This morning I’m sitting next to my best friend in church and she asks me how I am. Why does that feel like such a scary question?? Because I don’t like the answer.
There is no sense in saying “I’m fine” because our relationship gives a whole new meaning to transparent. It’s like God has given each of us the ability to see into the other’s life with God-glasses (kinda the opposite of sun-glasses that block light; God-glasses shine light on what needs to be brought out into the light of God’s love).
I respond “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. All I wanted to do yesterday is cry and I feel the same way today.”
My friend: “Maybe if you let yourself cry, who knows what your next blog would be?”
Me: “Right now I’m thinking I don’t need to be writing about anything, especially hope.”
My friend: “So maybe you believe you can’t be completely transparent?” Then she puts her arm around me and just loves me. Of course the tears start to flow.
There it is .. God shining light on what needs to be brought out into the light of His love. And, of course, the closing prayer today just happens to be for boldness to share what God is speaking to each of our hearts … so transparency it is.
The last 48-hours have been pretty much filled with me holding up this measuring stick and seeing every place in me that does not measure up and then soundly thrashing myself with the same measuring stick. It’s like I have my fingers in my ears and at the same time saying la, la, la, la, la so I can’t hear what my Heavenly Father or anyone else is saying to me. All I can hear is the beat of my own drum going “not enough, not enough, not enough”.
What does that look like? It looks like working 21 hours between Thursday morning and Friday afternoon and then berating myself for not having the energy to engage with friends at a sozo team meeting Friday night. It looks like feeling like I’d been hit by a truck on Saturday and being angry/disappointed in myself as I am thinking what is wrong with me that I feel this way? Why do I just want to escape from the world, my life and just cry?? Even when my sweet husband looked at me and said “I can tell you what is “wrong” with you, you’re exhausted. Rest.” My intellect was “that’s logical and good advice” … my heart not so much … my heart’s saying “I’m not supposed to feel overwhelmed; I’m supposed to be filled with unconditional hope, not discouragement. Why am I not healed by now of the FMS and the fatigue? I am a fraud.”
That’s how my day continued even though I surrendered physically to my husband’s wisdom and crashed on the couch; my personal measuring-stick-thrashing continued as I watched the movie Phenomenon. The lead character changes his world and the lives around him while dealing with the effects of a brain tumor. But not me, I’ve weenied out here on my couch – at least that’s what my measuring stick was showing me.
Yet, I didn’t want to turn off the TV either because I didn’t want to hear what my heart was saying about being a fraud. I was trapped in a double bind. At some level I knew this was torment from the enemy but at another level I didn’t want to hear what my heart had to say because I was too busy “shoulding” (yes, I made that one up) all over myself, i.e, basically blaming my heart for being less than it “should” be.
That’s my internal view of the past 48 hours. Externally what was transpiring around me in the same 48 hours was the many ways my Heavenly Father was reaching out to me saying “Exchange your measuring stick for my love.”
As I’m trying to rest and not look at my house that needs cleaning I receive a text from a young woman I had talked to about a week ago about possibly cleaning for me. Since I’d not heard back from her, I had assumed (dangerous thing to do) that she didn’t have time in her schedule. There was her text right in front of me, an answer to prayer “I can clean for you!” Provision rather than any condemnation from my Heavenly Father.
My sweet husband encouraging me to rest and enjoy my day. Continually checking back with me for anything I may need. Even offering to shoulder by himself some “grown-up decisions” as he calls them that we need to make as a couple if I’m not up to it. Again, no condemnation, just love.
As I walked into church this morning the woman that greeted me hugged me and said “you need more joy” however as her comment went through my measuring-stick filter all I heard was “I’ve let you down too, I’m not joyful enough”. Where really, with the benefit of hindsight, she was right I do need more joy – who doesn’t??
But what caught my attention the most was the teaching. It was no coincidence this woman was teaching this message today. As I listened almost everything she was sharing matched up with how God has revealed Himself to me and what I’ve been sharing on this blog. That it is really hard to trust God when You have God’s nature confused with the authority figures you have experienced in this world; that there is nothing in our hearts that surprises God even though it may surprise us; that He really is who He says He is “Merciful, Gracious, Slow to Anger, Abounding in Loving Kindness and Truth” (Exodus 34:6); and, sometimes we get it right; sometimes we don’t.
The light started to dawn … confirmation that what I’m sharing really is true … God is revealing to her the same things He is revealing to me … I am not a fraud … sometimes I get it right; sometimes I don’t. Just because I’m blogging about unconditional hope, doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t get to be real when I’m worn out and it is hard to hope.
Flawed yet fully loved not because of anything I have or have not done, but because of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. The pressure is off. I can rest. Care to join me?
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.
Matthew 11:28 (Amplified)
Yup, I’m trading in my measuring stick for God’s love. Pretty good trade don’t you think?
I just love God’s sense of humor … take a look at what He had waiting for me on my facebook today: