Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

Last week the rain came. My feet were stuck in molasses and my mind didn't want to move me. Tears threatened to rain down my face to match the precipitation outside. I knew I had to get dressed and get going out the door but I didn't want to. I thought for sure my heart had stopped, I couldn't breathe. It was a familiar sinking feeling yet very unwelcome. I wanted to sit and keep on sitting. The energy it took to get ready was about enough to make me keel over. I had to will my arms to care to move and my mind to get past dwelling on all that has been considered lost to me and the failures I had yet to fail at but just knew I would. It came out of nowhere. Funny how sorrow has a way of creeping up on you and settling into your bones.

The feeling of being unworthy and sad and lonely and confused is almost too much for a heart to bear at one time. The weight of the world threatens to overtake and push down til life is all but extinguished except for a weak pulse. Ok, so a bit dramatic but trust me, it's quite stifling! I did manage to get myself moving and into the car. Amazingly God quickly brought to mind His presence within me, something I began to feel so forcefully while surrounded in emptiness over a year ago- I am known by Him. If I feel invisible to the world around me, I am KNOWN and LOVED by HIM.

I constantly fall into the trap of basing my worth on what I have to offer, how I am doing as a friend to those I care about rather than basking in the glow and privilege of being created in God's image for His glory. There I go again, "feeling" my worth, setting my eyes on my progress, meeting or not meeting my standards, thinking through what I can or can't do and finally coming to the conclusion that it's more of what I will or won't do and then the cycle begins anew... I know too much. I know what I need to be doing, how I need to be living, how I should be serving. Many days I wish I didn't know so much because the responsibility that comes with that knowledge can be super overwhelming and way too convicting that I give up before I've even begun...

Our church called a new Pastor.  You would think this would be a happy time of fresh blood to instill vision and healing. Instead it has caused me to reflect on the fact that there are so many people in my life who don't really know me, who can't offer me affirmations of who I am, who weren't close by when I couldn't stand on my own two feet and needed shoulders to lean on. I miss friends who noticed me when my teeth were crooked and supported me when we fell so far down financially that I couldn't see my way clear. Whether it's reality or not I feel that I am surrounded by people who don't know the depth of my heart and the stories that God has given me, who most importantly haven't witnessed the transformation of His redeeming power and provision in my life. Hence, the invisible feeling.

It lingers, the pressure of a lifetime worth of tears waiting to push over the threshold. My husband has said to me before that I am stronger than I think I am. I know it to be true but I wish it were not so. I don't want to be strong. I am full of contradictions. I want to be noticed yet when I am I shrink away fearful that the spotlight was wrongly placed.  I desire and crave community, a group of people growing together and meeting the needs of the body. Yet I fear what I want the most. I fear you getting to know me. I fear you not liking me. I fear God. I fear the power and glory of His name.  

I know I have worn down trails with the sameness of my daily living and when I have stepped off the path and branched out I have found many rocky patches, places where the trees haven't been trimmed and lined with boulders not wanting to budge. I bump my head and watch as my feet get bloody and don't want to push on. I run back to the well worn path because I fear not knowing if the pain is worth it. I am a creature of habit, be it or for good or bad. I desire to go and blaze a new trail yet crave the comfort and ease of knowing the way. I have driven the same road for the past 3 years to take my daughter to the gym. A few months ago I decided to find a different route to get there. It took many weeks before I could will my mind and arms to not get in the turning lane when I desired to make a change and go straight. Now it's easy for me to make the choice at the light. My hands don't go left instinctively anymore when I want to continue on straight ahead. It took time and effort to get to that place.

I still fear the changes taking place that were set in motion over the last couple of years within my church.  Most of all oddly enough I think I fear that not enough has changed. Everything is strangely too familiar and has carried on pretty much the same.  It's too easy to remain the same old me in my present circumstances.  God has graciously carried me through this time despite my kicking and screaming and wanting to run off to another country for a fresh start. In my perfectionist personality I have a tendency to want to scrap something and start all over again if it's not quite right. That's what I have been fighting within myself. I fear living with my failures in plain sight, always having to work through them, struggling with relationships that aren't pretty which need lots of prayer along with a heavy serving of grace.  I am a warrior yet often I live as one defeated and resigned to status quo. I want to be radical and live as one known to be loved and see what that love can do through me. 

I heard this song while driving in the rain... wow.  These lyrics coupled with the acknowledgment of my worth from a new friend in the presence of others the very next day helped to drive my mental rain away. Yes, I was shrinking inside but I was more amazed at how the Lord knew what I needed at that very moment.

                      Times (Tenth Avenue North)

I know I need You
I need to love You
I love to see You, but it's been so long
I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
And I need to hear You, is that so wrong?

Now You pull me near You
When we're close, I fear You
Still I'm afraid to tell You, all that I've done
Are You done forgiving?
Oh can You look past my pretending?
Lord, I'm so tired of defending, what I've become
What have I become?

I hear You say,
"My love is over. It's underneath.
It's inside. It's in between.
The times you doubt Me, when you can't feel.
The times that you question, 'Is this for real? '
The times you're broken.
The times that you mend.
The times that you hate Me, and the times that you bend.
Well, My love is over, it's underneath.
It's inside, it's in between.
These times you're healing, and when your heart breaks.
The times that you feel like you're falling from grace.
The times you're hurting.
The times that you heal.
The times you go hungry, and are tempted to steal.
The times of confusion, in chaos and pain.
I'm there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I'm there through your heartache.
I'm there in the storm.
My love I will keep you, by My pow'r alone.
I don't care where you fall, where you have been.
I'll never forsake you, My love never ends.
It never ends."