Frostbite, Hiking Boots, and an Empty Mug

Duck #36

Flannery O’Connor once said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” I love this because it’s so true. If you’ve followed along with my blog (or read even a single post) you  may have noticed that I think…A LOT. The best way for me to process my thoughts is to either verbalize them, or write them out. Well, as of recently, verbalizing my thoughts hasn’t been the best of methods–I’ve felt like I talk in circles (more so than usual). As a result, there have been several thoughts that I’ve kept to myself. Maybe for the best, maybe not, but I looked back through some of my old journal entries and read what was going through my mind at those times… I realized how freeing and beautiful and necessary it is for me to write. So, if you have a few minutes & care to know a little bit of what’s been going through my head lately, keep reading. If not, that’s okay too. Remember, writing for me is essential.


You know what sucks? Frostbite. It’s this gorgeously horrid picture of how difficult it is to see something right in front of you, but still not feel the reality of it. Let me explain. So, you’re outside on a relatively cold, snowy day. You’re not wearing gloves because you have pockets and you’re just trying to get from point A to point B. However, along the way you meet up with some friends that are having a snowball fight. You don’t wanna miss out on the fun, so you join them. About 20 minutes later you realize that you can’t feel your hands. No gloves, remember? You look down and you can see your hands, you know they’re there, you understand that they belong to you, you don’t doubt their existence, but you can’t feel them. Because you can’t feel them, for a split second, diminutive panic arises and nothing makes sense.
Faith can be the same way.
And by “can be,” I mean “is”–because that’s where I am right now. Sometimes, being able to feel your hands is that extra something you need to know that your hands are still real and not plastic. I say sometimes because there are moments when feelings and faith don’t need to mix. Because let’s face it, you’re not constantly thinking about the fact that you can feel your hands and therefore realizing how real they are. But when you can feel them, when you use your hands in a way that exhausts them, it’s a nice reminder of their functionality.

So, if I’m being completely honest, I desperately want to feel my hands again.

And while I rub my hands together, searching for heat, I find myself trying climb up what seems like the mountain of all mountains. But the problem is that while I can’t feel my hands, my hiking boots are worn and torn. They’re not unusable. Frankly, there’s still quite a bit of use left in them, but   because I can’t feel my hands, how could I fix them? What’s the point?
My boots, in this case, are The Bible.
I know that any time spent with Jesus through reading His word is time well spent, but sometimes the strength it takes to open that book seems impossible. It’s almost like I’m so empty that everything I know to be true and habits I know should be practiced seem ridiculous.

So, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t want to put on my hiking boots.

This brings me to the empty mug. That’s what I am. Carefully crafted, purposeful, desired, a vessel to be used for joy. (PTL for coffee, because a solid cup really does bring me joy :P). And you see, having a mug is great, but how much greater is it when the mug is filled with something delicious. But the mug can’t fill itself. It must be filled. In that same way, I can’t fill myself with the Holy Spirit. I must be filled.
Fortunately as a human, I have the ability to move, unlike an inanimate mug. But it’s hard to move when my hands are frozen and my hiking boots look ridiculous.

So, if I’m being completely honest, I feel like a mug without a bottom. 

And that’s what I think. Think, being the operative word. I don’t have a grand conclusion or a decorated finish. I’m sure I could come up with one, but right now I feel like that would take away from the rawness & vulnerability of this post. (Does pointing out your own vulnerability cancel the actual vulnerability? Ha…)

So, why did I write this? Because I needed to. Why am I going to share it? Well, I’m not exactly sure. But I know that sometimes when things seem crazy it’s nice to know that someone else also thinks things are crazy, too.
Usually, at the end of my blogs there’s a closing of “God is so much greater, so everything is gonna be okay” reasoning. But, not this time. I don’t think that applies here. If it does, I’m having trouble recognizing that, or figuring out how that fits…

So, I’ll leave it as is: God is so much greater. And praise Him for that!!

[“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
-Psalm 73:26]


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