I’m totally confident I needed to give up leading worship when when I did.
(If you need to catch up, this is probably the post to read: “obedience and blessings. passion and delight.“)
The last six weeks have been some of the most honest, wrenching, unsettling, peaceful, secure and unstable moments of my life. I’ve heard and read the words “refining/refined by fire” more times than I can count.
I’ve been overdosing on the reading and the thinking.
The praying has been simple. There’s only one prayer I’ve been able to to pray for myself:
“Not my will Lord, but Yours.
No matter what that means.”
I found myself unable to take any action remotely related to ministry.
even one-on-one conversations were guarded and thin. On the sharing side, I only went below the surface in increments as I tested how correctly (or incorrectly) friends understood what I tried to explain – and how sincerely interested I sensed they were. On the listening side, I didn’t trust my instincts enough to reply with anything more than questions.
I didn’t trust my judgement. I was paralyzed by doubt about my ability to discern God’s prompting and my resulting choices.
past, present and future.
if in fact, I had gotten some things wrong, they were monumentally wrong.
I had completely – completely – lost the confidence to recognize and make sense of God’s movement in my mind, my spirit and the circumstances of my life.
wisdom was obscure. discernment was nonexistent.
God has pruned me to a nub.
It’s been extremely painful.
very, very good.
did I mention painful?
God has been silent.
At first, I immediately assumed my sin was separating me from Him. I confessed every sin I could recognize and still, God was silent. I prayed for him to show me any sin I wasn’t seeing.
Still, God was silent.
and in the quiet, I’ve been stripping away every superfluous thing in my life, from the contents of my house and yard to my commitments to the layers of “stuff” I’ve piled on top of my relationship with Christ.
I stumbled upon the concept of the “dark night.”
But that’s another post. or two. maybe.
I’ve been back and forth between peace and fear and hope and resignation. Last Monday night, I was in a bad place.
it was a very dark night.
resignation had morphed back into grieving. wretched. deep grieving.
Thought I was done with the grieving.
but this was different. This wasn’t just grieving because I couldn’t bring myself to sing. That was part of it, for sure.
This grieving was mostly because of the silence. The conflict between my unrelenting desire to sense God’s presence and movement in my life and my exploration of the idea that this silence was God helping me grow.
At some point, a kid only learns how to ride a bike if dad takes his hand off the back of the seat and stops running along side.
Doesn’t mean dad has abandoned his kid. He just knows the kid is ready to learn how to ride a bike.
If God had in fact taken His hand away, I was caught in that unfamiliar, terrifying and confident place between wanting the security of His hand on the bicycle seat of my life and wanting to learn to ride the bike.
I wanted to learn the lesson.
But I didn’t like it.
Both of those sentences are understatements.
After weeks of not being able to pray petitionary prayers for anything specific because I didn’t trust my motives, I broke.
I asked God to let me sing again.
I didn’t ask Him to let me lead worship again. Still can’t do that. That led to sin. selfish sin. I don’t want to ever put the art above the artist ever again.
I just asked Him to let me sing. I was hoping I could bring myself to sing in my car.
This post is getting too long…I’ll tell you what happened in my next post.
(Someone recently had the courage to tell me they don’t read my blog posts because I have a tendency to ramble on.)
5 thoughts on “growing pains.”
You are ( or have been) likely in the season of winter, a season of life that feels bare and dark. LIkely, there is growth under the soil that has not yet come to be seen.
Julie, I am thankful for you rambling! You may never know how your words are affecting people and their walk.
Continuing to pray for you during this journey!
1 Kings 19: 11-13. We can’t hear the whisper without the silence.
Sitting with you in the silence, friend
Flutterby – “What are you doing here Elijah?” …oh, the resonance of that question. http://pragmaticcompendium.com/2011/04/04/two-minutes-with-god-1-kings-1914-15/
🙂 I read the Nouwen quote “somewhere” just recently, and yes, resonance.