Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strength Will Rise

Today I am writing from a place in which my heart is ugly, fully of bitterness, anger, jealousy, comparison, and exhaustion. Today’s entry isn’t so much to share the comings/goings of life with others, but instead for me to put my thoughts down for myself and inadvertently share with a select few folks who probably know who you are (if not, no worries). I’m not afraid to discuss the ugly aspects of myself as I’ve found addressing them head-on often helps me work through them.

I have been waiting on the Lord for something for the past while and, though I can sometimes wait patiently, expectantly, and joyfully, I sometimes shift into the emotions I noted above. This week is definitely one of those weeks. As I wait for the Lord, I know I should be active as well, but I legitimately have absolutely, no earthly idea how to do that. I try different things and hit a brick wall or I ask people for help and either they don’t know how or something else (side note: I’m not blaming others in this, believe me. Asking for help is a skill that is extremely difficult for me, so that’s really the point with this one). All of this combined has led to comparison with and jealousy of others and a sense of entitlement that it’s my turn. This is exponentially worse given other aspects of my life in which I feel like I’m stinking at these days (isn’t it a slippery slope?).

See, I told you it was ugly. And while I hoped maybe God would knock me upside the head with the perfect answer after writing those two paragraphs, I know the process of even saying out loud what I’m thinking, however ugly it is, steals the devil’s ability to use it. It brings it into the Light and gives God control as I don’t like it and want to replace it with his truth and joy.

A few weeks ago (or maybe last week? I really have no idea), I stuck the verse Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 on my computer. I’ve been pondering what it means to pray continually since then, desiring that characteristic and behavior to define my life, the whole verse really. Today, I am striving to defeat the ugliness with truth. To turn my anger into joy and my bitterness into thanks. This will most certainly not be easy and I don’t think it means I cannot still be confused and longing direction with the thing I’m waiting for, but I believe my attitude in that needs to shift. As I could very likely be waiting for years and years as many folks in the bible did.

On top of all of that, or maybe contributing to it really, I’ve had a horrendous week. I won’t go into details as they don’t really matter, but I was encouraged last night. I only had three girls at small group, but that did not diminish the depth of the discussion. We’re reading Lee Strobel’s Case for Faith this semester and even in the first half of the first chapter, my girls challenged each other and me. Interestingly, we were discussing hurt and suffering in the world which led to wonderful discussions about the Acts church and what our responsibilities are, particularly given our wealth living in America. From there, they were sharing about things going on in their lives. One of my girls is in the throes of learning what it means to love someone so much that you are willing to jeopardize your relationship with them in order to help them experience healing. I have experience there, once incident being very recent, and while I’m saddened that she’s going through this, am thankful to be able to walk with her. Another broke down in tears about some things going on at school. My heart hurt and, while I wanted to reach out and hug her, I know from my CR days that crying can be cathartic and allows the emotions to be experienced as opposed to keeping them hidden from God’s touch. I don’t know that I am loving and discipling them well, but I am thankful for the opportunity and prayerful that God will intervene and love through me.

I promise that wasn’t a weird tangent. Small group helped to put things into perspective, but also made me anxious in a good way. However, that eventually faded into the emotions I described earlier and where I’m coming from today (a little vague as to why, but I promise it makes sense to me).

So now I’m going to pray the truths expressed in the Thessalonians verse above and be confident that God will help me rid my heart of the negativity and trust him. I desperately want this waiting period to be one of joy, peace, thanks, and loving others; I just can’t do that apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.