And today I woke up knowing I did not need to strive for perfection, but I needed to make sure that each breath I took glorified my Creator. And that would be enough. To wake up with God today, that is enough.
I woke up really dreamy this morning. I mean I was thinking about New York City and crafting stories with beautiful words and a video I’ve been working on for the past 10 months, and I got really excited about life. I think something I have struggled with is understanding that I can have these mornings where I feel on top of the world, but that it is also okay to have moments when you are doubting and terrified and that is okay. I can feel weighed down by brokenness and still find joy somewhere in the middle of all the mess. I can sit at nice wooden tables in my favorite coffee shop and feel the weight of sin and hurt and still know the Truth of who God says He is and what He calls me. And honestly, the part I keep getting stuck on is still knowing the Truth of who God says He is. I don’t think I know exactly who He says He is. I know His steadfastness and His unrelenting mercy, but I have not known it in the darkest parts of who I am, and there is something to be said for allowing the light to hit the dark, secret places.
“God weaves his art into the very fiber of our being, so close that we can’t not have at least some hint of it, even if we are drowning in addiction, blind to the truth, hardened by unforgiveness, paralyzed with fear.”
I sat in a side pew on Sunday night and ugly cried. I mean, if there was any make up on my face it was gone, mascara marks on one of my best friend’s sweater, and all-I-wanted-was-a-milkshake crying. And it was from the heaviness and the stark awareness of my brokenness and inability to fix. I just kept asking, “What am I supposed to do?” and she just kept saying, “Nothing.” And that is when I was aware that the Holy Spirit uses the people around us, and I heard Him say, “Nothing.” This is where we come to the end of ourselves.
In the past month, I have continually learned that I don’t show myself grace, I am very hard on myself, I don’t receive the truth of being called God’s Beloved because I’m not even quite sure what that means. The thing is, I’m happy right now. I found myself in a conversation last week where I realized there’s nothing going on in my life that I would give up. I love my job, my classes, my obligations, all of it. In the last 5 weeks, I have completely fallen in love with the research I’m doing. I sit in a living room every Wednesday night, and I feel like I am surrounded by family. I start my mornings early, and I feel on top of the world. I’ve learned to say what I need to say when I need to say it. This is the season I’m learning what courage looks like and learning when to say what I need to say (cue the John Mayer song) or was once afraid to say. I’m finally learning that you never just stop learning what courage is. It’s a daily decision to keep fighting the beautiful fight, choosing to know Truth over lies, exchange self-deception for true identity, and choose to be near God to know an unspeakable intimacy with Him.
When I sit and take the time to breathe and recount the ways He has been faithful, His goodness is undeniable. I think it’s beautiful that our environments are not consistent and that the Lord moves us in and out of different seasons in order to show His faithfulness over and over again in different circumstances. It would be bland and boring if He kept us in the same place, and we wouldn’t know a deep dependency on Him. And it’s taken me a long time to be able to see the beauty in that because, if you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I hate change and transition.
Some days, you have to wake up and choose to believe that God looks at us and loves us. He looks at you and loves you, and that truth is a gift to carry. It makes me want to lay every burden down at the cross. I have patterns of burden carrying, a recovering burden carrier, if you will, like picking someone’s baggage up at the baggage claim and carrying it for miles to God-only-knows where. I go through season where I feel close to freedom and seasons where I feel like a pack mule, but never fully free. And I know I’m missing something right in front of me. And I don’t know what it is.
“We’ll show up and trip through the loving, spill the basin of dirty water, turn our noses up at ugly toes. We’ll plunge our hands in up to our elbows, sometimes with a rotten mood, a broken heart, an ulterior motive. We can’t wait until we’re ready to love before we start loving, before we start carrying God’s image into the world.” // Emily P. Freeman
We are given eyes and ears to see and hear Him, and those are gifts. We are surrounded by things that inspire us because the things we create ought to glorify God and the gifts He has gifted us with. When we start to see the world around us as His masterpiece, things have a lot more life than we give them credit for. I look at people, and I am overwhelmed by how beautiful of a God we serve. He pays such attention to detail. In our brokenness and the ways we deal with pain and heartache, there is so much beauty in the way He knits our hearts together to bond and work through the messiness of community. To be able to look at people and say, “I will never leave,” because we have a God who has never and will never leave. That’s such a promise. The way people navigate their days, sip their coffee, pour their hearts into everything they’re doing. That’s what I want to be a part of. To be able to use everything He has given me to further His Kingdom. To keep creating and learning to glorify God is what my heart is longing for right now.
“Surely the Lord was in this place and I did not know it.”