A long run--part 2

So my last musings ended on a low note. Tired. Discouraged. Overwhelmed. Real.

And I want to enumerate on three things that have come out of these past few weeks for me. One I've had an inkling of over the years, and the second I've known all along but I want to make sure to publicly confess it to make sure you don't miss it. The third is a new lesson altogether.

1. Obeying God does not guarantee a life of ease. I believe this is one of Satan's masterpiece-lies to make us feel like we're wasting our time when things get hard, to make us doubt God's goodness, to  make us feel foolish for trudging through the grime of life as if there is something noble about sacrifice and obedience. But friends, it is a lie! There IS nobility in the struggle. There IS grace in the pain and the fatigue and the discouragement of obedience. Jesus himself agonized until drops of blood fell from his forehead---imagine what he might have blogged that night had he been a different generation!!! And because Jesus did it, and came through it with certainty and dogged determination to stay the course, I know that I am also free to wrestle and cry and ask if there's any way this cup can pass. And then to rise up with that same dogged determination.

2. I've said it before, and I know I'll say it again. We--the people who have accepted a call to place ourselves overseas to do what God has asked us personally and us globally to do--are not perfect. Nor  does our calling give us any sort of immunity to discouragement, depression, or disillusionment. In fact, I think it sets us up for perhaps even more. Because, let's be honest--we all kind of have Gandhi-complexes. You know what I mean, right? Convinced we can turn this world upside down. Determined to see darkness shattered and truth illuminated and pain and suffering banished. Ready to fight injustice and show love and be conduits for healing. And God can do all that and more...and yet we rarely see it in the grand scale we expect. I'm learning about expectations, and about expectations I've had of God, and of the pain that can happen when our focus is wrong and God starts to not live up to our expectations of our plans in our timing. Dangerous, and common.

So don't put us on a pedestal. And don't pity us. Just pray for us, that we would be faithful to our calling (and only our calling), just as you are being faithful to yours.

3. Joy comes in the morning. This is my new lesson. As I sat here at my desk a month ago and cried, and wondered what I could do to get out of my funk, I was at a loss. How do you make yourself feel things you just don't feel? Dogged determination works for a time--but it's also exhausting, and it's not enough for the long-haul. I was reading a book called, "Expectations and Burnout" by Sue Eenigenburg and Robynn Bliss, and I was struck by a passage they referred to in Colossians 1. The larger passage (v 9-12) is great and I would encourage you to read it all. But for now, look at verse 11--'being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience"... and look who is doing the acting and who is doing the receiving. God wants me to have great endurance and patience to live this life--in all its glory and all its shame--bearing fruit in every good work, pleasing Him in every way, and so he strengthens me to do just that.

There was nothing I "did" to lift my head up and feel joy again, other than to cry and plead. One night I was directed to this passage in Colossians and I lay in bed, pondering it. And the next morning, things seemed a little more manageable. That day I kept faithful to dogged determination, and the next morning it seemed even easier. Just as subtle as a dawn breaking, God met me where I was and helped lead me to more solid ground.

So if anyone else is out there, struggling or suffering or feeling the heavy burden--I don't have a 12-step plan for you to follow. There isn't a flow-sheet or recipe or formula to plug things into. It's a matter of crying out in honest pain, and then of putting one step in front of the other, knowing that God IS faithful and He WILL reveal Himself by your side to establish your foot on the rock once again.

I don't like that as much as a neat formula. If I do x, then will happen--it's beautiful, stable, dependable, understandable. But it's not God, who is beautiful and dependable, but entirely unfathomable. So, in an completely anti-self-help spirit: Cry. Seek. Be. Wait.

Comments

  1. I'm a million miles away but I'm with you in this. Praying and waiting alongside you, cousin!

    Read from Ephesians this morning and was once again in awe that His power is so available for the living of daily life. For pressing into our calling...in the waiting and the doing.

    " I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that >> you may know << the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and >> his incomparably great power for us who believe. << That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead..." Ephesians 1:16-20

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  2. Alysa-One of my very favorite verses! I had it written high on the bedroom mirror to remind myself every morning (until Chad begged me to remove it, as it was right across his face when he was trying to get ready!) Thank you for reminding me of it again!

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