Trouble with Toiling

 

If I had to define the last year of my life in one word, “busy” would sum it up sufficiently.

Classes. Work. Young Life. Visiting parents. Weekly meetings. Checking emails. Babysitting. Blogging. Trips. Fitting in time with friends. The to-do lists feel endless.

& the list goes on…

As busy-ness takes over my life, it becomes increasingly easy to avoid my aching heart. Open wounds from the past sit, worsening as I fail to deal with them… a family who has never apologized for harsh words that have cut to my core. A four year relationship coming to an unexpected end. Attending college in a city I had sworn to myself I would leave. Years of hating my body, attempting to forgo eating in the hopes of being prettier and skinnier. Basing all of my worth and identity off of my grade point average and the words of others.

It is incredibly easy to avoid the past when you barely have enough time to think about the present. Yet when I’m not rushing off to the next task on my to-do list and I just sit, my wounds start to throb. I am forced to sit alone in silence and feel the hurt that I have tried to tuck away in a corner for so long.

In the midst of one of those rare moments of silence and solitude this morning, I felt overwhelmed with grief and desperately prayed a prayer that I have never prayed before.

“God, things are so difficult right now and I just don’t know why. From the outside nothing looks out of place but on the inside I feel like my sense of purpose is in a state of rapid decay. I hurt. My heart hurts. I feel empty and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to fix this. I can’t even diagnose the problem. I need help.”

When I hurt, I can usually attribute it to a specific event that makes me sad. Lately, everything hurts. It is an ugly mess. All of the suppressed wounds that I have never grieved are surfacing, ready for oxygen, ready to be healed…all at the same time.

Yesterday I bought myself flowers. Yes, really. I’m a sucker for flowers…utterly convinced that they are some of God’s most exquisite creations. As I sat in front of the red daisies on my kitchen table, I remembered a passage in Matthew.

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you- you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has trouble enough of its own.”

I am struck by the weight that such a short passage holds in relation to my life.

How could I be so silly to think that I could happily continue worrying about the future while avoiding the hurt of my past? I have been attempting to work harder, do more, live faster in the hopes of cleaning up, in the hopes of washing white the stains in my past. How could I be so naïve? Just as the flowers of the field do not labor or spin, we are not meant to spend our lives toiling away trying to be beautiful on our own. When we labor and spin, we are a mess. When we rest in God’s embrace, allowing him to enter in and heal our wounds, he makes us beautiful like the flowers of the field.

Today, I will not avoid the solitude and silence. I sit in the presence of the Lord and I allow Him to enter in and diagnose and heal. He takes my work load. He makes me beautiful.

Let It Rain

rain

I sit here tonight and find fault with the rain as huge drops pelt against my dorm window.

Life loses color and everything becomes a shade of gray. The vibrant complexion of the world has lost all of its luster. It is washed away and replaced with tiresome monotony.

I feel the gray penetrate my soul with ease. It envelopes my entire being with a cloak of heaviness, depression, hopelessness, as I sit dejectedly, knowing the storm is far from passing and I am unequipped for the treacherous conditions my heart finds itself in the midst of.

I reach for the Good Book, desperate for any sliver of encouragement and color. Desperate for the brilliant beauty of hope. I find it as I open to James…a single line underlined with red pen from over the summer, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.”

Without rain, there is drought. Drought brings thirst. My heart longs to seek out radiance in the uninspired routine of everyday life. My heart thirsts for relief. Jesus sees my suffering and enters in. He brings me water, living water. He brings the rain.

I slip on my boots and go for a walk. The downpour is heavy and consistent. It washes over me and quenches my soul. I do not avoid the puddles, I walk right through them. Though it is dark out, it is not bleak. I breathe in deep. This is living water. This is good.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.

The rain falls and as it does, the gray shell of my cloak fades and brilliant hues emerge. Life springs from my heart and soul.

Tonight, right here and now, I believe that this rain is good. It is perfect.

How High?

As a young girl, I attended Sunday school regularly. My aunt and uncle would pick my twin brother and I on Sunday mornings and on the way we would pick up a box of doughnuts and Starbucks hot chocolate (maybe that’s where my addiction to the Seattle-born coffee shop began?). I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t help but have a tiny crush on my church pastor. His name was Morgan. He was tall, dark, handsome, and much too old for a 5 year old girl like me…but who doesn’t love tall dark and handsome?

Each week, after Sunday School finished, I’d sprint outside, panting with flushed cheeks to find Morgan waiting for me. He’d grab my hands tight, look me square in the eyes and ask with a big goofy grin, “Are you ready?”
“Of course!” I would screech excitedly. He’d lift me three times as I jumped as high as I could.

Each time I jumped, everyone in the church would yell in unison, “JUMP – FOR – JESUS!” The last jump was always the highest and most dangerous. My head almost touched the ceiling. It was a tradition we started after I had attended a Sunday school lesson about doing everything for Jesus which I had, as a five-year-old, translated to mean I should run, play, and yes, even jump for Jesus.

Now I am older…and though only slightly taller, I am fairly certain that if I jumped for Jesus with Morgan now he might throw his back out and I would leave church concussed. Yet the same principle that I had applied as a child seems to still make sense now.

Of course we should be jumping for Jesus. It’s the least we can do.

He jumped for us. More than that, He gave His own life for us. He sacrificed everything. He experienced a separation from God that He had never felt before  He did not just jump…He made the ultimate leap from perfect union with the mighty God of the Universe to darkness and sin…for us, because He loved us so much

I think Jesus is asking us to jump. I think he wants us to leap. I think he wants more for us than the comfortable lives we’ve slipped into effortlessly.

In the past year, I have found that the ultimate question is always whether or not we are willing to jump for the Lord.

This is a blog about my journey in jumping high for the Lord. I am searching for what it looks like to be different from others around me and give everything to the God who gave everything for me. I hope you enjoy following along!