Today at church a treasured friend and church momma whom I haven’t seen in too long asked me how I was doing. It was habit to say, “I’m so good! …things are just so great right now…” and it was weird. I answered as I hugged her, and I felt this guilt… like, here she is embracing me, caring for me, taking time to ask how I’m doing…. and why can’t I tell her that I’m struggling… and at what point could I……..or would I?
This beautiful woman touched my heart when I needed it most– she helped me through so much bitterness that I held, and she inspired my time in the Word more than anyone else has… ready??? in YEARS. And I couldn’t tell her that I’m strugglin’…
So let me tell you ALLLL instead. I miss my joy that used to be so grounded in my heart. I miss the God that shows up in the little things… like the wind that breezes on my face right now giving my legs goosebumps. He’s there, right? And, I miss feeling Him as my feet hit the pavement in steps that used to stride a special kind of run that carried me into a path only He knows… that brought joy, enough joy.
And I miss the joy that comes through prayer and presence and glory and humility. How did I get here? To this place where my trust in Him became conditional upon how much I see of my plan in His. And I feel guilty again.. because it’s stealing my joy. My “trust” in Him, stealing my joy? That’s not of Him. And still I crave more. I’m selfish…and I want more of Him in my plan.
Yet, as I’m here with Him, it’s not enough. I crave more of this worship, more of these intimate moments that show me a glory I never imagined. I crave more of me in His grip. I crave more of Him and the way I feel knowing HE CHOOSES TO LOVE ME…. that it would be enough– Contentment, where are you? Bring me that joy….
And so as the enemy swoops in trying his hardest to steal my joy found in the 10,001 reasons I love You… I turn to You. I turn to You reaching for Your traces that still bring me hope even when my plan isn’t His. (okay, I feel really stupid writing that….duh…)
I read this during my Bible time yesterday, and I cried.
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath. (Psalm 39:4-5)
I feel so small, so insignificant. I cried and my tears dropped onto the tissue thin pages as I made this selfish plea: if life is so short, why must I wait– don’t make me wait. Where is my joy, people?!? because I look and still see the traces of it in my smile… and I look and feel it as I sit in the company of His children talking about His richness and sovereignty, His answers to prayers in magnificent and tangible ways (for them…) ..and I look and find it in the warmth of His springtime sun. But… I just can’t seem to fathom why that’s not enough (for me…). We are nothing but His breath… and we are everything because of His breath. and it’s not enough for me… I don’t think that’s struggling, I think it’s selfishness…I want my joy back.
I have tasted of a love so wide
That it stops all my time
I have tasted of a love so deep
That it blows my mind
Marisa told me once that I go from “extreme highs to extreme lows.” Those words still repeat themselves… especially in times like these. But who are we as His children to never wrestle? Who can we be as His children– to be humbled in a moment of despair as we make a choice to no longer do “this” on our own, but to offer ourselves on our knees to a God who beckons us and our selfishness and our tears and our discontentment with His ways amongst our own plans and desires in a moment of our own sweet surrender?
Here’s what I’ve learned: How sad my life will be waiting for a joy in these short and number days I’ve been gifted….isn’t it enough? isn’t that contentment?
So I pray this prayer in advance through my selfish strugglin’: Lord, forgive me for picking back up what I’ve already laid at Your feet. (ps. that’s not a “nic original”). Now may I wait upon Your Joy…
and this, may I wrestle with this (!!) until I embrace the joy in the victory You bring me as Your ways become a satisfied truth in my life, may it be enough Truth, contentment.
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side!
Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
Look at this: look
Who got picked by God!
He listens the split second I call to him.
Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day…
Let the light of Your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy…
(excerpts from Psalms 4)
I will draw near. I will have more joy. I will have better contentment. It will be enough. Please hold on to me…
Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by (Josh Garrels, you rock!)