Friday, November 7, 2014

Going Deeper

I know it seems like I disappeared off the face of the blogosphere. I didn't. I just didn't add anything to it this week. Even now this is hard. I have so many things rolling around in my head. So much that I want to share. If you've been reading me long, you know I'm not a "skim the surface" kind of gal. That's not my personality and it's not the way I write. God has taken me much too deeply in this life to just sit on the surface. I always look deeper.

I have felt so strongly with my blog that I wanted to be real. In fact, this goes all the way back to the Journey Church for me in 2006. The Journey was the first church where I heard a pastor say, "This isn't the kind of place where we come in and say, 'I'm fine. You're fine. Let's all go home and eat a chicken.'' He said that a lot. Eat a chicken. And it's funny because it's true. And it's funny because it's ironic. And it's funny because it's sad. How many times do we do that? We put on the smile. We nod during conversations only half listening because we are trying with all our  might to silence the voice that's screaming inside of us...


But it's not socially acceptable in most circles to let that out. Right? I mean you don't walk into Mcdonald's and let that voice come out. The context isn't right. They would call the paddy wagon on you.

But there, at that church, at that time, I learned that what wasn't alright, was for me to pretend like I was alright. No one should do that. Because, I mean, how can we pray for each other, help each other, love each other, if all we ever are is "alright"?

None of us are really alright, you know? We all, at any given time, are dealing with any variety of struggles. Sin. Relationships. Questions. Longing. Pain. Confusion. Desires.

There is no neutral.

So I started learning this lesson 8 years ago. Blessed lesson. How incredible to learn with others that it's okay to not be neutral, because it isn't a reality anyway. And don't get me wrong, life is full of inexplicable joys!! I know that hasn't been what I've screamed from the rooftops in these past months, but there IS always joy. But I think more often than not, there are struggles. And why can't we be real with them? Why do we feel like we need to shovel our junk?

I think it's something that is seeded deep, deep down. The root is darkness. Pervading darkness. From the pit of hell actually.

All the way back to the Garden.

The man and woman walked and communed with God daily. They had direct relationship with Him.
And then they ate.

"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8).

They hid because they had sinned. They hid because they were afraid. They hid because they were naked.

And I wonder, as Satan disguised as the snake slithered away, if he didn't laugh and laugh, because his great victory wasn't that he had caused Eve and Adam to stumble, to sin.

His greatest victory was that he had caused a chasm between God and His kids. Now forever they would want to hide.

And don't we still? God has promised safety within Him. He has provided avenues for beautiful, life giving transparency among the Body. And yet we hide. We hide from fear. We hide from judgment. We hide because being naked scares the mess out of us, even though it is our true condition. We run from God, we run from people, we run from ourselves. Life has taught us that you put a smile on your face and nod it out.


But we're not okay.

If I haven't told you this: it's okay for you to not be okay. God wants you to be able to go to another and receive love and a listening ear. He wants you to be able to receive counsel for your deepest, darkest struggles. He doesn't want you to hide. Because He made a way back, remember? The cross was the bridge (cue Point of Grace). But it was. The relationship with us and Him, through Jesus, is just like it was. We can take a walk in the garden with Him. Our Daddy. Our Best Friend. He isn't disappointed. We don't have to live in fear of Him. He will listen and love and bring truth. When He convicts it's always in love. He convicts to restore not condemn.

Isn't that beautiful? And freeing?

So, I don't know, maybe you have a friend, like I do, who needs to be able to just be real. If your friend needs to not be "okay," could you just tell them that, first of all, Daddy God is already there listening and can handle their reality and emotions and yuck; and, second, if they look around I bet there is at least one other person that needs to not be "okay" too, and needs a friend. And maybe your friend is you (wink) and could I just say that you've got a friend in me (cue Toy Story theme). If you  need it, even if it's through the distance of the screen, you have a listening ear and a praying heart right here.

I'm so thankful for all the people in my life over the years who have loved me in my darkest hours and let me just be real. No smiling and nodding. They can see smooth through it. Those are good friends. I'm so thankful that God took me to a church years ago where His people were digging deep and experiencing real Acts 2 kinds of stuff. Shaking off the yoke of religion and chasing deep, full, life giving relationship with Jesus, and pushing others to do the same.

I just felt like I needed to remind myself of these things. That it's okay to not be "okay." Maybe you need to be reminded of that too? Praying right now for all of us who aren't "okay" that God would find us in that spot. That place where our hearts are all twisted and yucky and we can't see the way out? He knows the way. God, lead us to the Rock that is higher than we are. Yes, Lord, that we can breathe deep there and let all the cares of this world wash away. Oh how we need You Lord.

(Edit: I have been following this amazing, beautiful soul of a woman who is walking a harder path than I have. Today she blogged about something so similar to this post, that I thought I would quote her here: " So, I get to open wide my hands to my story, receive the hard, and look for the grace. But I’m not meant to do it alone. Living in community means living honestly. Sharing burdens. Not fixing one another- but walking with one another through pain." Ahh, yes! This is the crux of not being "okay." I'm amazed at Kara's transparency and vulnerability. I'm humbled and challenged by her walk. God continue to supply grace and strength and joy to this sister. Make much of her story for Your glory, Lord.)

I woke up with this song on my heart this morning. It's for you too, Beloved.

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