When life seems to mean searching for the way forward while finding a lot of dead ends, it isn’t difficult to wonder, what in the world you are doing. I awoke this morning to the sound of a late alarm and much on my heart. The last several days have been filled with crying out of the depths of my being to the One who made me and struggling to discern which way to go.
In the midst of this, there is so much that is going well. I am so deeply thankful. But at the risk of sounding contradictory through ungratefulness, there are also those areas of life, truthfully, relationships, that are tearing at the very fabric of my existence.
And the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me finish that last sentence without coming in with His words of Truth:
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. –Luke 5:37-38
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There was an article on Boundless today that so resonated with me. The author writes at one point:
One afternoon six years ago in the midst of a summer cratered by depression and insane working hours and a futile romance, I was sitting at my keyboard struggling to write. It was just journaling, there no deadline breathing down my neck. But an uncomfortable question was haunting my soul. I wept, I cried out to God, and there was no answer. I simply couldn’t understand the point of life.
Why was it worth the pain? Why would I agonize to minister and write and romance when it would all end so soon — and leave heartache behind?
Even now, when I’m not in the throes of depression and thank God life is going pretty well, my thoughtful moments drag me back to the same question. And so borne on a longing for answers, I look back on the words I wrote in my journal on that bleak despairing August afternoon. In huge print, taking up one entire page, my journal reads:
I am loved. I love others in the image of God. And that is life and eternity.1
In the midst of emptiness, I kept my soul from going over the cliff by believing relationships are the only thing that last beyond the final curtain. It’s only by living in that reality, I tell myself, that writing and life become worth the air I breathe.
So there. I’ve given my own painful confession. I’m hurting. I’m starved for connection. I desire life. I remember one day I ran into a someone I knew at work and gave her some words of encouragement. She remarked to me that it seemed like I always had it together, and I quickly informed her that I was not even close. I may write something of truth here and there, but I am not perfect. I need grace every second of every day just like everyone else. And I feel the depth of my own poverty now more than ever. Again, the Spirit, my Comforter, Teacher, and Guide whispers to me:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. –Matthew 5:3
Sigh. He’s right, you know.
God, my steps forward feel so uncertain. Let me move with courage and push the fear away that emphasizes the unknown and seeks to keep me from your abundant life. Amen.