it’s not infrequent that my husband asks me that question in Joey’s voice. I can even hear the voice in text messages.
But this time the question came from someone else. And it was definitely NOT asked in Joey’s voice.
It was all weepy. and concerned.
Because I’ve been doing . . . (click the blue links below if you want to catch up)
some might say, “not so good.”
some might say, “that girl is a MESS. steer clear. WIDE berth, if you value your time.”
unless you actually enjoy deep diggin theological exploration and sometimes circular and exasperating discussion.
At this point, I feel like I ought to offer up an ambiguous twitter version of this post and a pinterest link so you can escape to higher ground:
but I’m long overdue for pruning. has to be done.
I have to be careful of feedback from the people who want to make me feel better. The feedback that comes from discomfort when I confess something ugly I’ve discovered about myself. The knee-jerk feedback that immediately argues with me and tries to convince me that it’s all good and that I’m being too hard on myself.
This kind of feedback is not helpful. Feeling better is not the answer. It’s a counter-productive cover up. A temporary diversion. What I need is to find the ugly, face the ugly and GET. RID. OF. IT. It’s a stumbling block in my life and a wedge between me and Christ. and it is NOT good.
I’m not interested in rose colored glasses. I hate pink, remember?
Even more than the ugly? I need to get rid of good.
Good is the enemy of great. If I’m not careful, good leads to comfortable complacency. and it can morph into Stepford-like facades that are impossible to break through.
I have absolutely NO patience for facades. And for all the things I don’t know about what God wants for me, one thing I DO know is that “comfortable” is not His ultimate vision for my life.
Good has to go. To make room for better.
or so they say. whoever “they” are.
Lately, the leaders of “they” are “Captain Cliche” and “Captain Platitude.”
and even though I’m finally at a place where I’m able to believe “them” when they tell me that the “better” is what’s on the other side of this pruning and “refining by fire” it doesn’t make the pruning or the fire any less necessary.
How am I doing?
I’m not crying anymore.
that was exhausting. physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting.
I’m not grieving the end of this season of my life anymore. (Actually, I haven’t been grieving since June 3rd.)
I don’t think I could have skipped over the grieving and still arrived at this place, but now grieving has become impossible. It doesn’t fit. (and then there’s the fact that I’m SICK and TIRED of it and refuse to do it anymore.)
THANK. GOD. I can finally see His hand in all of this. He’s the one holding the pruning shears and the torch.
I’m finding meaning, connection and application in nearly EVERY circumstance and conversation. In every book I read, there’s a seemingly obscure or tangential statement or passage that hits me full force and somehow freakishly connects to some other obscure and tangential thing – something someone said or did or something else I read. Every Bible verse I’m directed to – by everything from pinterest to a facebook post or a tweet or a blog or a private message or…you name it.
They’re all pointing to the same idea: I’m between the now and the not yet and I’m being prepared for the not yet.
the Holy Spirit in stereo.
Has all this compound influence led me to discover the not yet?
So I’m making choices a day at a time.
Today, I’m choosing to lean into this ending. I’m choosing to focus on what’s important. But to see clearly requires a stripping away. A purging of all the extra stuff I’ve piled on top of everything in my life and my relationship with Christ.
and even though I don’t like it, this in-between place is good. very good. and I don’t want to miss it.
I could focus on “this is last time I’ll lead this worship song.”
I could say, “Lord, please help me forget me. Please help me to stay out of Your way. PLEASE let this be about the person who needs to hear the lyrics of that bridge: “REDEMER. MY HEALER, LORD ALMIGHTY. MY SAVIOR. DEFENDER. YOU ARE MY KING.”
I could focus on the fact that I can’t bring myself to even open my book draft, much less write anything, because all
I can see are recycled ideas from other people and the only working title that seems appropriate is “What They Said.”
I could just write blog posts. and actually publish them – whether anybody reads them or not. If God has any message He wants me to type up, He’ll tell me. probably at 3am.
I could focus on the fact that any public speaking opportunities would be contrived.
I can have one-on-one conversations, look people in the eye and listen more than I talk. I can wait for God to arrange the next time I speak with a microphone in my hand. If ever.
Have my circumstances changed? no. not by a long shot.
Has my perception of events and circumstances and my motivations changed? no. they’ve become even clearer. some things are uglier. In some areas, I’ve gained some much needed objectivity. and empathy.
Have my decisions about ending this season of my life changed? no. I can’t live in the past and I won’t continue to try and create my own future.
Has my perspective changed? yes.
Do I have a plan? only one. to focus on and pursue this:
“Not my will Lord, but Yours.”
that’s how I’m doin.
[CLICK HERE to see a listing of all the blog posts in this series “the search for Joy.”]