Warning: This post is a bit long. If you aren’t patient, I probably won’t judge you for not reading it all.
Can I tell you guys a story?
Two nights ago, I was afraid. I mean, I’m still afraid now, but two nights ago, my fear overwhelmed me. I got a grand total of 3 or so hours of sleep, and I was so anxious, my stomach turned itself into a bottomless pit. I spent the night eating to satiate the hunger as well as listening to Patrick Mead and the soundtrack for the HBO miniseries The Pacific. The main theme ‘Honor‘ makes me feel like I can fly. Sue me. (If you click on the link, it’ll open a new tab that will play the song and make it sound like you are reading something monumental.)
We all have fears and want to control things so that our fear becomes irrelevant because we are human, and since I’m not some strange alien and I’m writing a human story, I sometimes allow the fear to move in and take over.
I’m afraid of loss.
I know I’m young, and I definitely don’t want to play the martyr, but I’ve lost some stuff in my life. I’ve lost very significant pieces of myself–Things that tore my heart out. Sometimes I get to this point where I just don’t want to hurt anymore; I just want to stop losing things, so I take the things I feel the desperate need to keep and I pull them in as close as I possibly can and control them, and squeeze all the drops of security out of them as I can. When I stop being able to control them and when I lose my sense of security, I end up in bed at 3 in the morning tossing, turning, and sobbing at how completely alone I feel, because I just want arms around me– holding me and telling me that it’s going to be okay. And in that place, my world stops existing outside of myself. I get trapped inside my own head, and and realize that life has become solely about me. In that place, I’m stuck inside myself, looking at the person I am, and being so completely unsatisfied. I get anxious, because continuing on the road I’m on is too safe and predictable, and how can I ever make anything of my life if I’m boring? How can I ever be someone amazing if I don’t stop to listen to other people?
When I realized I probably wasn’t going to sleep much, I nestled in, and started thinking of and praying for people like LaQuinta that I met several weeks ago at a church I’ve been to a total of 4 or 5 times. She’s a single mom with a daughter in a children’s home (She goes to church so she can see her daughter). She is a fiance to a man who goes to Wally-World on Sunday, because that’s his day off. She is, most of all, a shoe and purse lover. She was beautiful and funny, and I absolutely cannot get her out of my head. I prayed for people like beautiful Maria who inspires me to love Jesus more, people like Emily who is so strong, and has so much more going on in her life than you’d ever guess, and problems that you often forget about because she never complains, people like Nikki who is so incredibly beautiful but doesn’t know it yet, and people like Logan who is so far out of his comfort zone for a week, and you just want to tell God how much you love him because it’s 3 in the morning and you can’t tell him for fear of waking him prematurely… Now I’m rambling…
Something cool happened, though. The minute I stopped thinking about how alone I felt, and started thinking about how alone other people might feel, and the pain that other people were experiencing, once I stopped paying attention to my emptiness to tell Him that I loved these people He’s created, I felt full.
I fell asleep praying– In my Papa’s arms.
The next morning I went to church, of course irrational, very hungry, and wanting to shed tears about everything, even the apple I never ended up eating. I sat in the car with my brother Drake and told him part of the story of my restless night. When we got to church, I was reminded over and over and over of how much I’ve still got.
During this video, God talked to me. Sounds crazy, I know, but it happened. ( Go ahead and watch it. It takes a lot for me to actually include media in a blog post.)
As the video rolled, I held back happy tears as God said, “Sweetheart, let Me make you new. Let Me restore you. You can’t do it on your own. It’s too much for you.”
It’s such a relief that I don’t have to fix myself, and that’s not too say that I won’t work at changing things, but it’s a relief to know that I don’t have to control my own redemption, because if we face it, I’m sure as hell not even close to being strong enough to be something incredible. I’m breakable, and it’s a relief to know that I’ve got Someone who will help me walk with grace and love, who will redeem the messes I always seem to make.
One final thought, and then I’ll go away. An acquaintance of mine posted something about Psalm 18 on her Facebook, and I felt compelled to go read it. What I found was beautiful. It was a poem about a Father that becomes indignant on our behalf and saves us from the things that try to tear us down and beat us up. He loves us so much, that He hears us and comes down and wraps us in His arms while He rebukes the hatred and death that try to advance on us. I, for one, feel lavished when I read that.
Is not my very life at risk if I am clinging so tightly to security that I forget that He has given me the gift of life, and lavishes me regularly with His huge love? Am I not wasting myself if every step is not an adventure because I am too afraid to feel pain? I often forget that He uses the pain and makes something beautiful out of it. How? I’m not entirely sure. He’s just really talented like that.