Why? Because clearly I suck at this writing regularly thing – but then so does my friend Will. So he’s taking a class in which regular blogging is part of his homework. Of course, that doesn’t help me, so when he asked if I wanted him to call (or text, or email, or FB message me) to make sure I’m staying on top of this little site, I jumped all over the offer. After all, I decided to start blogging about my faith (or lack thereof) journey because I need people to keep me accountable. So thanks to Will and his incessant nagging (kidding; he’s only still at the ‘hounding’ stage), here’s an article.
All kidding aside, I have really been wrestling with this whole writing experience. It’s not usually challenging to come up with things to write about; it’s more that I know that in order for this journey to be beneficial to me – and hopefully to others as the Spirit leads – I need to be willing to take honest stock of my own life. And the reality is that the longer I wait to take that hard look in the mirror, the easier that mirror is to avoid. So I am truly grateful to my friend(s) for coming along and prodding me when I am slacking. And looking back over the dates, it shames me to see that have been slacking for so long. My apologies.
This past month, between birthdays, the stomach flu (the whole family got hit), and the blizzard that buried the Pacific Northwest – well, we thought it was a blizzard anyway! – with 10 inches of snow in four days, I started baking bread. A LOT of bread: white bread, rye bread, Italian bread, bagels… and that got me thinking about yeast. And fear. How yeast-like fear is. Start with a sprinkling of doubt and add a pinch of stress. Let it fester and ferment for a while, and before you know it, a full-blown panic attack is on the horizon. Is it any wonder that the bible tells us that A LITTLE leaven affects the whole batch of dough? Well that’s me: a quivering, shaking, fully-risen batch of fear-dough. Where IS God when I’m scared?
The beautiful thing is that He is where He’s always been: right there with me. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I really do know that on a conscious level and on a faith level. So why do I treat Him like He’s a rescue line to cling to as I’m going under, when in reality He is the life-jacket wrapped securely around me from the moment I stepped off the shore? Heck! Why even think of Him as a life-vest when He is the God who not only walked on water Himself, but called Peter out to Him? And why oh why – especially when I know how that story ended – do I time and again insist on behaving just like Peter, taking my eyes off of Jesus to look at the storm? I really think that that could be part of the reason I constantly feel like I’m stuck in a storm these days. And why I always feel like I’m going under.
But oddly enough, these overwhelming times are the perfect opportunity for faith to abound. I can give into the storm, or I can give into God. My very dear (and talented) friend Megan Thoma beautifully depicts this dichotomy in her song Drown: ‘Today I drowned, gulping in the water. Today I drowned, flailing at the sea. Today I drowned, water over my head…’ The song goes on “Today I drowned, lapping at the water. Today I drowned, dancing in the sea. Today I drowned, water over my soul. Today I drowned, I drowned in You…’ To me, this song is a very graphic reminder of the choice in front of me: do I allow fear and faithlessness to rule my life, or do I let myself sink deeper into my loving Lord and trust that He’s got this – whatever ‘this’ may be (In case it escaped your notice, I have a long list of ‘this’es…)?
Daily I am having to acknowledge my fear – my anxiety over the unknown, my desire to be in control of things (especially things beyond my control), my inadequacy – and lay it down at His feet. And praise God, He is empowering me to do exactly that. I am keeping my eyes on Jesus. More and more, prayer is again becoming my go-to rather than my last resort. I am sharing my struggles and my worries with Godly men and women that I trust and respect (most of you are reading this blog 😉 ) and asking them to lift me up in prayer – sharing with them the specific details of where I need it most. And maybe most importantly, I find myself falling effortlessly into an attitude of worship. Probably because what I am putting INTO my life is coming out in my life. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 ‘Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.’ That means to meditate on them; let them fill your mind. It really does make a difference! And this goes hand-in-hand with what he says in Romans 12:2 ‘…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is; that which is good and acceptable and perfect.’
That which is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT: this is God’s will. Which means there’s bound to be a blog…