Category Archives: authenticity

Anybody Out There?

I sit here, not even sure why I chose tonight to open up a new post and revisit this, my good old friend and blog.  And after more than 6 months away, I’m pretty sure the blank page that sits before me now also reflects the empty walls onto which I’ll cast my words now and wait as they echo back to me from their lonely cavern….

But I’m here, because I need to be here.  The last six months have been tough in so many ways.  Even as I say that, my head hangs in shame as I think of all those who have it so much worse than me, who have truly devastating situations or tragedies.  I should be stronger. I should be more grateful. I should be able to juggle things better.

But that’s kind of my point … I should … but I can’t.

And that’s a tough lesson for me to swallow.  I set the plates spinning and dash amongst them – and if that’s not enough, usually I’m trying to juggle a dozen balls at the same time, all without missing a beat.

Oddly, I usually manage to keep it together – I was built to multi-task and to be busy all the time. I just do better that way.  (Do you hear the “but” coming?)

BUT…I can’t keep it together all by myself.  I can’t get so tuned into the music of the spinning plates and the rhythm of the balls hitting my palms in mid-flight that I tune out the rest of life’s symphony.

What symphony?
People.
Church.
Rest.
Peace.
Time to laugh, time to be, time to give.
Relationships.
The little moments that keep our hope and faith buoyant.
Conversations that mean something.
Taking care of myself – because I’m worth that much.

You see, when I focus hard on the spinning and juggling, I tend to tune out everything else.  I shut myself off from everyone.  Usually it’s gradual enough that people don’t notice – slowly I manage to just disappear from the picture … gone AND forgotten.

But I’ve had to admit something this week, and that’s the reality that even if not deliberate or conscious, I still CHOOSE to shut myself off… and why?  Because what if I don’t and, in the mist of the spinning & juggling chaos, I show my real vulnerability … and find myself rejected?  What if I find out that what I spent so much time fearing is the truth – I’m not good enough?

Yet we’re not meant to be islands. God CREATED us for fellowships, for relationships.  Removed from it, we begin to wither – our very souls hunger and thirst for the nourishment that only comes from community. So before long, some of the balls start to drop and the plates start to crash. I should be able to do better … but I can’t.  And that’s because I’m not living my daily life, intentionally resting in God, His promises, and His design for me.  I may be tiptoeing through it in the same direction, but under my own steam – and that’s not how He created us to live.

The funniest part of this is that, even after 6 months, it all comes back to the very beginnings of this blog when I shared my desire to come before you here and be genuine … somehow I’ve convinced myself that shutting myself off still fulfills that goal, both here and in “real life” because I’m not putting forth falsehood – I’m merely not stopping in to say hello and check in.  I can see you shaking your head in disagreement, and you’re right to do that.  You can’t claim to be genuine if you don’t give your whole self, no matter what and no matter when.  That doesn’t mean you have to be an open book about anything and everything – but slipping on that invisibility cloak so you simply fade from fellowships of any sort is not a trait of a life lived in truth.

And, of course, it also comes back to that one word that I knew God laid on my heart for the year: depend.  Oh my, the lessons I have learned about depending in the past six months!! Maybe someday soon I’ll share some of those with you. But even while I’ve learned about depending in some ways, I’ve missed the boat in another. What about the dependence of community?  The chance to let somebody come along us and give a few plates a spin so we can catch our breath?  The team to come set the juggling in motion in a beautiful, intricate pattern we could never imagine producing all by ourselves?

So I sit here, ashamed, knowing I’ve let you down, I’ve let my circles of fellowship down, I’ve let myself down, I’ve let God down.  It’s a mighty weight to feel the burden of so much disappointment … yet oh, how clear God’s voice rings through with His reminders of mercy and grace.  God’s working on me and in me. I don’t have it all figured out and I’m not really sure what the next step is on the path yet. But I know the step I was supposed to take tonight was to step back into this little community, let the words echo around – and hopefully they’ll find an ear or two who’s still around to listen.

And if you do, I want to leave you focused not on my futile spinning and juggling, but on this beautiful song, one that resonates in my heart and soul. May God bless you through it today:

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Broken Hallelujahs

This week has been one of extremes for me – an emotional roller coaster ride on which I was barely strapped in, in moments shouting for joy and in others crying out in frustration. We all have those weeks, right?

As the weekend arrived, I fought to break the surface of the water to catch my breath – only to be shoved back under Friday evening with the reality of my “aloneness” broken open and spilled out in front of my very eyes. You see, sometimes you can be surrounded by many people or have many friends and yet still be entirely, utterly alone. That’s where I found myself on Friday after taking a risk and stepping out of my comfort zone.

I’d like to say I responded well, but I can’t.  True to form, I sunk to the very depths of self-loathing and anxieties besieged me at every turn. The “me” of Friday night was perhaps as raw, as exposed, as vulnerable as I’ve been in quite a long time. I knew that things would look better the next day, but that did little to comfort me in the moment.

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Thankfully, I awakened Saturday to a rested mind and heart and while it was still hurting and raw, I was also ready to listen and to learn.  It was in the quiet moments of Saturday that God began to whisper to my soul.  And do you know what He whispered, again and again?

Yes, depend.

Ouch. I committed to God that I would embrace this as my word for the year, and here I am, less than two weeks in and already being brought to my knees by it?  Oh, how clear a light this paints of my stubborn, independent soul, doesn’t it?

The word resonated and bounced around in the empty, cavernous chambers of my heart and mind on Saturday, seeking a resting place with none to be found.

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It was only today that God spoke again, and this time it was convicting to the core:

“My beloved child, when you go about life determined to do it on your own, without any dependence on others or on Me, you are essentially closing yourself off to life itself. You’re going through the motions.

Oh yes, I know what you’re doing and why. You close yourself off to protect yourself from hurt, pain, and rejection. But in the very same breath, you are also closing yourself off to love, to joy, to fellowship. Your days become flavored by your fears and worries instead of enveloped in peace and hope, the way that I designed it to be.

Precious daughter, you must learn to depend. Dependence doesn’t always take the form of asking for or accepting help. Sometimes it is simply depending upon others to love you the way that you need to be loved, depending upon your friends and family not to let you down, depending on others enough to keep taking risks again and again and again.  

Trust Me. Trust them. Trust yourself. Depend.”

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My heart was stilled … my mouth was speechless. I have such a tendency to listen until I get the gist of what God (or someone else) is trying to say and then taking off, determined to conquer the world with that course of action. But today all I could do was sit, humbled by the truth of His words and convicted by His intent in sharing them.

In that moment, slowly the words to a song that I love dearly began to run through my mind and my soul began to sing ….

In those moments of humility and brokenness, God caressed by troubled heart in His gentle hands and whispered Love, Hope, and Peace over my mind and soul.  So often when I come to God with fragments of a concern or a situation where I’ve completely made a mess of things, I come before Him ashamed, unable to lift my eyes to Him.

Yet in these moments, God cradled my chin and lifted my eyes up to His – and again whispered, “Sometimes your broken moments are the sweetest of all, because in those moments, the melody you sing is joined in precious harmony by the very thing you struggle so hard to give: dependence.” 

How about you, my friends?

What is God whispering to you in the broken, topsy-turvy roller coaster we call life? Do you hesitate to come before Him broken, wanting to dust yourself off and freshen up your make-up first? Have you closed yourself off to keep away the hurt and now find yourself calloused and apathetic?

May God caress your heart today, too, and remind you that indeed, sometimes our brokenness is better than a hallelujah…

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
~~Hebrews 10:23~~