Surrender

After a long and weary road of being Jonah, I have once again (finally) come to the conclusion that surrender is, after all, a beautiful thing. Whether we run away from God because of hurt or pain or apathy or anger or whatever other reason, we only end up hurting ourselves in the process. Surrendering to God always brings intense relief, peace, contentment, and a sense of grounding. The floor is no longer shaking beneath my feet-it’s solid and real.

I don’t know why I keep doing this, but either way, it’s good to be back in His arms. It’s not safe, and it’s not easy, but it’s the best and most peaceful place to be. The most secure.

A while ago, I wrote this poem, and I’ve shared it a few times on this blog. But I keep experiencing layers of it, and today is yet another day when Like a Dance is relevant, so here it is once again. Happy Monday, everyone. xxx

Like a Dance

I am not interested in the mediocre.
Destiny, breathless, alive, fire.
These are a few of my favorite words.
I am not interested in living on the edge;
I am interested in jumping off it.

Let me fade, let Him grow clearer.
Where I am, I am in the way.
Where I walk, I walk in the wrong direction.
He is a breathless symphony;
He is the beat in my heart
and the fire in my chest.

Where I am mediocre,
He is extravagant.
Where words fail me,
His song always prevails.

He is adventure; He is love.
He is raging fire; He is a silent wind.

Being with Him is like a dance;
a dance none of us know,
a dance we once knew
and now must learn.

He leads and we follow;
He goes and we go after,
into places strange, unseen.

God of mountains, God of seas
God of the tempest and the firestorm:
take me there.

Scars

Darlin’ do not fear what you don’t really know ‘Cause it won’t last – the worries will pass All your troubles, they don’t stand a chance And sometimes it takes more than a lifetime to know Darlin’ do not fear what you don’t really know

-Brett Dennen

I have scars all over my knees.

They’re tomboy knees. Definitely not very “ladylike”, but what can I say…Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, I have scars all over my knees. And I remember how I got some of them…some are from when I face planted on a concrete basketball court, others from when I did much too sharp a turn on my roller blades and skidded across the pavement. There was blood. A lot of blood. And I cried and it hurt and at the time I was angry and frustrated and sad.

I am not afraid of the future. I am not afraid of the unknown. Or rather, when I find myself being afraid, I don’t run away and hide. This did not happen overnight…sometimes you have to collect a few more scars before you realize that you’re strong and that being happy and alive is a choice, not a result of circumstances. Before you realize that fear is something you can overcome. Sometimes you have to see a few times that God is trustworthy, that what He says is the truth, and that He does have plans for you.

Don’t look down on your scars. And if you’re in the middle of getting some more, know this: you will weather the storm, and have the marks of courage to show it.

So take heart. You will overcome.

Letting Go (in a non-cheesy-90s-song way)

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Change and pain are often partners in crime. The very nature of change, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, means that something is lost or given up. The old must go away to make room for the new. But it is always worth it. You’re going through a storm and it’s dark for days, maybe weeks…until one day, eventually, you look up and see a ray of sunlight, and suddenly you’re in a new place and the whole awful journey now becomes precious to you because of all the things you learned and because of how strong you’ve become.

This is the time of year when everyone starts evaluating. How did I do this year? Did I grow? Did I regress? Did I make use of opportunities and learn from my mistakes? Did I get just a little bit closer to That Person I know is somewhere inside me, fighting to get out? Did I let go of the right things and fight for the things I should have? Was I the best I could have been for my friends, for my family, for God?

But I think that this often becomes a session of failure-wallowing. I did this wrong, I failed there, I should have called this person more, I could have been like this by now if I’d only done that…et cetera. So I would like to say this. Yes, we can all always do better. We can all always look back and find things we did wrong. We make mistakes. This happens to be a fact of life, or it wouldn’t be life and we wouldn’t be human. It is also a fact of life and of being human that we cannot go back and change what is past.

One of the best things we can learn in life is to note a mistake, learn from it, and move on. Move on here meaning “not hold it over your own head until you die.” If God forgives us when we repent of sin, who are you to hold yourself in captivity over much lesser things? We have the fantastic ability as humans to change. To grow. But our growth is massively hindered when we don’t let go of things in the past. Learn from it, give it to God, and trust Him when He says “It is finished.”

A Well-Worn Traveler

This morning, I woke up and had kind of a radical realization. I was reading my Bible and praying, as I try and do every morning, when suddenly it hit me. I am not afraid. (Pardon the long post, but this is something I have to write down, especially since fear and dealing with it has been a huge theme on this blog).

Those of you who know me and who regularly read my blog will know that the past year or so has been very intense. Job, David, and I became good friends. Not that I lost everything physically, but God certainly had plans for some major, major pruning. And just when I would relax and think, “Okay, this has to be it. I can rest now,” something else would happen. I mentioned in a post long ago that I had somehow managed to convince myself that because I am a Christian, nothing bad will happen to me, which of course is the opposite of truth. We have only to read the Bible to know that this is not the case. But when we are afraid of things, we will subconsciously twist words to mean what we want them to mean so that we can be falsely comforted. But I was wrong: something bad did happen. And it rocked my world view for months, and then more bad things happened, and they seemed to never stop.

You know those people who you look at and go, “He/she is weathered but they’re still here.” The well-worn travelers of the world, those people who have suffered and come out of it and they’re still standing. They are not afraid, because they know that no matter what happens, they will come out of it. They will be okay. God is sovereign. Life will go on; maybe not immediately, or even soon, but eventually, one day, life will go on, even if it is only in eternity.

I was not one of those people. I was afraid. Because, if I’m being honest, I was missing the point. If I live for myself and my own comfort, of course I’m going to be afraid. I have everything to lose. If my happiness, contentment, strength, and identity lie in the things I do, or the people around me, or what I own, or any circumstances around me, then of course I’m going to be afraid. Losing something of that, or, say, almost being mugged on my way home from campus, will shatter everything.

But I’m not here for me. I’m here for Him. And this morning I realized that I know that. That I can honestly say, as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” (13:15). Because, quite simply, I’m not the point. HE is the point. And quite easily and suddenly, my fear seemed to simply melt away and a brilliant peace took its place.

Wonderfully Made

Psalm-139

This morning I woke up and realized that now, this morning, for the first time in a long time, maybe for the first time since I was very small, I love myself. I’m flawed and imperfect, but I love myself. I love who I am. I love what is inside me. I respect myself, my thoughts, my feelings. I am allowed to take up space. I am allowed to feel. I am allowed to think, to be, to create, to speak, to breathe. I am excited about my future. And I now realize the importance of loving yourself, because how can you begin to love others if you don’t love yourself? It is then constantly a game of earning, earning, taking, inhaling, because in that state, the only love you can give is a needy love, a wanting love – at best, a self-conscious love. When you love yourself, you can love others. And all I can say is, praise God for bringing me to this place. It has been a hard road and a hard road still lies in front of me, but I have found my voice and allowed myself to speak, and I will speak and make and breathe until the hard road leads into another springtime and I can rest again.