I wake up ready to write. Words are on the tips of my fingers as I rummage around for tea things and my Bible and all the pens and odds and ends that make up my morning time of listening.
I know what I want to say, where to go with this post about the how… how to really, honestly make Him— Jesus, the Redeemer, the Father, the Spirit, the I AM— my Prince.
How to find all my peace and satisfaction and balance and wisdom in Him.
How to love Him in real life.
And then something comes up. A conflict I can’t control. Two people I care about at odds. Both right, both wrong.
I want to fix it… I would if I could but clearly, I can’t.
And so I get mad. Furious inside. No one’s here to hear but none-the-less I’m silently ranting and raving and bashing heads.
So much for writing. So much for anything.
I sweep the floor, clean the sink, anything but write. All the while I’m talking to an invisible someone, no one, scolding and telling and setting them straight.
A crazy lady.
Tired of my own out-of-control emotions, I step into a hot, steaming shower intent on washing away the dirt and grime and product in my hair and on me.
That’s where I am when I hear His voice:
Di, are you really angry? Or is this fear?
What are you afraid of that I cannot handle?
It takes another hour to let myself fully hear His words. Because…
The anger feels good… the fear feels real… letting go feels unsafe. Or untrue. Or something.
And then I remember one comment left with a question I couldn’t really answer and it’s been bothering me ever since.
I know that I am writing this on a good day, so do you have any pointers on how to stay focused on the real prize of Jesus’ love when my mind starts to run wild?
And here I am with my own mind running wild and my emotions drug along behind in a chaotic chase to nowhere. On this not-good day I wonder, where is that bone-deep peace? How do I get back to that place?
A friend texts me. She knows enough to be on the look out, to be listening for me. And sometimes that’s just how God speaks His peace, through another who is in a better place to hear.
Read John 6:30-43. I think there might be something in there for these guys…
I read these words and they’re for me, I know it. I need this. Peace begins to come before I even know why. I read again.
The story is about a group of honestly seeking people, asking what to do. Like me. Like you.
And Jesus cuts through all the mix of emotions and motivations and sides and says it simple:
“This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the One He has sent.”
I know enough to know what His choice of words is about. I’ve studied this before.
Believe means trust. Or entrust.
And suddenly it’s all clear, His voice so loud it stops all my crazy-lady ranting.
He wants me to so fully and entirely entrust this conflict to Him that I let go of all need to control. To be right. To tell everyone what they-ought-to-do-and-think-and-say-and-feel because I said so and now let’s all be happy.
Because my way won’t work… and I know, after all these years of watching Him, that His way will.
Maybe not exactly the way I want it to, maybe not all neat and tidy and happily ever after, but somehow, someway, He will triumph.
Chaos and churning calms and I enter that oasis of quiet. Rest. Peace. A chest full of joy.
Nothing has changed. Everything has changed. I have changed.
Not because I followed ten steps or imagined what I wanted.
But just because He spoke.
And that, my dear girls, is the answer to the question I didn’t know. When bad days come and I am a mess, when I cannot or will not and don’t even want to cleave close because all my way seems safer… He speaks even then.
That, my dear ones, is grace. Amazing grace.
Being intimate with God, being close to Him, hearing from Him, isn’t about me following a certain set of steps or rules. It isn’t about me getting it right.
I shake my head in wonder. Who loves like that? Only one… only Him.
And yet, the truth is, I must obey. I must take at least one small step in the direction He says. I must choose. He won’t do it for me unless I take that tiniest step towards Him.
A pithy quote I retweeted this week becomes more than pith…
There are no "little obediences." Every opportunity to obey prepares us for greater challenges of faith in the future. -Dr Bruce Ware
Today’s messy story prepares me for tomorrow… and all these years of yesterdays prepared me for today.
I’d heard Him before and so I knew it was Him. I’d heard these same words from the Word before and delved deeper because I hadn’t understood and so when I needed them just now I knew what He meant.
Every single morning when you choose to get up earlier than you want, to deny yourself the warmth of bed and make room to hear by pushing your nose into His Book and staying there with wide open ears… those are the “little obediences” that prepare you for the greater challenges of faith that real life brings to every one of us.
Even when you feel nothing.
And now I’ve told you a story instead of giving a list. Instead of telling you how as an expert, I’ve shown you how in my own mess. Because this is truth.
This is how He meets me, how He speaks. Right into my world where people do conflict imperfectly and I cry and rant even when no one’s here to hear.
Right here in my not-so-happily-ever-after life, the one I can’t seem to fix to my own satisfaction. He brings me in tight and let’s me be me… and makes me more than I am.
He is enough.
And that’s what I mean by he’s not your Prince Charming. No man can do this. Not even my godly, good man who has loved me so well all these years.
And truth be told, I’m glad he wasn’t there in my mess. I would have scared the guy half to death.
From my heart, still learning, still listening,
P.S. There’s more, so much more, but this is what comes first. Brokenness, obedience, daily-ness.
Will you help continue this conversation with your own stories… and keep the questions coming, I’m listening.