Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alternate Mode of Transportation

Have you ever been so tired while DRIVING some place that you suddenly looked around and either you didn't know where you were OR maybe you knew where you were but didn't know how you GOT there? Please tell me this has happened to someone else out there!

It's downright frightening! Your heart sort of does a fluttery flip-flop and you get a little sick to your stomach as the realization hits you that you were in DANGER and didn't even know it! That you could have wrecked a thousand times because you were so spaced out. How many things could have gone wrong!?!

And, of course, if you're off-track, now you've got to find your way back again to the right path. But hopefully, you have been startled enough to WAKE UP and focus on WHERE YOU'RE GOING. Hopefully you won't make that same mistake again...



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Years ago I regularly attended a weekly women's Bible study group at night. How I loved those ladies! Together, we did book studies, shared our struggles, prayed for each other, and served one another in various other ways. This all started back when I was expecting Baby #1, so I was footloose and fancy free, especially with my husband moonlighting as MOD (Manager on Duty) at our local Athletic Club. Getting TO the study was easy. Being there was awesome. And I learned so very much. I spent so much time in the Word.

Even after Baby #1 arrived I found the time to have my quiet time, to be in the Word, and to attend my regular Bible study group. It was around the time that Baby #2 came along that it became so much harder to get out of the house like I used to. I mean, Paul was in law school then, and though he'd often be in class during the time the ladies met, it was fairly difficult to take two little ones out at supper/bedtime by myself, especially through the winter. And then later when Paul was home during that time, it was hard to GIVE UP our time as a fully-complete family when we could be sharing a meal together--something that rarely happened, thanks to night classes. So I quit going. It WAS the right decision for our family at the time, but...

I also quit being in the Word on my own.

Fast forward to more recently with two MORE babies in merely a few years, a husband with a very busy schedule, and the reality of what six people living in a household does to the laundry room!

And here I am. Whoa. How did I get HERE?!


Maybe as far back as over a year ago, I began going through what my friend Kelly calls "A Blue Funk."

Brought on by one part physical exhaustion...

...and one part "life is stressful and ain't perfect"-itis.

Mix that with NEVER BEING in GOD'S WORD, and I had myself a problem.

I cried many a tear, suffered many a near-nervous-breakdown in front of my husband, and poured my heart out to several dear church friends. It was how I was "dealing" with it.

I would pray. But I would often feel like a loon--like I was just talking to thin air. (Though I believed that God was hearing me, I didn't FEEL Him there.) And that's just a hard place to be. (Here I have to point out that one thing I've learned from all of this is that...going to church once a week is. not. enough. No matter how great the teaching. And also...read this book.)

Then I went to a Beth Moore simulcast at my parents' church back home. (I'm such a fan of Beth's, by the way. Her sincerity and very REAL intimacy with the Lord are evident in every word she speaks/writes. I have learned so many things about God by reading her Bible studies and listening to her teach.) I am, in a word, a fan. So I was excited, nay dying, to hear her again. And it was timely. I was so raw. So needy for Jesus' loving arms. So desperate to WORSHIP! And it was everything I needed and then some! But you know how those things go, don't you? They are often called "mountain-top highs." You can't stay there forever. Sometimes you can't stay there even for a minute before you are plunged to the valley below.

In fact, that is what happened to me.

The very next day.

Something (really) bad happened. 

It's not important what happened. Just that it happened. But suffice it to say that it was hard. And looking back, I think it took me a very, very long time to fully recover. I was damaged. To the core. I am grateful for the mountain-top experience, though, for I most certainly wouldn't have made it through that valley had I not JUST been on the mountain. And I know God planned it that way. So I'd have a little support. So I'd feel a little less like someone twisting in the wind. So I'd feel Him with me.

However. Instead of completely  leaning on Him while walking through my valley, I sort of slowly detached myself from the whole experience--sort of became numb.

And then bitter.

And then I was just, frankly, apart.

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Of course, God was gracious through it all. He continued to give me opportunity to FEEL His presence, to remind me that He cared. I would read words written by bloggers, listen to sermons, sing along to praise music, and I would be moved. But simultaneously, I would feel like I was in danger. Danger--because alone in my own vehicle I am vulnerable to the possibility of a catastrophic collision.

But I just had such trouble getting back TO Him. I almost felt like my brain would stop functioning the moment I tried to speak to God. It was so frustrating. I struggled and struggled...TRYING to get mySELF there. And it didn't work. The fact is, I was (and still am!) obviously too exhausted/impaired (human!!) to be "driving this vehicle." I should have taken the bus!!

So I decided to......(Wait, what's that glib phrase people use??).....Let go and let God. That's all I knew to do. Sometimes I still find myself getting off-track, taking the wrong exit. Sometimes I get to the end of my day, and I wonder how I got to that point and what happened between waking up and going to bed. Time is flying. I only have to look through old photos of my children or even of myself to see that! And there's nothing I can do to stop it. It's overwhelming, and it will all be over too soon. But in the meantime, I don't want to get lost on this spiritual journey called life.

I don't want to forget what I'm here for...and on whose bus, restfully sitting and enjoying the ride, I have the opportunity to be. My focus MUST be on the Lord.

Daily.

Each moment.

I'm still learning exactly how to do that all the time. But I do know that if I'll put Him first, if I'll seek His face first thing in the morning, if I'll make time with Him more important than homeschooling, a shower, or whatever else I have to do in my day, He will be faithful to make me into who He wants me to be. Even when I don't FEEL Him there.

Here's a concept from a Beth Moore study that helped me:
If I'll LOOK at Him (instead of at the many other things that vie for my attention),
I'll be able to LISTEN to Him (and learn something),
which will impact how I FEEL (less overwhelmed, less alone, less depressed),
which will change what I EXPECT out of each day.
(I don't know about you, but I need my expectations to change!)

To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123: 1-2 (ESV)

This is not a matter of looking to Him just for help. This is a matter of FOCUS. What are our priorities in life?

Sleep? Job? Pets? Homeschool lessons? Extra-curricular activities? Church programs? Lying around doing nothing? Taking trips? Where do we spend our T-I-M-E???!! Where are our thoughts all day long?

God promises that if we place all our thoughts and cares on Him, that He will take care of everything else. (1 Peter 5:6-8)

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Have you ever had to ride with someone else on a journey? Had to ride along at the speed they chose, take the route they chose, listen to the music they chose, all while you sat there thinking, "This is the long way. They're driving too slow. I hate this music." and the like? We control freaks would much rather be the one in the driver's seat. 'Cause speaking for myself, sometimes I think I can handle things just fine on my own. I mean, I almost always think I know a better route! Anyone else out there like me?

But God knows the BEST way. How could we possibly think our way is better? Are we insistent on driving because we want to go where WE want to go and get there while listening to OUR choice of radio station?  What fools we can be!


I'd much rather trade my self-proclaimed position at the steering wheel of this broken-down thing I call my life for a God-appointed, assigned seat on His Bus-Bound-for-Glory. The ride may not be especially smooth, I may have to be especially trusting what with the lack of seat belts and all, and the journey may seem long at times. But if I keep my eyes fixed on the One in the Driver's Seat, He'll be all I think about. (And my expectations out of life will be considerably different.) And the radio will be playing the latest from The Angels...singing His praises...all the way! Maybe I'll even sing along.

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie McKissickJune 30, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    Beautiful, Lori. YOU should write a book.
    Love and miss you,
    Stephanie

    ReplyDelete

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