Communication and being known

I’m a such a verbal processor – whether it’s by chatting, venting, journaling, or blogging – I seem to learn and grow and understand life and myself and God better by talking or writing everything out. Many times when I’m stuck and don’t even know what to pray or how I really feel, I find that if I grab a pen, the prayer just begins to flow out of my heart as my pen flies across the page.

There’s just something about having a blank piece of paper or a friend willing to listen and help process that seems to fulfill one of my deepest needs as someone who craves quality communication and to be known. I think that’s what secretly I’m the most afraid of – that one day I’ll wake up and I’ll find again that no one really knows who I am. I promised myself several years ago that I would never wake up to that realization again, but I think that the lesson I’m learning now is that there’s a flip side to that coin.

Knowing and being known is one of the most precious experiences we can have as human beings. There’s so much comfort and emotion just wrapped up in that idea and I think it fuels me to live life transparently – the way I have for so long now… only there are times like this week when all I want is to be somewhere quiet… somewhere where I can be alone… somewhere where I can listen to only a single voice.

Tomorrow’s going to be one of those days. A retreat of sorts. I’ve been planning and looking forward to it all week. Usually the very last thing I want is alone time or an adventure by myself. But tomorrow I’m setting out to find a beach and I don’t know exactly where I’m going. I’m just going to set out to find a little bit of sand, a lot of water, and God Himself.

The beach is my favorite place to go because it reminds me of how small I am and how big my God is. There’s nothing outside of His control. He’s sovereign and He’s good and I’m His. Communication with Him is all I need and there’s nothing about me or my future that He doesn’t know. It’s been a rough week and only God Himself can bring some order, some sense, and some peace to my world. Only communication with Him really matters.

I’m taking comfort in this today:

Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”

Psalm 139:1-18 – “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”

12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

I’m looking forward to journaling, painting, and listening.

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The waiting (from 3/12/10 – posted 3/13/10)

“The waiting is to teach us our absolute dependence on God’s mighty working.” Andrew Murray, Waiting on God.

My last post was on running and focus. Today is about waiting. All day at work I watched the clock. Time is never slower than when you’re watching it (a lesson from yesterday, for sure). And that’s especially true on a Friday afternoon. And then I sat in traffic for an hour and a half on my way to see Josh. Let’s just say I am running very low on patience these days.

So yes, life is about running and running well – to reach the finish and receive the prize. But today, I realize yet again that even in all of our running, there must be rest. On Sunday I’m meeting with my mentor, Lauren. In her e-mail to me today, she mentioned that we’ll be discussing balance, rest, and finding quiet places with God.

Balance for me is something that’s very difficult. I like to be always busy, always moving, always running quickly. I think though, that there are weeks and months like these last few, that God has to walk me through to show me how very dependent I am on Him. Sometimes I cram too much ministry into my heart and life to make enough time for quality rest and time with God. I’m in the midst of a humbling process and am realizing again how very human I am. And to remember once again, that unless I’m filled, I can’t pour out. I must be full of God and His Word to have life and to give life.

This life, after all, isn’t about me – it’s all about Him. He “gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25b), and “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Apart from Him I can do nothing. If I feel like I can’t breath, or I’m exhausted by life and how quickly I move, it’s likely because I’m not relying on Him or drawing on His strength. I’ve once again fallen into pride – HUGE pride – the belief that I can take care of myself, order my own life well, help people, and make a difference without being carried through all of it by the One who gives me life itself.

This weekend, I’m going to practice waiting. And it’s going to involve some worship, some sleep, some working out, and some time in my favorite chair in my living room with God. It’ll be totally worth it and I’m sure it will be exactly what I need.

“Finding Myself Extra Amazed by God Today”

(from November 3, 2009)

This past week has been one of intense revelations. The contentment theme continues…

Today my gchat status said this: “finding myself extra amazed by God today.”

I don’t know why, but I really didn’t expect to be asked why. It stands to reason that people might want to know just what it was that prompted such a statement in the midst of an ordinary Wednesday afternoon. I got SO many questions about it – “just what did God do for you?” and “why is God amazing?” and “PLEASE tell me the story behind your gchat status.” People were so curious and I think I learned two things from said curiosity – a.) it really matters what I say there (even in that tiny little box) because people really do pay attention, and b.) I really need to be giving God glory more often, and not just because people pay attention, though that’s a good reason as well.

So, what did happen? I’m sure you, like everyone else, are dying to know. It wasn’t that something really good happened at work, or that a huge prayer had been answered, or that a desire of my heart had been met… or was it?

I think it was the latter. The desire of my heart is increasingly God Himself… just to know Him better and to find Him… it’s a constant life of seeking and finding. Recognizing all that I am not and all that He is. Pushing myself to decrease and to allow Him to increase in me (John 3:30).

That gchat status gave me multiple opportunities to share with coworkers, friends, and acquaintances about my faith… and about the overwhelming feeling I get when I think about the cross and grace, and just how… close I get to be to God. It’s an honor, a privilege, humbling, and totally undeserved. It’s truly amazing… an answer to prayer and the desire of my heart granted.

I’m realizing more and more that it doesn’t matter what I think or want, unless I first want Him and His kingdom and that it’s incredibly prideful to think that I can be effective in the kingdom of heaven or bring glory to Him outside of His plan and my preordained role in it. Each day, He increases my desire to make Him great. It’s almost like I can feel my heart expand inside my chest and I want His will for my life more each day, whatever that may be… and I want to fill my proper role within the kingdom.

so, I hope that each day I find myself extra amazed by His friendship and increasingly grateful for His grace.