There are times in life when the ground beneath your feet doesn’t feel solid, fixed, or secure. It’s a scary feeling. It’s as if the rug’s been pulled out from under you and you’re left to drift through life, desperately seeking a footing.
We’ve all been there. Some of us are there now. We approach God and hear nothing. His overwhelming presence isn’t like it once was and we wonder why, why does He feel so distant?
Well, I’m here to tell you: I don’t know why, exactly. But, after being through times of silence and distance from Him (even if they’re just perceived) I’ve learned a few possibilities.
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’m revering the One that will bring me through. (Psalm 23:2,4)
Sleep is a gift.
I never realized how much so until I couldn’t get it. It’s not that I didn’t want to sleep (I don’t know many adults that don’t want to sleep!), or that my body wasn’t craving it, it just wouldn’t come.
It was elusive.
Though sleep was hiding from me, I was still dreaming, dreaming of those lovely moments when I can feel myself drifting away – my body getting heavier and heavier and my bed getting comfier and comfier. Musing over the moment when I can feel myself sinking in, my bed welcoming the weight of my body and wrapping me in its warm embrace. (Okay, now I’m just making myself tired.)
I had a few of those moments, but they each ended with a jolt of consciousness and sleep hiding in the shadows. (I don’t find those moments as lovely.)
I want everything to be clear and understandable at. all. times. I’m all for God being the one to give me the direction and the focus, (He really is the only one that can.) but why doesn’t He do it more often? It seems like the more I step out the more confusion and chaos I feel. I start to question His voice and wonder if He even told me to step out in the first place. Doubts creep in and worry takes over. I physically have trouble breathing and I feel like I’m drowning in the questions that mostly don’t even need to be asked, let alone have an answer.
Like I talked about in the first post I ever wrote (here), God does call us to step out of the boat, out of our comfort zone. But, did you notice that when Jesus told Peter to step out He was calling him out into the storm?!
So, what do we do when we feel like this? When our focus is blurred and there are a million and a half things being thrown in our direction and pulled from our grips. (Have you ever tried to hold onto something while in a raging storm? It’s pretty impossible, especially if what you’re clinging to is of little weight.)
We’re all waiting for something. Each one of us has a desire in our heart that hasn’t been answered by God. We’re seeking and longing and questioning. Wondering if He’s really heard us or if He even cares. There’s a craving and a searching that can’t be quenched, no matter how hard we strive. We want that thing so badly and yet it seems so far out of reach.
“…Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24)
Hope requires faith because it calls us to something, someplace, we’ve never seen, touched, or fully felt with our physical senses. Uncertainty is at play. The unknown is eminent, obvious. But God’s given us enough of a glimpse into what’s to come, even better, into Who He is, to trust Him and hope in the future.
This past week’s been a tough one. My anxiety has flared it’s ugly head and I’ve found myself trapped in a vicious cycle of negative mind-talk and overall feelings of inadequacy and burden.
There isn’t a specific reason this started, (I’m sure it’s a cluster of reasons) but I’m done trying to over-analyze this beast. It’s here, I hate it, but I know it’s not here to stay. This time, instead of dwelling on why it’s here, I’m going to work on how to get rid of it; all the while praying that if it be beneficial for me to know the why (to hopefully prevent future “visits”) that God would make it clear. I’m done wasting my energy on the wrong question.
So how am I getting rid of it this time? I’m taking that adage “Don’t look back, you’re not going there” and doing the opposite. (Leave it to me to do the opposite…) Granted, I’m not going back to where I was, but I’m allowing myself to go back, to remember, the times God has brought be through before – so many times before (Psalm 77:11).
God is in control. Like complete and total control. He is sovereign. He can do (and does) anything He pleases (Psalm 115:3), and it pleases Him to use us for the good of others and His glory (Philippians 2:13). The fact that He chooses us, beckons us even, to be a part of His greater plan is amazing (and that word doesn’t seem sufficient).
When taken wrongly, to think that He uses us for His great purpose can feel like a burden, a huge pressure. It’s a big deal to follow Him! The things He asks of us not only affect ourselves but the lives of those closest to us, of the world, and even future generations. It’s heavy stuff. But, Jesus says that His way isn’t heavy, He specifically says that His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). But, how can that be? I mean, it’s such a big deal!
I’m convicted of how little I trust God with the known.
It’s full of the things He’s revealed to me; the ideas, thoughts, and knowledge that I’ve grown to know and claim as my own. It’s in those things that pride builds and trust diminishes too quickly. I forget that even in the known He is the Giver. Nothing I have or even think, is my own. All good things come from Him and Him alone.
But, because it’s known it’s easy to become comfortable and “secure”.
In contrast the unknown tends to be scary because, well, we don’t know what’s there. And it gives us two options: to trust God because there is no unknown to Him or paralyzing fear (and sadly, I choose paralysis too often).
Yet, the moment He makes something known to me I tend to take it and run. I think that because it’s something within my reach, within my knowledge base, I am now the ruler and controller of it. Whether consciously or not, I try to work and manipulate it, the people around me, and my circumstances in ways that will cause this revelation to come about the way I think it should.
God isn’t the type to reveal all the details, just parts, so instead of trusting Him to fill in the “gaps” and allowing Him to lead me daily, I tend to take the pieces I have and fill in the holes however I can to make the truth “work”.