Have you ever felt so much joy and peace that it seemed like you were living out your true purpose and you were right where you were supposed to be?
And I was silly enough to think it would last forever.
It seems like some kind of joy vacuum came along and sucked it all away, leaving me feeling empty and anxious and insecure.
Much like a helium balloon slipping through my hands into the great open sky.
Of course when the balloon flies away, we know it was our fault. We didn’t hang on tight enough. We got distracted and let go.
But a full life of joy and peace?
Can we honestly hold on “tight enough” to that so it never floats away?
I don’t think so.
In fact I don’t think we are the ones to get ourselves into that sweet spot in the first place.
We always want a formula.
The 3 easy steps to living an abundant life.
The 5 point list of things I need to do to walk closely with God.
There is no formula.
There is no formula.
But it sure as heck doesn’t make us stop looking for one.
Or blaming ourselves for not following it (the nonexistent formula) when things go awry.
Like mankind in Genesis 11, we think we can build our own tower to heaven.
We want to make a name for ourselves and we don’t want to rely on God.
It’s a wonder He loves us so!
When I lay my faults and failings down they cover miles of territory. When I weigh myself on the scale of “good enough” I come up short every time. Particularly when I compare myself to other people.
Comparison is the thief of joy, yet we invite that criminal into our minds and set out a tray of warm cookies for him.
I do this, anyway.
I meditate on my hopes and dreams and passions and, instead of being excited about what God might want to do in and through me, I start looking around at what He’s doing in and through other people.
I follow a bunch of lovely and brilliant men and women, mainly on social media, and I’m in awe of the things they’re doing.
The stories they tell, the messages they spread, the art they create, and the magnitude of all they do.
Then I think about my own hopes and dreams…my own passions and desires.
And I start to feel defeated.
What am I ever really going to contribute?
What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said better before?
It seems like everyone and her sister is a stay-at-home mom with a gaggle of kids, looks amazingly stylish everyday, lives in a perfectly decorated home, runs multiple websites that are stunningly designed and followed by droves of people. They have small businesses and big dreams that they seem to be realizing each and every day.
Who are these women??
How can they possibly do all of that and still profess that it’s not about striving and it’s all about the gospel?
I just don’t get it.
I find myself striving many days just to keep the house clean, make 3 meals and throw a blog post together.
Run a business and several successful websites and dress like a fashion icon and perfectly style my tiny suburban bungalow?
And if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t really even want all of that.
Deep down I know none of that would make me happy or make me feel significant.
At the end of the day, I want to know God. I want to walk with Him and I want Him to use my life to bring a little heaven to earth.
In whatever way that might be.
In whatever time that might be.
That second one is the hard one for me.
And even harder still is the idea that the time is right now.
That, although it doesn’t feel like anything is “happening,” I’m still waking up every single day inside the story God is writing in my life.
Even the dark and discouraging days are a part of this epic tale.
No really great story is happy the whole way through. The sad and scary parts are what make the happy ending so incredibly sweet.
I really want to be more and more okay with the less-than-awesome pages in my story.
Lately I’m just not.
I keep spinning my wheels to figure out where I went wrong or what to change to make myself feel close to God again. How many more bags of stuff do I need to purge to feel more in control? How many cute pictures do I have to post on Instagram to feel like I’m living a beautiful life? How many delicious recipes would I need to make before I felt like a success here on the blog? How many times would they have to be pinned for me to feel like they were good enough?
That glimmer of time I was basking in peace and joy? It was a few weeks during Lent.
I was off social media. I was remembering hourly how much I am loved by the God of the universe. I was following my desires to serve and connect with people relationally. I had margin in my schedule. I didn’t have crazy expectations. I was just living in the moment. Trusting God throughout the day.
I just want to get back there.
But I have a feeling I’m supposed to embrace this place too.
The foggy and uncertain chapter where I don’t know what’s next.