Light Spring Ahead

Recently I moved from my hometown to a place (2.5 hours away) I had only visited, eh, maybe twice. Uprooted from a FULL life of work, college, friendships, friendships so deep they were more like sister & brotherhood, mentors, connections, a church where I grew by leaps and bounds, streets I could have driven with my eyes closed, neighbors who watched me blossom from awkward junior high-er to bouncy college sophomore. Planted in a different culture. Different streets. People who eye me with suspicion (instead of the acceptance born from familiarity). A different school with instructors who expect different things. The list goes on.

And somewhere among that list of differences I lost my balance. BIG TIME.

I started trying to do things “right”…bad bad BAD. I started measuring my performance, in class, with people, at work. I was striving and striving to meet the standard of what it looks like to be a success here. I listened to culture’s voice & the voice of my own insecurities & started trying to be someone else. I started condemning myself for being the Wild Child I have grown into (and who many have condemned & still do condemn me for being). And what happens when we start judging & condemning ourselves? We start judging & condemning others. In my head I was saying “I am better” because that felt better than knowing I had failed to reach the “standard”. Then the atrocity of that way of thinking started to close in on me. Should I change my major? Should I leave this church? I was so caught up in the negatives I couldn’t breathe anymore. Even talking to the people I loved most, I hated the sound of my measuring, counting, judgmental voice.

In my misery I knocked on Heaven’s door again. I was in darkness. I knew my behavior wasn’t of God, but somehow I couldn’t get my head above the terror of failure to gulp true LIFE ((oxygen)). Knocking, knocking, knocking. Hallelujah, my sweet God of Lights came & shown Truth into the darkness.

“Here.” He reached out his hand & gave me what I needed:

just enough clarity to keep going

acceptance

peace

the soft breath of God-air whispering, “my goodness is unending. rest.”

Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do….It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! Galatians 6:16, MSG

God didn’t allow his Son to be crucified so that we could live a limited life, suffering from neck pain due to fitting within the 4 walls of standardized boxes.

The God of the universe didn’t die to make us all the same. Because of the that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns into they dictate.~Galatians 6:15, MSG

The beauty of life now, in this fresh moment, is that I have a clean slate before God. Learning from these recent mistakes, I can spring forward into this season of life. This space with souls circling up around the brilliant light of Eternity. Suddenly, all the bitter things are honey again, gifts offered from the hand of Heaven.

When I cycle, when I study, when I text, when I eat…instead of failures, there is space, light, zest for life. And I want to share it all with others; with everyone I LOVE (in Christ that’s everyone).

It’s a cruel cruel trick 

How we find ourselves

When we lose everything else.

(Sleeping At Last, Woodwork)

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Yet There Is

At the start of summer I wrote a post celebrating how joyful God had made me. I broached the subject of how very far he had brought me in his tender way. He had romanced me from anger, fear, & insecurity into joy, peace, & confidence. Sweet. Christian life goal, accomplished, right? (Oh, the naivety of myself 3 months ago. Ha!)

Definitely that post was the story of a season, a hard season with a soft ending. But after a season’s close there comes a new season, and good, easy seasons are not promised. Seasons that are worth it are promised those who are hidden in the Divine. Worth it: I didn’t say easy. Certainly, each season is as different from the next as waves in the ocean, just thousands of water droplets struggling together in a rolling symphony that can caress sand as easily as crush lungs & snap bones.

So he led me from Heights [abundance of joy & confidence & love] into Depths [fear & weeping & heartbreak as well as confusion & hypocrisy] because that was the story of Next Season: Chapter 1. Hanging onto the previous season only hindered my forward motion, but he humbled my heart & inched me forward (at the snail’s pace of my tiny Faith).

Accusations hurt, my friends. Just ask David, the guy who wrote the book of Psalms in the Bible.

“O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.” But my enemies say nothing but evil about me. ~Psalm 41:4-5a

I was accused and I stopped dancing. I was separated from ones I loved & that sure didn’t make me want to dance. I was uprooted & now live in a new place with no old friends who “get me” & pray for me & laugh with me. In a culture that is just dissimilar from my own enough to make me feel uncomfortable, my hypocrisy parades before my eyes on the exhaust cloud of each Ford F-150 that drives by. I’m a girl who likes the illusion & false security of having bank account in order still unemployed & yet…

…And yet…

….there’s this peace. There’s the sense of a great God below & above holding my infinite place in this Universe; in his Heart.

Somehow I see another miracle already. It creeps in when my hard heart gets softened by a song or by prayer. That the unemployed new girl whose family relationships are tenuous at best, whose dearest friends are scattered around the state (country! globe!), against whose name accusations have fallen, is dancing. That the one whose privilege blinds her to blessings can see the face of her lowly Master with the eyes of her soul.

My Lord gives me glimpses of Heaven in every moment & today he has me dancing for the wonder of it all. The wonder of today. And yesterday. And Up & Down. Heaving sobs & a hopeful future. Proud discontentment breeding contempt & Holy discontentment giving birth to the restless pressing in….to Eternal Life NOW.

His love is everything from season to season. In the letting go & the too-long-holding-on….his arms of Grace are open to me.

What a reason to dance.

Don’t forget that love is all you came here for
Not anything less 

Need I say more? ~Brett Dennen