Do Through The Doubt

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I have moments, hours, days where I feel so empty of hope and disillusioned with this world that I want to quit. 

Moments where I wonder if God is there, if He hears me, if He is ignoring or rolling His eyes or punishing or toying with me. I am not one to question His existence, but I often question His goodness. 

I question whether I heard Him correctly, whether I am walking the right path, whether the things I’m pouring myself into are really from Him, will really have eternal weight. 

Sometimes I can barely breathe from the weight of it.

Sometimes I want to shake and pace and scream with frustration over being stuck here where I’ve never felt I was meant to be. 

And while it is comforting to repeat truths to myself – to remind myself God is awesome, to remind myself life is short, to remind myself this isn’t home, to remind myself of all the times He has provided and loved and come through for me – sometimes what my heart needs is to leak or pour or gush out the things weighing it down.

I need to lament. And because I am a writer who tends toward the poetic, these little lamentations come out of me. I’ve decided to put them here in this book because much like the ones in scripture, and many of the Psalms, I think it can be a comfort to recognize your own pain and suffering and frustration in the lamentations of another.

My wish for these is that one or more would leave you feeling less alone, less isolated, and in such a state you might look up and find the one who loves you most has been there all along, unchanging, unwavering.

He is good. I cannot ever hope to understand Him, but I can become more and more convinced He is good. I cannot figure out why He does what He does and doesn’t do things I think He should, but I can fall more and more in love with Him. 

And I don’t have to hide the things in my heart – the sorrows and the doubts and the anger – because He knows them already and He has already loved me through it and He wants me laid bare before Him. 


*This is an excerpt from my book “Capturing Thoughts", which includes a section of laments. I am printing all preordered books + 50 extra copies in July. Preorder on Kickstarter by July 10th*

Grateful For My Anxiety

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It’s funny how one day I can be in a state of near- full surrender, of kingdom-mindedness, of eternal focus, and the next day I can be a tightly wound ball of anxiety with my eyes fixated on the temporal and my thoughts magnifying what isn’t going my way.

I’m working on a collection of short meditations on anxiety right now. They are the things I say to myself and to others - and the things I think God says to us - when we are rolling in the muck of it. But as I write these down, as I contemplate the anxiety monster, I find myself incredibly grateful.

The knot in my stomach, the tsunami of thoughts, the tightness in my chest, the trembling limbs - they light up the cockpit of my life and remind me, painfully, to get out of the pilot’s seat.

In this way, the anxiety is a gift. For me it is a clear heads up to get my head up.

It still sucks. I don’t love it. At its best it is mildly aggravating, 
at its worst it is soul crushing. It’s a monster we won’t be bothered with on the other side of eternity.

But I’m grateful for the way it has taught me to shift focus.

For how it teaches me surrender.

For how it won’t let me be the pilot - how as soon as I take control of the cockpit it wakes up and sounds every alarm.

I don’t love it, but I’m grateful.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

*This little book of meditations, lamentations, and prayers is going to print in July. When you preorder through Kickstarter, shipping is on me. CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY KICKSTARTER PAGE

 

Defenseless But Defended

I have no defense but I have a defender #christian #lionofjudah #christianinspiration

I want to be good.

I want to be objectively a “good” person, and sometimes I wander into a headspace where I think I am. Based on my own measurements, I am “good.”   

I measure against my perception of others, I measure against who I used to be, and I measure against my own definitions. 

So when an accusation comes, an accusation that I am less than good, less than holy, less than righteous, less than perfect – I balk. I rally the defenses. My mind becomes filled with reasons I measure up to some concept of “good.”

I rail and I cry and I pound my fists against this injustice and finally, because I know it is the only place to find the peace I need, I fall to my knees and I let my Father tell me how it is.

And he takes away my measuring tools. He reminds me HE is good.  

For my own concepts of what is good and right, I can mount a defense. I can reframe and pile up evidence and create a list as long as my arm for why I fit the definition.


But I have zero hope of measuring up to Him.

I am completely defenseless. I fall so short of the standard, short of what humanity could be, short of what I could be. There is an enormous gap between myself and my God, a chasm between what I am and what is good.

I am defenseless. 

But I am defended. 

Jesus stands in the gap, lays over the chasm. When determining my righteousness, I won’t be measured, my “goodness” won’t be measured – He will be measured instead. His righteousness will be credited to me.

The mountain of defense, the reframing, the pile of evidence, the list of why I am good – these might as well burn. They would never be enough.

I don’t need them. I don’t need anyone to think of me a certain way. I don’t need proof I am “good,” I don’t need to defend myself against any accusations.

He is enough.

I don’t need a defense.

I am defended. 

Q & A: Answering Questions About Christian Singleness

Answering Questions About Christian Singleness

IF: GATHERING was this weekend and I participate every year, alone from my couch in my pajamas, which is basically the only way to participate.  There was a segment of the conference where a panel of single, Christian women answered three questions about being single.  

It was a good segment, with a group of ladies who gave great answers.  BUT, I would have answered differently.  

1 What are the highs and lows of being single?

HIGHS

Most of the panel talked along the lines of freedom being the best part of singleness.  I tend to agree on this one. I love sleeping alone (until The B crawls in with me). I am thankful for my evenings when I am alone and can doodle and watch Netflix, or stare at a wall in silence, or sing to myself until a song comes out - pretty much whatever I want to do.  I get a big chunk of alone time almost every single night and it's awesome - this is probably my highest high.  

A close second is a lack of drama.  When you share your life with a person, you are going to clash.  There are going to be bunches of little conflicts, days where emotions run high, days where you're a jerk, days where he's a jerk, and days where you have to work through the days where one or both of you were jerks.  I enjoy this little lack in my life.

LOWS

I think for me, the low is the lack of male friendship.  Most of my adult life I have had men around me who felt like brothers.  My actual brothers are adults now, so that's fun.  And I keep in loose, over-the-internet, contact with some of my old friends, but not having brothers in my close circle of friends is a pretty big bummer for me.  

Christian Singleness Quote

In our culture, and I would say especially in the American church culture, there is an assumption that everyone wants to be married.  I have found this leads to a lot of misunderstanding in an opposite-sex friendship, even when intentions of singleness are explicitly stated.  It's something I decided wasn't worth the potential drama. But it does make me sad on occasion, so I'd call it a low.

2. What would you say to other single women who have put themselves in neutral, waiting to be married?

The panelists were so kind and full of grace as they answered this question.  I love how they gently pointed out a couple of key truths:  You might not ever get married and your current problems and insecurities are coming with you if you do.

My answer is a bit more blunt:

1. Stop it.  Take marriage off the to-do list.  Take marriage off of your list of goals.  If you hold, in any measure, the false idea of the purpose of woman being to mate and reproduce - stop it.  

Your purpose is to serve God. Period.  There is a message, as subtle as it is destructive, in our culture and it tells us marriage is what we do, marriage is for everyone but weirdos and shut-ins, marriage is where everyone is bound, you are incomplete without a mate, you won't fit in anywhere without a mate, blah blah blah - none of this is truth. Marriage is good AND singleness is good.

(A little caveat for the person who doesn't know me very well, or at all, and thinks I am being negative about marriage here - this is not what is happening.  Marriage is good, but there is a difference between "good" and "required," and a difference between "good" and "necessary.")

2. Set aside an entire year where you will not even entertain the idea of dating.  Don't flirt, don't fantasize, don't pray for a husband.  

Be committed to a solid year of being single.  Intentionally take time to study what God says about marriage.  Read books about marriage, listen to sermons about marriage, and be friends with married couples who will be real and vulnerable around you about how stupid hard it is to be married.  

At the very least, you will learn contentedness as a single and, if marriage is in your future, you will be ready to enter it with more realistic expectations.

 

3. What can the church do better?

The American church, while it may throw the occasional bone in recognition of the value and acceptableness of a life of singleness, has (in general) perpetuated beliefs about marriage which are more cultural than scriptural.

"You need a mate"  is not something most people would outright affirm as truth, but they WOULD and DO affirm this as truth through a multitude of other words and actions.  

So what can the church do better for me as a single person? Pray and read the scriptures.  Ask for and seek an understanding of singleness based not on culture, tradition, or your own experience.  Find and read the stories of single Christ followers, historically and in the scriptures. I believe this is the appropriate and necessary place to start, so this is what I would ask of the church (if they were asking :) )