I've had so many of those days...you know which ones I mean: the ones where it all goes plain broke, when all your plans are washed down the proverbial drain and you wonder why...just the simple, weighty "why." In this harsh reality, our souls shrink in fear...and we begin to doubt everything He has promised...His goodness included.
This year has been filled with days and moments like this for me...the faith-dare has been tested. Fears have loomed large and old soul-ghosts have attempted to come back and haunt...to halt my walk of trust.
When these life-storms used to hit, in days past I hid. It's all I thought I could do...just run from the pain somehow and escape. I thought that's how one dealt with the wounding...to get away from it...to avoid. For years, my soul hid - to the point where it even hid from love, from light, from God. It hid not only from the pain but also from the one thing that could mend: walking through the pain.
It wasn't until many years later that I would learn that healing can only happen when we refuse to hide from the hurts. The wounds are merely openings for His light to get in. The pain is only an opportunity for redemption. When we hide from the things that cause us deep soul-scars, we turn away from the only path where grace-living can be found. It is only in walking the broken road that we learn to see ourselves for who we really are...and to experience the Savior in all His blessedness.
Over the years, I've sought Him for a cure. I've asked Him for a remedy in the moments when the chest tightens, the heart races, the pulse speeds, the body cold-sweats right out of itself...
How can I learn to slow the racing...to ease the breathing...to trust?!
And I think just this year that I've found the answer...
One word. One word that has changed everything.
I've come to see that so much of my worrying, so much of my fearing has to do with a lack of faith. It is a sign of dis-belief. In those moments when I feel it all crumbling, if my response is to tense, to tighten, to clench the fists into hard balls of flesh...it is then that I become a type of atheist...it is then that I live out the "no" and by my actions tell God that I do not believe. I do not trust Him enough. I do not see Him as being capable.
Worries about everything...and sometimes stupidly, about nothing...threaten to tear my soul into a million shreds. All because I do not give all back to Him. All because I do not remind myself that it's all His anyway. I do not honestly own anything...including my own life.
If I live life as a Grace-gift...if I walk by faith as I'm supposed to instead of by my faulty sight...if I do my days with the intent of living hope unseen...then there is no room for doubt. Fear has no place.
And even when I fall flat into my own weakness and the moments seem to spin around me without any sense of control...I must remember that His love is holding me in the eye of the life-hurricane where all is peace and calm.
Prayer...it's the one way I've come to learn how to center myself. When I find the fears running wild and the doubt speaking loud, I begin to converse with the One who can and will set all right once again. I take all the cares and all the worries...and I set them before the God of the Universe...and I attempt to leave them there. I prayer a spirit of praise right into my heart. I do not stop until I find the place of thanksgiving once more. Because I know that my concerns all stem from a failure to recall His past goodness. Because past blessings beget faith for future ones. Recalling the endless times when He has done the impossible, brought about the improbable - these tell me the story of His love. These remind me that He's not finished working out His restorative plan in a broken world...in my broken world.
To center my thoughts so myopically on my own feelings of fear is to miss the miracle that's just around the bend. Because that's how He works...the hard things proceed the blessings. If I could just learn how to remember, all would change. I would change.
And I am changing...hard as it is. I still want to hide sometimes. I'm sure you do, too. It's part of human nature. But He's in the business of giving us His nature...of resurrecting our dead places and creating a new person out of each of us. That being true, we must press into the faith-walk harder. Must lean into Him deeper. Must rest in the love longer.
Because this is our only hope when it all comes apart. Faith must be what we do when all we want to do is hide...