If you’ve spent nearly any amount of time with me, you’ll know that I get excited about things very quickly. It doesn’t take much for me to elicit an overly exuberant response or find something humorous enough to literally knock me over. Laughter is genuinely my number one favorite thing to do. I know I’m not alone in this, but I’ve realized recently why it is that I love laughing so much. It’s because of how deeply I am “feeling the funny.” When I’m especially tickled by something, it’s common for me to be “taken” by my laughter, and usually will be rendered speechless for a bit too long. Admittedly, it’s quite a site and a ridiculous one at that, but I can’t help it. I just feel the funny in my bones and succumb to its vibrancy. It’s nirvanic. (That’s not a word, but let’s pretend nirvana can be an adjective, cool?)
I wish, though, that “the funny” was the only thing I felt deeply… The weather in Pennsylvania, while not extremely winterous (again, not a word. but let’s keep pretending), has been predominantly cloudy. Now, if you haven’t lived in a place where sunshine severely lacks in the winter, consider yourself fortunate. Sporadic gray days are fine, I think we all need them–they remind us to slow down and be still–but too many in a row can really take a toll on your mental health. Because the sun and I haven’t hung out as much as we did in the fall, I’ve had more time to think than I’d probably like. It’s okay, though. Thinking is inevitable and feeling your thoughts is important, sometimes. But man! It sure does feel like these clouds are just wringing me and my feelings dry. Consequently, it is through this drying process that I’ve begun to learn a thing or two…about my self, about the Lord…
Fear is familiar and it’s an easy camping ground.
There is a false sense of security that being afraid gives. It tells you to worry because then you’ll have control. It tells you to hide because then you can’t be seen. It’s comfortable. But the gospel is bigger than that. The gospel says, “I see that you’re afraid, but you don’t have to be. I’ll take your fear.” In Luke 5, Jesus calls his first disciples. After Jesus finishes preaching to a large crowd, he tells Simon (a fisherman) to put his net back into the water.” Mind you, Simon and his fellow fishermen had been trying to catch fish for HOURS and even after fishing through the night, they’d come up short. Immediately, Simon says, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets” (v5). I love Simon’s response because it’s shown me that in the midst of my fear, there is still a call for obedience. Leaving my fear is uncomfortable, because it requires me to trust someone other than my self, Jesus.
The Lord’s faithfulness is both self existing and self sustaining.
One of RUF’s presuppositions is “God is at work.” At first glance, it seems so simple and operates as obvious. However, in ministry, it’s really easy to doubt this truth. When I say the wrong thing, when girls don’t come back to RUF, when students have really hard stories, I too often blame myself for the “catastrophe.” But God is at work. He’s always at work. His love is steadfast and all his work is done in faithfulness (Psalm 33:4). The beauty of this reality is that my fear, doubt, confusion, worry, and lack of trust cannot thwart or alter this aspect of God’s character. And yet…this faithfulness is for me, with mercy that is new every morning. God’s faithfulness isn’t contingent upon me or my understanding of it. (Praise Him for that!!)
“Give yourself permission to be where you are.”
My counselor has been telling me this for months. I don’t do this well. I love to analyze and figure out why I am the way I am or why I am feeling the way I’m feeling. But If I try to always figure everything out, I don’t leave any room to be still and know that He is God (Ps 46:11). Breathe. This too shall pass, but if I don’t acknowledge that my “thing” needs to pass, it won’t. I won’t give it undeserved credit, but I need to let it know that I see it and hear it. But it also needs to know that I don’t have time to be overwhelmed by it.
Fight like h*ll.
Daily, my flesh is out for blood. My mind is hungry to give into unhealthy behavior. I have to pray. In this incredibly individualistic society it’s far too easy to be threatened and offended when my comfort level is in danger. The gospel calls me out of comfortableness into the arms of Jesus. I have to pray. I really, really don’t like big change but I can’t give into the fear and anxiety change brings. Giving myself permission to be where I am doesn’t mean that I won’t have to move eventually. I have to pray. After Simon put his nets into the water again, he “left everything and followed [Jesus] (Luke 5:11). He fought the urge to remain a fisherman and instead became a disciple of Christ. I have to pray.
Gratitude is a beautiful antidote, say “Thank You.”
It’s really difficult to be angry and thankful. It’s also really hard to complain when you’re making a list of blessings. For some reason, I find it really easy to keep thanksgiving to myself, but such an attitude isn’t like pride–it should be proclaimed. Gratitude should be shared and celebrated. It produces humility and I’ve found that it’s begun to open the caverns of my heart that are closed off to trusting my Savior.
So, I think that’s where I’m at. Somewhere between inevitably “feeling the funny” and also feeling everything else. But I’m learning and the Lord hasn’t left me. So I’m okay… 🙂
Thank You for your patience, for you love, for you understanding. Help me to trust You…]