The place where demons taunt you…

Have you ever felt like you’re wandering?

Call it “wandering,” “the valley,” “a low,” “the wilderness,” “obscurity” or whatever you want. Regardless of what you choose to call it, wandering is lonely, painful and quite honestly, the most uncomfortable place to be.

Jonathan Martin, in Prototype (by the way, if you think I’m going to stop referencing this book anytime soon, you’re wrong…so, just go buy yourself a copy), calls this place “the wilderness.” He explains why we, as humans, dislike the wilderness so much,

“In our culture of constant access and nonstop media, nothing feels more like a curse from God than time in the wilderness. To be obscure, to be off the beaten path, to be in the wilderness feel like abandonment. It seems more like exile than vacation. To be so far off everyone’s radar that the world might forget about us for a while? That’s almost akin to death.”

The first time I read the header to the section on the wilderness, I literally laughed out loud (and not in a good way), “The Gift of Wilderness.” The dialogue in my head went something like this, “Gift…GIFT?! This must be a joke.” It wasn’t. And in a much shorter time than I imagined, Jonathan’s words had me trying to rethink the way that I look at this time of obscurity in my life,

“…God draws people into obscurity — into the wilderness — not because He’s angry with them or because they aren’t “successful enough,” but because He wants to go deeper in His relationship with them.”

I paused when I read that line, and had there been a lightbulb floating above my head, I think it literally would have started flashing obnoxiously. Deeper, deeper…DUH, He wants me to go deeper with Him.

I use busyness and a social life to avoid dealing with problems I’m facing and mostly to avoiding fleshing things out with God. This is the scenario I always try to hide from…I’m sitting in my room, lights off, candle burning, Bible in front of me, tears streaming down my face, everything I don’t want to deal with swelling up in my head. Sound familiar? I don’t want to feel the pain, yell, and fight until someone wins…and let me tell you, it’s NEVER me. But, if we don’t fight, how is our relationship with Him supposed to grow or change (cue another lightbulb moment)Jonathan describes this uneasy situation much better than I can, “Amid the constant noise of our daily lives, we don’t have to reflect too deeply on what we’re afraid of or what we’re suppressing or even what we love. But the wilderness is where our demons come out to taunt us. That’s why most of us don’t want to go there.”

Maybe, just maybe, we can start to see this place of pain as more than just that, pain, but also as a place of growth and healing.

Yes, I’m wandering. But, if force myself to sit down, and have that fight with God…even if I have to have the same fight a million times over, maybe I’ll come out on the other side shiny and new.

I’m really trying to believe the words that Jonathan ended this chapter with (and maybe you can too), “All the good stuff happens in obscurity.

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Time of Death: September 7, 2013, 11:59 p.m.

Well, it’s time to be completely honest. The last three months of my life have been the hardest I have ever faced (and am still facing).

As I sit here thinking about what I want to write, it seems cliché, but really, don’t a lot of things have a cheesy stereotype? So, you can look at this post and see something corny or you can look past the almost vapid expression and see the simple truth. And let me say, this post doesn’t come from a place of healing or a place of even fully comprehending what I am trying to challenge everyone to do…but I do know that it is true (and that I’m challenging myself too).

Okay, back to my sob story (sarcasm is my way of deflecting, can you tell?). Well, the actual story isn’t the important part, so I’ll just skip to the part that I hope becomes my ending. In Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist so beautiful articulates what I want to change my mental disposition to:

Before the wars are over, before the cures are found, before the wrongs are righted, Today, humble Today, presents itself to us with all the ceremony and bling of a glittering diamond ring: Wear me, it says. Wear me out. Love me, dive into me, discover me, it pleads with us.”

I didn’t save this delightfully worded paragraph for the end of my post, because reading it isn’t an ending, but it can be the thought that spurs on the beginning of change. And, as inspiring as that paragraph is, I think we can all say that sometimes it’s really difficult to just “wear” Today.

Now, maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy (hence the title of this post) or maybe it’s because I met an amazing Australian woman at a hostel last week, who told me about how she wanted to enjoy life, so she quit her job, left everything she knew and has been traveling the world ever since… but, either way, I’ve been thinking about that ominous question we all ponder at some point:

If I was going to die tomorrow, would I still be living life the way that I am?

I’m not trying to get all heavy on you…but, seriously, if you knew that the end of this week was also the end of your life, would you still be living how you are right now?

Or…

Would you be with the person you love?
Change the way you treat people?
Quit the job you have?
Serve Christ differently?
Seek forgiveness from someone?

Or, maybe, just try to enjoy Today a little more?

Yes, in all reality, there are practicalities we have to consider (since I genuinely hope none of you die by the end of the week). Yes, there are some things we have no control over.

BUT, we can start doing something different. We can start making changes. And maybe, just maybe, if we start to make some progress, we’ll start to see that Today truly is a gift.

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