder and doubt and question and long for peace.

I’m held and loved and enveloped in grace. But I feel lost and afraid and confused.

And alone.

Then Glorious Light dawns. Shining, warming, helping me to see. New thoughts in my mind that open my heart to finally feel their truth.

I realize that this cycle of softly whispered resounding lies has me hunkered down, hiding, and setting up residence in a place I don’t belong.

Inept. Incapable.  Inadequate.  Incompetent.  Inferior.

And it is here and now that the whispers are inexplicably pierced by silence. Deafening silence that somehow has the capacity to shine brilliantly, illuminating the darkness and bringing forth new truth that shatters the lies into tiny fragments of dust that simply blow away. Yet there is no wind except a soft and gentle breeze that slowly stops.

Stillness.

And in the stillness, a calming, a comforting, a love like no other. And one word spoken with incomparable compassion from the mouth that spoke everything into being.

Invaluable.

I am beyond value. There is no limit to my worth.  I am continuously and forever loved unconditionally.  Created just as I am for a purpose beyond my grasp yet within God’s plan.

A new day, with a new perspective, and a new God given strategic weapon.

The power of a word of Truth that speaks softly to the broken hurting longing places within.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new ever morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  Lam 3:21-24

 

 

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Close your eyes and see

More on my current season – this difficult chapter in my twisting turning up down and around life’s journey. Even without details, I hope that many can identify with the struggle.  What it feels like when moving forward involves changing direction while still trying to keep the focus on the goal.  What it really means to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14  

I watch it go around and around, a cycle.  Kind of like watching someone on a merry-go- round.  I see, I don’t see.  There, then gone, then back, then gone again, over and over.  It really makes no difference because I don’t know what I’m seeing anyway.  No reference for it, no comparison to it, no logic with it.  And then there are those ribbons of white, wispy, thready scariness, weaving all around, above, below, beside me, surrounding me.  Unknowns.  Everywhere.  And the ever present heavy sadness hovering above, looking menacing and threatening like an approaching storm.  Dipping low and falling upon me, then rising back up again.

I feel like I’m constantly dancing.  I’m a terrible dancer, but I do my best to dance all around the frightening tendrils of unknowns, trying to avoid them because when they meet my heart the impact is horrific and overwhelming.  Yet I’m already overwhelmed as it is with all this dancing around and watching the merry-go-round and keeping the sadness at bay and longing and yearning for peace.

Close your eyes. 

What?  Why?  That makes no sense.  I can’t do that.  In my analytically driven world where I must see to breathe easier, that’s beyond all limits.  For things to make sense, I must see.  And I need things to make sense.  I need that stability.  I’m looking for it.  I have to keep my eyes open to see so that I can look for some level of… something. Something that is…  I don’t know, Consistent. Normal. Predictable. Safe. Sure. Different. Better.

Hmmm.  So how is that working for you?

Well, OK, so it’s not working real well.  Oh, all right, it’s not working at all.  But if I keep straining my eyes to see, ever so often I get rewarded.  The merry-go-round cycle provides a brief glimpse: here, then gone.  A flash of bright in the gray undefined nothingness.  Then I see what I believe to be true and I’m reminded.  Or I see very briefly what I wish was true and I wonder.  These glimpses bring pain and the uncertainty brings fear and confusion. Yet I keep straining to see.  Maybe if I open my eyes wider?  Or look in a different direction?

My life is like walking through FOG.  Not fog, but FOG.  Deep and solid and dense.  Like when it’s foggy and I’m driving and I strain my eyes to see more than the fog allows even though I know it’s useless. Yet, there are those spaces where the fog does not reach, but then it’s foggy again.  There are those brief moments of clarity in the chaotic confusion where I live.  But it’s not enough.  A brief glimpse periodically is like a drop of water when I long for an ocean.  And I’m exhausted.

And I know.  Though my actions don’t show my knowledge, it is there.  I know that I do need to close my eyes so that I can truly see.  I know what I am trying so desperately to see is not seeable.  Not on my own.  This is beyond my ability.  Yet, I hesitate.  Why?  Because I’m afraid.  To close my eyes means to embrace the unknowns – those intangible ribbons that contain doubt and fear and worry and turmoil that I try so hard to dance around.  I must willingly hold what I fear the most, while trusting in the truth that is the only way to freedom and peace.

Close your eyes and hold on to Me.  I’ve got this.  You will find that you will see as never before because I will be seeing for you as you rest in Me. 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matt 11:28-30

A Game of Catch

I’m terrible at sports. Any sport.  Not athletic at all.  In P.E. at school, always last to be picked for a team.  Seriously.  Because I had this reputation which was quite accurate: I was a liability to a winning game.  Yes, I’m gifted in a few other areas, but definitely not here.

So. There’s this thing I’ve been trying really hard to do for a long time.  A sport of sorts.  And we’ve already established that I’m, well, negatively gifted at sports.

It’s kind of like a game of catch. Picture in your mind a couple of boys, or a dad and son, coach and player, or two teammates playing catch.  They have their ball glove on one hand, throw with the other, and the receiving party tries to catch the ball in their glove.   I’ve probably got the terminology all wrong, but you understand that I don’t know sports and we are not friends.  But you get the idea.

For all my sports minded limitations, I’ve gotten pretty good at throwing over the years. I work hard to prepare when I know a game is coming up, and I practice.  I’m a reliable team player.  You can count on me to give it my very best.

But there is a problem.  And it’s gotten worse and worse, until I’m exhausted and frustrated and quitting is tempting. You see, I find myself doing all this added exercise.  I throw the ball, then I run to wherever it landed and pick it up and run back, then I throw it again.  Where is my partner who is supposed to catch the ball, or at the very least go pick it up and throw it back to me?  Oh, he’s there all right.  He looks the part, baseball cap on, ball glove in hand.  But he stands like a soldier at attention, as still as a statue.  He makes no move toward catching the ball.  Nothing.  Nada.  And he has this uncomprehending look on his face, like he has no clue what I’m doing or why.  So I try my best to help him understand, to encourage him, to “coach” him.

He throws up his hands and tells me that baseball no longer exists and he has no reference for how to play the game, and besides that, it makes absolutely no sense. He says this in a very matter of fact way, because it’s his reality.

Then he tries to show me his game and explain how it is played. That sounds like a great idea, except when he begins to talk about his game he is no longer speaking English, but a completely unintelligible language.  I don’t understand at all.  So I do the only thing I know to do.  I throw the ball again, and he stands there like a statue again, and I run to where it landed and pick it up and run back, again.  And I’m out of breath, and more exhausted, and nothing has changed.  Again.  By now, he’s made it clear several times that if I insist on throwing the ball I should just throw it once ever so often instead of trying to have a whole game of catch, whatever that is, because he has things to do, and this is not an enjoyable pastime, but torturous.

My ball and glove are now put up. Because at this point, I’m just too weary and worn to find the energy to try again.  I gave some thought to putting the ball and glove in the deepest most inaccessible corner of the closet.  But no, I can’t hide this away.  It is far too important.  So it sits in my room, an integral, though mismatched, part of the décor.  It’s hard to look at, because I envision all I wish was but is not.  But it also serves as a reminder that I must cling to what could be.  Cling to the God who knows and sees, and loves and comforts, even when I don’t understand or feel His assurance.  And I must hope and pray, and I will always love.  Because it’s who I am and what I do.   There is no other option, and I would not really want one.  So I wait and look upon the symbol of my journey and the wealth of meaning behind it.

Ps 27:14  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

1 Pet 5:6-7  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

The Waiting Quest

Unsettled. Uncertain.  Confused.  Lost.  Hurt.  Angry.  Sad.  Why?  After all, I know the Answers.

Yes, I know the right Answers, as I read over and reflect on Biblical truths. But there’s this Grand Canyon sized gap.  Between my daily reality and the Answers.  I’m on one side looking across the canyon at the other side, far, far away, a tiny dot in the distance.  That’s where the Answers live.  No bridge.  No way to get there.  No GPS. The enormity of what I see is mind boggling and heart wrenching.

There is a map with wonderfully detailed directions to somehow reach the other side and take ownership of the Answers. But everything is fuzzy and unreadable.  No comprehension.  No routine, no predictability, no formula, no procedure, no clue.

I’m not handling this well. I’m not doing this right.  At all.  I over react and recoil from the pain.  I back off inside of myself and respond with absolutes, final declarations in my mind and heart.  It’s too hard, no more, I can’t.  I curl up in a ball and say, again, I’m DONE.  And that hurts because it shatters what I thought could be. And then the guilt comes.  Because I can’t give up.  That’s not even an option, ever.  Yet when it hurts I want to.  That yearning to give up hurts as much or more than the pain that caused that overwhelming desire in the first place.

Trying to connect when there are literally worlds in between, where the difference is as vast as two different planets with different solar systems and different rules and different everything. And I want to stop just because the going gets tough.  Yet it’s not tough at all in light of what’s at stake.  My instinctive protective preservation desire to stop is primal and self absorbed, and wrong.  And, well, wimpy.

Then I crave the silence. And I write, pray, read, reread, listen to music, regroup.  Breathe.  And in the stillness of self reflection and shifting focus away from myself and my pity party, I realize that I over reacted, again.  And I reached out to a network of support in desperation, again. And I find that I reached this state of desperation way too easily.  Again.

I’m so loved and prayed for, when I stand in a much better place than so many others. Yet I receive unconditional love, and I’m lifted up without any hesitation.  I’m beyond appreciative and grateful.  But I’m still doing it wrong.

I want to stop allowing myself to be hurt. I want a thicker skin, and a focus not on myself but on God.  I want to surrender – not give up, but surrender to Him and allow Him to guide me.  And I want to accept this new season.  But not from a position of defeat.  I want to accept what is with hope.  That seems paradoxical, but I know it’s possible from a spiritual standpoint.  I know I have unlimited hope in Jesus Christ, and that with Him all things are possible.  But everything is all tangled up and knotted in a mess of emotions and stuff I don’t know what to do with.  And the Answers still live far away on the other side of the canyon.

I don’t know how to loose the knots. I don’t know how to untangle everything.  I don’t know how to get to the Answers.  I don’t know anything.

Except.

Except I’m not alone. I am not on this foggy hazy rocky sharply twisting turning up and down all directions path by myself.  I know this.  I feel this.  I sense this.

I’m still lost. Still clueless.  Still frustrated that I’m not getting it.  I can’t see what or where or why or how.  And I stumble, and stumble again.  And it’s uncomfortable and painful.  But I’m not alone.

Ps 121:1-3  I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved.  He who keeps you will not slumber.

He keeps me, and He doesn’t take a break. Ever.  In spite of me.

He goes before me.

John 10:4  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

He goes before me on this journey. He feels, sees, knows, everything.  Before I do. Before time began. And speaking of time, I realize that this is an issue of timing. I want to know NOW.  He will let me know When. It’s. Time.

So I wait. And in the waiting, I try to rest in the truth of His presence with me.

Ps 27:14  Wait for the Lord, be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

 

 

The Battering Ram

Trying and failing. Again.

At times when I allow my mind to tread silently down that path and look

I see that others make it work

And work so beautifully

I know I should not compare

But it seems that they have that Something

That has for so long been unattainable to me.

So much is so wrong

Sometimes I feel like there is no common ground

It’s like watching Olympic gymnasts. They work hard but all spectators see is the beauty.

I work hard too. But there is no beauty to behold.

I find myself

Trying and falling down. Again.

Opening my heart

And running full on into a wall.

Falling backwards and landing in an ungraceful clumsy heap

All arms and legs in a tangle

Breathless

Pulling myself together to get back up

But there is no sense of balance to help me so it’s a slow and arduous process.

This is what is. A logical statement of fact, my reality.

Oh, how I long for so much more

 

But all I am allowed to see is the wall.

A mighty fortress

Formidable and strong from years of reinforcement

Intense, exhausting, time consuming labor

And brilliant engineering that is unrecognized and not even known to exist

Yet I propel myself with all I have and try to break through

Throwing myself full force against the unforgiving unmoving stronghold

That keeps the real out of life.

That keeps safe distance between what can hide and what can’t.

You would think that after a while I would be immune to the pain

But it’s fresh, new, and sharp

Every. Single. Time.

It’s different now than it used to be

Current pain for current times.

I’m different now than I used to be

And I see the reality of the struggle

It’s not my struggle that matters.

My struggle is irrelevant when I choose to look upon

The whole scary incredibly sad picture.

But that truth does nothing to stop my pain.

I yearn to shift my focus like I’m supposed to

Choose supernatural joy and live that way

I pray for that. But the journey hasn’t reached that point.

Why?

I don’t know

So I just keep moving and waiting

And regrouping to take another shot at the wall.

 

 

Obedience Training

God and I have been in this dialogue for quite some time. As He shapes and molds me and works me over, as I struggle and fight and yearn for release even though I’m free already, as I question and ponder and analyze from every angle and strive, so hard, to understand…

When I’m really not supposed to understand, which is very hard to wrap my mind around because I want to understand every facet of EVERYTHING.

When what I need to do is stop. And just simply trust.

OK, but what does that look like? Exactly?  And how do I do that?  Exactly?  (I love that word, “Exactly”)  🙂

Here is what I am currently grappling with. It’s my yes.  My yes to God.  I say yes to what I feel He is stretching me to do.  And I do it again.  And again.  I’m doing my best to be obedient.  And wow, that’s great…  but… ummm… well…

I thought…

I thought this would feel so different than it does. This progressing, becoming, growing, learning journey I’m on.

I thought…

God, here I am. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.  I’m saying yes to You, God!  Multiple times!  That’s huge!  Especially for routine predictability obsessed me.  So, well, I don’t get this.  This how-it-feels-now thing.  I’ve said yes, and I’m actively working to do things that I think You are calling me to do.  But it feels…  uncertain.  Scary.  Unsettling.  Confusing.  Frustrating. Stressful.  Exhausting.  

Shouldn’t I be feeling this otherworldly peace? Shouldn’t I find rest and comfort in knowing I’m doing the right thing?  Shouldn’t this stop my ongoing exhaustion and stress and wondering how I’m going to get everything done?  Shouldn’t the angels be singing, and shouldn’t I have this feeling of rightness, this underlying reassurance, about these God directed things I’m doing?  Shouldn’t everything just magically fall into place to the point that I can say “It Is Well With My Soul” because feels so right and so perfectly wonderful? 

And in the deepest part of my heart, God says:

No.

Huh?

What? Why?  I need to know that I’m doing these things I feel led to do and the call is from You.  How can I be sure that I’m not just people pleasing or patting myself on the back? How do I know for sure when I’m not feeling totally into this, when I find myself not wanting to continue to do what I think You want me to do sometimes, when I struggle with am I taking on too much, when I worry about burnout and added stress, and when I ask myself, what am I really doing?

No.

Yeah, He already said that. But unfortunately, God needs to repeat Himself to me pretty often when He is trying to show me what I should be seeing that I’m not seeing.

So the dialogue continues. Another brilliant question from me:

Okay, so I get that Your answer is No. No, what? 

Really?

Yes, I can totally see God saying that to me. I know He loves me unconditionally, but come on, I can be pretty exasperating.  Sometimes I exasperate myself, with no help at all.  🙂

Sorry Lord, but I’m not getting this. Yes, really. Please show me, tell me.  Shine Your light into my darkness, and fluorescent light please, you know how dense I can be. 

Okay, my detail obsessed, precious child. Oh, how I love you. 

Here’s the deal. I never said living committed to Me would be clear, or concise, or easy to understand.  It’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard.  Yes.  That’s what I said.  It’s supposed to be hard.  Living for Me, striving to focus on Me and following my guidance to do what I call you to do for Me is a journey full of obstacles and bumpy roads, and while there can be shining moments of clarity, the pathway before you is usually hazy at best and sometimes so foggy you can’t see anything.  It’s a journey of one step at a time.  I know how that feels for you, my organized planner.  But this is a journey of uncertainty, because you must cling to Me, your one and only Constant, and let Me lead without the benefit of fully knowing first.  You will ask how.  You’ve already done that.  My answer is this.  You will know, but in My perfect timing, in many levels of knowing, as you grow.  And you can simplify the process of knowing when you focus on Me, completely, and allow your mind to be free of all the noise and distractions and details.  By the way, I know that your need for details is a huge obstacle for you that you long to be free of.  I hear your cry and see your struggle and this, too, is part of your growing.

Stop. Breathe. Take all this in, what I am telling your heart right now, even as the words flow free and your fingers fly on the keyboard.  Take this in, again.  See.  Hold it tenderly and close to you.  Just know, deep, that I am working.  And I see you striving, and I cheer you on even while I walk right beside you. I. Love. You. 

So keep making the effort. Even when it’s confusing, frustrating, tiring, stressful, and painful. Make the effort.  That’s all I require.  Even when you falter, and you will.  Even when you stumble and fall.  Even when you look up and realize you made a wrong turn.  Even when you wonder and worry and question.  Keep going on this path I have chosen for you before time began.  I see your heart.  I know you better than anyone because I created you.           

You long for reassurance, and peace, and comfort. Rightness. 

Look behind you, my daughter. Remember.  Remember those times when I gave you moments of clarity, where you saw a glimpse of how you are a part of my plan, right where you were supposed to be, doing what you were supposed to do.  Remember feedback. That feedback is my children following my guidance to reassure you.  Remember those special times when I have reached down and lifted you up to see Me, touching others through You.  Remember those times when I spoke peace and love into your heart through the words of a song or a scripture that spoke directly to you.  I’m giving you all the reassurance you will ever need.  But you have to open your eyes to see.

Finally.  Albeit ever so slowly.  I think I’m finally getting it. Life as a committed Christian is a harder life on many levels and in many ways.   And my job is not only to accept that, but embrace it.  Because if my life is harder as I’m responding obediently and following where I feel God is leading me, it’s so worth it.  And God gets the glory, which is really what it’s all about.  Where am I in the accepting / embracing spectrum?  Still working on consistent acceptance.  But I’m working on it.  Or more precisely, working on allowing God to work on it, on me, in me.

Phil 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

 

    

 

The Sad Happy Celebration

God spoke to me. No, not audibly.  But there were words flying around in my mind.  Words about a variety of recent events and reactions and everything I’ve heard and read.  God took me on a little side trip to show me what’s really happening.  I see.  Oh, how I see.  This is what was placed upon my heart this morning.  I choose to share what God revealed to me.  I am undone.  I am ashamed.  And I plead for forgiveness and long to stand upon truth and actively fight evil from where I stand in victory in Jesus Christ.

Do you hear it? Follow the sound.  Feel that beat?  It’s music.  Look.  Over there.  Can you see it?  It’s a huge party!  Many, many people.  Dancing and shouting and celebrating.  Curious?  Let’s go check it out.  Let’s see what all the celebrating is about.

Closer, come closer. Here.  Now look.  What do you see?  No, don’t turn away.  Look.  Why?  Because you need to see this.  Everyone should see this.  Don’t miss this.  Learn.  Know.  Then, take what you know and act.

There’s music. There’s dancing.  There’s partying alright.  Lots of exuberance and enthusiasm as you would expect at a celebration of great magnitude.

But… Yes.  You see it.  You hear it. You feel it.

Stop. Force yourself to stay for a moment and take it all in.  Allow yourself to feel it, to experience it.  The oppression, the darkness, the evil.  The insanity.  The sickness that is treated like heroism.  The depravity that is praised.  The entitlement argument that is applauded and encouraged.  And the hate that is running wild and free and weaving in and out with long and agile fingers, touching all, embracing all in a fierce and intense embrace.

There is a bonfire. The fire is bright and lights up the night sky, but the flames are hot and out of control.  Destruction and fallout is everywhere.  Yet fuel is continually added by the revelers.  The fire is a light in the darkness that exposes the truth.  But they don’t see.  They are all dancing, running, jumping, moving at a crazy frenetic pace, with their eyes squeezed shut.  They don’t want to see.  They want to pretend.  Make believe is easy when you close your eyes.

Odd thing is, they don’t even realize they are at a party. They don’t know they are participating in the promotion of evil, and willingly offering more and more fuel for the fire. Many of them think they are taking a stand and making a difference.  But they stand upon division and accusation and anger.

He is the only one who has his eyes open. Wide open.  Watching with a smile of sheer glee.  Euphoria, actually.  Oh, he is so very happy.  His name?  Yes, that’s right.  Satan.  And guess what?  This is really all about him.  He loves it when it’s all about him.  He sends more and more out…those shadows that are there, yet not there.  Not seen, but happily wreaking havoc and carrying out the mission with a success rate that is staggering.

The party goes on, this party with so many participants who don’t even know they are there. They are unknowingly all in, participating fully and involving all their senses as they are bombarded with more and more fuel for the fire.  It’s a hungry fire.  They think they clearly see exactly what’s happening.  False clarity.  And they think they have arrived at the answers that will resolve all the angst in the world.  But remember?  Their eyes are squeezed shut.  And Satan laughs and laughs…because what they see is only the most shallow superficial presentation of all the evil that lies beneath.

Yes. Be shocked.  Be appalled. Be saddened.  Be disgusted and hurt and devastated.  But don’t be fearful.  Instead, be obedient.  In absolute humility, ask for forgiveness from complete and utter apathy, from looking the other way, from relaxed and comfortable acceptance of so much that is not in any way acceptable.  This has gone on for far too long.  Take a stand, the right stand.  A stand that looks to the only One who can bring healing to hurt and unity to division and clarity to chaos.  Only Living Water can douse the hungry flames.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.    John 4:10

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.   Eph 6:12

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14