Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Here Again...Where You Begin

Here again.  Here.  Why do I always come back to this place?  Time and time again.  To this place where I feel like I can't stand on my own.  The the place where it feels like the last thread in the rope is about to fray.  Back to the end.

I try.  Really, I do.  I do everything I can to keep from coming back to this place.  I pray.  I read my Bible.  I listen to uplifting songs.  I spend time alone.  I spend time with God.  I can feel when it's coming on.  And I've gotten a lot better at doing that.  And I'm getting even better at doing all the things I can to head it off.  Yet, I still end up here.  In this place of frustration and doubt and questioning and exhaustion.  A place where I question if God is really listening to my prayers?  A place to where I wonder if He has forgotten His promises to me.  

It may sound odd that I'm back to this place.  Especially right now.  On the outside, things look fantastic!  I've started a private practice with a friend.  I get to do a job I love every day.  I have been blessed with some wonderful people in my life.  God has provided all I've needed...even when I don't see how the money will last or how something is going to work out.  And I'm happy for the first time in a really long time.  Well, let me say I'm joyful.  Happy?  Depends on the day.  

Today has been a tough day.  And the rest of the week is looking a little cloudy.   See, I'm good at stuffing.  I stuff my feelings.  I stuff hurt.  I stuff anger.  I stuff.  I'm getting better, but I still have a long way to go.  I'm also a doer.  A "yes man," of sorts.  It's hard for me to say no.  Again, something I'm working on but haven't quite mastered.  When you combine those things, you find your way back to "here."  Exhausted.  Weary. Wondering if you are really capable and competent to do what you feel God is calling you to do.  Wondering if it will all be worth it.  And since I stuff and don't deal with things as they are happening, I can be prone to experiencing what we will call "the busting of the dam."  See, you can only stuff so long before it has to come out.  And mine usually comes out in one of two ways:  I get really upset over something that isn't such a big deal (getting way better at not doing this) or I fall into a puddle of tears on my couch (haven't quite mastered not doing this one yet).  Tonight was the puddle.  

My frustration comes when I realize that I cannot break this cycle.  I've tried.  Believe me, I have.  Like I said before, I pray and read my Bible and do what I can to prevent it from happening.  But let's face it...I'm human.  We all are.  And being human means that sometimes life just gets the best of us.  Even when things are going seemingly well.  And somehow I find comfort in knowing that I don't carry this struggle alone.

Earlier this week, a college friend of mine posted a blog about how sometimes life just falls apart.  (http://joyousrefrain.tumblr.com/post/60825479814/when-it-all-falls-apart)  Her family has been through some very trying times this year.  And all of this after stepping out in complete faith because of a call they feel God has placed on their lives.  She talked about hanging on by a thread but trusting God to weave something beautiful out of it.  And that is where the miracle occurs.

But, it's when we take those steps of faith, trusting God for what we cannot see or explain, that the enemy launches a full scale attack on our hearts and minds.  We finally muster the courage to push away from the shore only to be met with a storm of tsunami like proportions.  And wonder what in the world is going on.  If God rewards the faithful, why does He allow the storms to come?  If we are following the path He has led us to, why do we feel so alone or abandoned?  I can't answer those questions.  I don't know why God mixes the joys of life with the thorns.  I don't know why, when He calls us out in faith and we follow, sometimes it feels almost like a punishment.  

Some things we just aren't meant to understand.  And for someone like me who likes to know what is going on and likes to be in control of things, that is like asking the a dog to quack like a duck.  I want to  know.  I want to know when.  I want to know why.  I want to know how.  And I want God to tell me right now!  But I'm not God.  And for reasons only He can know, He chooses not to reveal to us all things.  So we get frustrated.  We get tired.  We try to do and do and do in our strength.  And we melt in a puddle of tears on the couch all alone.  

But I have found it is in those moments.  Moments when we have reached the end of ourself.  Moments when we cry out telling God we can't do it anymore.  Moments where we tell Him we just need to know right now.  It is in those moments. when we get to the end of our ropes, when we are hanging by that last fray of a thread...  That is where He begins.  

I can't explain it.  It makes no sense to this human mind.  But when I reach that point, where all I can do is cry out and lay it all before Him, that I see Him all the more clearly.  It's almost like he uses the tears to clear out the dust from our eyes so that we can see Him.  So that we can turn our focus completely to Him.  And that's the point, I guess.

I, like my friend, still don't understand.  I still have questions.  I still want answers yesterday.  There are things that I think I know that I find I have no idea about.  Then there are other things which seemed so cloudy before that I can see clearly now.  And I have to trust that God is faithful.  That He will never leave or forsake me.  That He does remember His promises to me.  That He does see me in my darkest moments.  I have to trust He is working all things out for my good.  Even when I can't see it.  I'm not meant to see it all right now.

So, even though on the outside things look smooth, on the inside I'm a jumbled mess.  I'm a frazzled, tired, anxious person who doesn't have a clue what I'm doing most days.  But God knows.  He knows that sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves before He can begin a great work.  So He allows things and people and situations that may be trying or unpleasant or frustrating or just downright confusing in order to shift our focus.  Look at Job.  As much turmoil as he faced, he was still able to say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."  (Job 13:15)  

So here I am.  Again.  I don't know the purpose of all of this.  Only God knows that.  I don't know why I can't seem to learn this lesson.  But maybe that is the point.  Maybe God continues to allow these moments so that I don't ever reach a point where I feel I can do it on my own.  Where I feel I don't need Him.  May I never reach a place where I don't recognize my need for Him.  And so, like my friend wrote in her blog, I'll keep holding onto this thread and trusting Him for what's to come.  I'll reach my end and get out of the way so He can begin.  

Mandisa came out with a new album next week, and it is awesome!  Today, this song has been especially meaningful...and where I got the title for my post today.  I hope God will use it bless you as He has me.