“But if you can look back during your rumble and see that you didn’t hold back — that you were all in — you will feel very different than someone who didn’t fully show up. You may have to deal with the failure, but you won’t have to wrestle with the same level of shame that we experience when our efforts were halfhearted.” // Brené Brown
Jesus, I come to you this morning knowing I cannot do this on my own. I come to you in a pile of mess and frustration and straight up brokenness because I decided to follow the desire that made me feel good for a moment. May this be the year I learn my boundaries with people, romantically and in friendships where I learn to carry burdens. Jesus, only you can truly bind and heal and fix what is broken. That was never meant to be my job. But the good news is that your efforts are not halfhearted.
I’ve been praying for a whole lot of wisdom and a whole lot of strength. If I had to make the typical grocery list of prayers, those 2 are at the top. I have a newfound desperation for Jesus. Knees-to-the-floor, tears-in-my-eyes desperation for Jesus, but it is the best thing.
If you know me, you know my strong distaste for periods of transition. I would say hate, but it’s really just one of those things that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and a weird, twisted feeling in my heart. And I think during these periods of change, things that go wrong weigh 100 times more than they would usually weigh, so when I’m a minute late, the world starts closing in, and when a conversation doesn’t go the way I thought it would, my insides start to crumble and I overanalyze every word I said in those few minutes. Moral of the story: it’s harder to show myself grace. And I felt the sting of that last night. I’m the type of person that has to lay out everything for the following day because it helps me feel infinitely more prepared for life. So there I was, trying to pick out an outfit for church. One outfit. For church. One day of my life. And I probably went through at least 10 different outfits, and with each dress I took off, the more discontent I started to feel. I didn’t like the way the clothes hung over my hips. I didn’t like the discomfort I felt when I looked at myself in the mirror. It was like going deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole of self-loathing. So I finally just pulled out a dress, hung it out for this morning, and crawled into my bed.
Warning: when you begin to pray and ask God to call out the brokenness in you, He’s going to be faithful in doing that. So I immediately had the Scripture come to mind that says:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:25-30 ESV
O you of little faith. Hi. That’s me. Now this moment was a great one, but do you think I felt completely put back together when I sat and read this? Absolutely not. BUT it did remind me of the dependency I have on God, which has been happening so often lately. He is not halfhearted in His attempts to reach us. He is not cryptic or secretive, but He is intimate. He is not halfhearted in His giving of grace.
We also get to serve a God who isn’t indifferent. Friends, if I could share what I think is the #1 destroyer of relationships, it’s apathy. Man oh man. I feel nothing towards you. It’s not as bad as it looks. It’s not as bad as you feel it is. This is apathetic and belittles the feelings you feel and the hurt welling within you. Feel the hurt and sit in the pain and understand that the way you feel matters. We don’t let our emotions guide us, by any means, but we also don’t push down and move on. And the people who don’t understand that, walk. You should be allowed to feel the things deep inside of you, and you should not let people belittle your pain or tell you it doesn’t feel as bad as you think it is. That’s condescending, so call it out and keep walking. Harsh? Maybe. Currently learning a lot about this? Yes. You get to learn how to stay and navigate these things, but you also get to learn what toxic looks like and begin to trim it out of your life. And there is no shame in that.
So this past week looked wild. Periods of transition are not my jam, but this week was a gift. I tried to soak in each moment: having our first church service with a ton of new faces and some fellowship with old faces, new beginnings, cooking dinner, doing laundry, learning forgiveness, walking to class, long runs in 90 degree heat, reading for media law and creative writing, sitting on our dorm room floor, talking about pain, serving ice cream to freshmen for First Year Service Day, journaling, getting to embrace the people who hurt, sipping coffee slower. I took it all in. This week had its ups and downs, but I’ve got people who wrap their arms around me and let me cry a little and eat some sweets and sing songs about Jesus and be super grateful. That’s the treasure, these little moments tucked in the shadows of each day. Jesus is in these moments.
Jesus, may your voice be louder than the lies. I want to be fiercely committed to You.
Among all the prayers for wisdom and peace and strength against indifference and periods of transition, this one sits at the top. Jesus, may your voice be louder than the lies. I want to love every day. I want to listen to His voice on repeat and see Him in EVERYTHING. I want to be seeking Him and looking for Him every single day. What am I going to love about today? What are you going to love about today?
“Just because the sun comes up everyday doesn’t mean it’s going to look the same ever.” // Annie Downs