Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thoughts are like slippery toddlers

I want to be nurturing, comforting, loving and kind.  I don’t want to fail or to feel like a failure or to hurt the people I love in my brokenness.  Who does?!?
I simply want my brokenness to serve as an opening for the Treasure to shine through, to give others a window to the One.
The thoughts of anxious wonderings stir my soul to wake and get to task.  Does this also wake my children?  Have I passed it on to them? An anxious recounting of tasks to do and tasks undone and tasks to be redone and those simply done poorly and deserving up recrimination…
What a dismal way to wake day after day – to an overwhelming sense that no matter how hard I try, it won’t all get done, there will be mistakes, and I will miss important opportunities.
The shortcomings and failures magnify themselves through the lens of “not enough” like grandiose paupers with puppet power to control and manipulate through fear and anxiety.
But all these vapid emotions do is suck the life from my day, usurping Peace and Trust with “oh no!” and “what if?”
And who wants to even wake, especially when the list is impossible and overwhelming?  No wonder I’d rather sleep.  No wonder.
Yet, I know that this is not my inheritance, that I really have the right to stay in a perfect peace.  It’s my mind that is undisciplined and unruly, taking thoughts and imaginations exalted and inviting them in to drink and dine instead of taking them by the horns and wrestling them to the ground to show them who’s boss.
But have you ever successfully wrestled a toddler slippery from the bath with more energy than is legal in a single substance?
Yeah, me neither.
I’m not certain, and there doesn’t seem to be a perfect formula, but I’m finding that sitting and opening my arms and inviting those thoughts to come near for comfort rather than for a lecture is, in fact, a better way of capturing them and reshaping them with truth rather than bludgeoning them with facts.
This particular morning, I do a combination of both until finally these words surge from beneath the pile:
The Lord is my Shepherd
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not…
Be anxious for nothing but in everything give thanks
Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you
He works all things together for my good
and finally…
These light and momentary troubles are working for me right living as a default mode.  Amen and amen.  May it be soon, Lord.  That default mode?  I’d like it to be Peace and Rest and Trust. 

May it be so.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'm done with the box.

The conversation blindsided me.  I was expecting an encouraging chat about the past gathering, but instead I got a reprimand and a message to get back in my box.

We'd clarified and clarified again the expectations on us for the gathering, explaining and re-explaining our unorthodox style, tendencies to go "off road" and follow the Spirit train as we were seeing it.  The structure for the gathering was pretty tightly woven together, so we knew that we weren't perhaps the greatest fit.

But we were assured multiple times that "yes, we want what you got, so please bring it."

And bring it we did, only I don't think they really knew what they were asking of us or, rather, what unleashing us would ultimately ask of them.

I don't think they knew the embedded fears and desire to have control and to not be surprised that would be uncovered by our flow.

I don't think I did.

I tried a couple of more times, to be all me out there with my heart bursting wide and long and high in the glory of the Father's love, but the conversations kept happening and I was left bewildered and torn and uncertain how to explore the glorious adventure I'd grown to love so deeply with Holy Spirit, experiencing His sweetness and His laughter and His thrill that made my heart come alive in so many ways...

So I walked back to my box, and asked Holy Spirit to please not ask me to get too far out of the box during those gatherings because I didn't know what else to do.

Little by little that heart bursting wide and and long and high went flat.  Come to find out, even small periods of compartmentalization can have far reaching effects beyond the scope of a 2 hour gathering.

In asking Holy Spirit to not ask me to leave my box during those times, interestingly enough the rest of the week was affected too...somehow, and I haven't quite figured it out, there was a link from there to every other part of my life.

And I shrunk a little bit each time, but I thought it was just that one day, but looking back I can see a shrinking and a shriveling and a deadening that spread slow, but steady, over every other creative endeavor I was pursing at the time until I was almost completely and utterly flat.

I don't know how I could have done that season differently.  I don't know what path would have been the better path.  Perhaps I just had to walk that path to get an education on how shutting myself down in ANY AREA OF MY LIFE will impact all of the other I can think I'm just compartmentalizing for these few moments in time and that that's all that will be impacted...but no. Emphatic NO!  Any amount of box-hiding, small-playing, keeping myself "presentable" for the comfort of others will, if left unchecked, lead to death of the creative self which is ultimately me diminishing God's glory within.

This realization comes in a string of revelations I've been having on self-protection and the ways I use these tools to keep me "safe" which really equates to "free from pain" because who likes pain anyway!?!

But what I'm learning (and was so clearly illustrated to me this past week as I pieced together a puzzle I've been looking at for awhile now) is that I'd rather face the pain and be fully alive and fully who I've been created to be than hide in a box trying to avoid and/or numb the pain.  Because truth is, that box does a poor job of protecting me from pain and goes a long way towards actually catching and holding onto painful, identity-wrecking patterns of behavior that do not serve me well.

It's frightening as heck to not self-protect, to not shrink down and become small and disconnect emotionally (because that's what I do but your self-protective tendencies may be something else).  I mean, what if I get hurt?  What if I fall flat on my face?  What if I experience rejection and betrayal and abandonment?  What if I'm misunderstood? What if I'm abandoned?

I don't know the answer to my what ifs this morning, but I'm done with self-protection and I'm looking to God's protection and trusting that the vulnerability and wholeheartedness that Brene Brown writes so eloquently about is worth all of the risks. (*Y'all go read her books if you haven't yet.  Rising Strong hits it out of the park and is so worth your time to read and effort to process and apply)

And you know what else?  That self-protection doesn't serve the people around me at all either.  They are better off having the authentic, messy, out-of-the-box me even though experiencing her may be a bit uncomfortable and downright weird at times.

I'm scared, but I need to feel alive again, to have my heart beating wild and free, bursting long and high and wide and deep in all of the places and in all of the ways it's meant to be.

I'm ready to be free.