I’ve been having the urge to write lately. To get the bottled up thoughts out in black and white where I can stare them down.
I never intended to blog them, but one of the things I want to value more is authenticity. And that involves vulnerable sharing, so I decided to go for it.
This post is not eloquently written or well organized, but it’s what was swirling around my heart and mind. I’m anxious to hit publish which must mean it’s truly vulnerable.
It’s also long.
You’ve been warned….
For a few days now I’ve been feeling like I need to just sit down and write.
Unedited. Not for the blog. Not for anyone else to read.
Just for me.
There’s just so much on my mind lately…
I don’t even really know where to begin. I’m just feeling unsettled. Like there’s more I should be doing even though I know that I’m not “supposed” to be focusing on “doing” right now, but on knowing God.
It just feels like my pendulum has swung in the opposite direction of “doing” things in my faith to just being lazy and even stagnant. I want to know God. I sit in church on Sunday mornings and the worship reminds me how great the God that I serve is and yet I spend day after day and week after week putzing around my little house in my own little world.
I’m raising a child, which is certainly a noble cause, but I don’t even feel like I’m “doing” that right. I am teaching her good eating habits and how to be polite and clean up her toys and take good naps and brush her teeth, but I’m not teaching her how to know God. I’m not teaching her what a precious gift that Jesus is and that we can know him.
I honestly don’t even know where to begin with that. I know she’s smarter than I even realize and it’s evidenced when she remembers random things or says things she’s only heard once before. But somehow talking to her about the God of the Universe and how amazing he is just feels foreign.
Like I’m just starting to understand his love for me and what my faith really even means, let alone trying to break it down for her two year old little mind.
So I don’t even try?
That’s stupid. I explain other things to her that are over her head. Why not faith?
I’ve sounded like a broken record in the past few months talking about how God’s word doesn’t return void, so at the very least I should be reading the Bible to her. But I don’t.
I should read the toddler bible to her. But I don’t.
I should put Christian videos on for her. But I don’t.
Why am I waiting? What am I afraid of?
The time I do spend with her is usually spent shaping the outward stuff. Getting her dressed and gushing about how cute her clothes are and how adorable she looks with pigtails. I tell her how important it is to brush her teeth because I don’t want her to have yellowed teeth.
I stress good behavior like it’s the end all be all. I praise her lavishly for good behavior and take discipline seriously. I know it’s because I want her to have a good heart, but my actions are placing so much more value on outward appearance and others’ perception.
I don’t want her to be like me. I don’t want her to draw her sustenance from the well of reputation. I want her to drink God’s living water. I want her to value character and authenticity. I want her to love God and to understand his love. I want her to know that her value isn’t determined by anything other than the fact that she is a child of the most high God.
I know it needs to be modeled to her. And more than ever I feel like my heart is soft and I’m learning not to be bound by the shame of my sin. I want to have a right understanding of God’s love and I’m still moved by the direct revelation of God’s love that I experienced at the retreat last month. But I don’t know where to turn next.
So I do what comes natural to me, which is to accomplish tasks or seek out “feel good” activities. Thanksgiving wasn’t about giving thanks or even being a blessing to my family. It was totally selfish and was all about me trying to find the “holiday feeling” and experience memorable moments so I felt all warm and fuzzy.
No wonder it was a bust. No wonder I didn’t have any patience for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. No wonder I felt alone and disconnected at the family party. I got all dressed up, I made tasty side dishes and I showed up wanting to be fulfilled. Wanting it to scratch the itch that I have deep in my soul. I spent more time thinking about my manicure than I did talking with my in-laws. How pathetic is that?
I felt bad that Jennifer was swamped with all of the cleanup, but I didn’t want to mess up my manicure so I just sat back and did nothing while she cleaned everything up alone.
I wanted the long weekend with Andy to feel special and I wanted to feel like we did enough fun yet restful stuff that I’d have fond memories to look back on when he went back to school. There weren’t enough movies in the world to watch to make me feel like my soul-level need for connection with him had been met.
Sure we spent time together and watched movies and ate dessert and talked in bed, but I mostly felt empty.
I know that he can’t meet my deepest need for relationship. No one can. No activity can. No food can. No new makeup or manicure can. No new outfit or picture on Pinterest can.
Only you can.
Lord, why do I chase all of these other things?
Why don’t I at least attempt to reach out to you? I may not know exactly how, but I could at least try. I could make room to listen to you. Or talk to you or even type to you if that’s what it takes to focus my mind.
Why don’t I put on worship music and lay quietly asking you to meet me. You say you will. You say you never leave or forsake us. You say that you care for us and that you never slumber or sleep.
You offer living water and your love.
All that we really need to sustain us.
Now I’m sitting here after the holiday weekend has come and gone. I’m still surrounded by all of my fall decorations and I’m anticipating the Christmas decorating that is to come this weekend.
But again I find myself restlessly waiting for it. Like if round one (Thanksgiving) didn’t give me the feelings I was looking for, then maybe Christmas will.
If I strive maniacally toward Christmas wanting it to satisfy my deepest need, it will fall just as short as Thanksgiving did. I’ll be left feeling sad and empty again.
I’ll turn my attention to the other great event on the horizon…the birth of my baby girl. I’m literally finding myself antsy for her to get here so much that I’m wishing the days away.
And yes it’s because I want to meet her, but it’s also because I know it’ll make me busy. It will take up the time that I spend consumed with what I should be doing. It’s not her job to fulfill me either.
I will only be truly satisfied with you.
With knowing you. With worshiping you. With seeking you and resting in you.
You are the answer to the things that are bothering me….
Lack of discipline
Having a good enough marriage
Living a full enough life
Eating the right kinds of foods
Budgeting enough to save more money
Being afraid to really be myself
Having love and grace for my family
Having love and grace for Andy’s family
Raising a daughter who really loves you and wants to follow you
Not being buried in the junk and clutter of this house
Not looking to the new baby to fix anything
I want to live a life that honors you. I want to start each day with you. Reaching out to you, asking you to speak to me and to be with me and in turn listening for what you might say to me. I don’t want to just think about what I can do that makes me feel like I’ve done enough. I don’t want to spend each day looking forward to some event that will be fun or special or warm and fuzzy.
A life that honors you isn’t about being warm and fuzzy. It’s about dying to ourselves, loving others more than we love ourselves. It’s about knowing you and your love for us and it’s about being obedient.
How can I be obedient if I don’t even listen to you?
How can I listen to you if I don’t carve out any time for it?
I want to know you. I want to yearn for you.
Please meet me where I’m at. Pick me up and bring me back into the fold. Whisper your familiar voice into my ear so that I don’t forget what it sounds like.
Help me not to be afraid to expose my sinful self. Help me to trust you.