1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."
I cried my eyes out three times in the last week and a half… THREE TIMES! All three times, happen to be the nights that Sheldon and I had more than 5 minutes to spend with each other. Really feeling like I was wasting our moments together, I would try and suck it up. Only to burst again 25 seconds later. Fed up. He was so kind to let me talk, wiping my tears off my cheek with his pointer finger until it grew tired and he grabbed a box of tissues. He's so funny, he began to hand me a new tissue every few seconds (a little over the top) and it made me smile.
As I cried, I talked… and talked… AND TALKED!
My natural and most impacting processing method is by far, verbal. Everyone who knows me well, knows my processing well. They also probably know that if they just let me get to my own conclusion, it's easier for them and probably more conclusive than attempting to chime in with a response of their own. By the end of my speech, I have usually found a resolution to my current issue. Can you relate? I hope someone out there can! Haha!!
With my emotional breakdowns explained, let me move on. Why? Why was I losing it every few days? Because I was confused.
How do you handle confusion? Does it eat you up? Do you feel out of control?
These are two of the many feelings I have when I'm confused. I'd rather be mad than confused any day of the week! Because at least I would have a concise reasoning behind my fit! But no, not with confusion. There's nothing to glean from or to bring forth into the light. Because although my heart tells me the light will indeed come and shine truth over the mulling of my mind, I have yet to see in what seems to be darkness and so I despair.
Most of the time, I'd not be very keen on writing a blog post about my wrecked moments but then again, aren't those usually the blog posts I read most from other writers? The ones that feel real and acknowledge that someone has been through what I have and made it out with victory to exclaim over?! So here I am, telling you about my emo days and my "crazy brain" that I often get (Shout out to my fave, Shauna Niequist who coined the phrase "Crazy Brain"). Sometimes when I have a lot on my mind to work out and sometimes when I have a lot on my mind that I just can't seem to work out. So I hold it in because I have no one right here to listen to all my confused thoughts besides God… and well, doesn't he tire of hearing me rough house all of His plans? So I wait until suddenly that look that I guess the man you love can only give you, causes me to burst and go on and on. As he patiently waits to say one key thing (Unless I choose to allow more wisdom beyond the one thought!)…
He says, "Lauren… I believe God is trying to tell you…"
Yeah. I knew that already. But I wouldn't listen to God. I was ashamed! I didn't want to admit that He knew where my heart was at in regards to His clear message!
You know, sometimes I really listen to God. Usually in regards to other people and how He wants to speak with them. Recently, I have acknowledged a new and humbling truth. My heart puts up a seemingly "God-sized wall" to protect my pride. It's easy to say, "So and so… God wants you to know…" as Sheldon did so sweetly for me. But it's so much harder for me to say,
"God. I'm listening. And even if I don't want to hear it… tell me anyway."
… when it's about me. God gave me my first "promise rainbow" 7 years ago. I know I've written about it before and probably will again but for those who don't know, God has consistently placed rainbows in the sky for the last 7 years at exactly the right moments. The moments when He desires to remind me of His promise to give me the desires of my heart based on my obedience to His calling on my life. The whole, "Seek first His kingdom" stuff. Sometimes He speaks to my heart with a word and sometimes it's the rainbow of light in the sky but He always speaks.
I'm honestly not sure why it's harder to listen when the word is for me as opposed to someone I know, beyond the one issue of pride (He can be monstrous though!). I mean, Scripture says all things work for my good as a purposed daughter of God? And if He controls the entire universe with no effort beyond His natural identity as God, then why on earth do I think my plans for myself are better than His for me?!!
Oh yeah, it's not about me. If I had a dime for every time I have written that truth in a blog post, well… you get it.
So I'm grateful. A long way to tie back to the verse at the beginning of this post, I know. But today, I honestly wasn't sure where this was going. I'm writing along with my hearts' cry and it's led me back into God's Word in a waaaay roundabout direction. I'm grateful in all things.
I said that Sheldon reminded me of the voice of God but I actually did not receive that reminder when it was given. I just cried on his shoulder until I started laughing again, pushing my frustrations aside… or truly back in. But the next morning, random in nature but divine in plan, I heard this verse over my radio on my way to coffee with two dear friends. As I waited for them to arrive, God just laid a new foundation in my heart for what was next. A defined plan. Not that crying is bad, I'm quite comfortable with it, actually. But there was no need to cry anymore.
He has a plan and He owns the rights to it. If I don't like it, I need to search my heart for sin. I believe that my "not liking" God's perfect plan, might just be coming from that dark of a spot on my heart. Is He patient with me, absolutely. Did He want me to let Him wipe the tears from my cheek, probably. Will I listen better next time to His calming voice, I hope so. But here I was, sitting still in His presence and finally able to listen. In that moment, I wanted whatever He wants for me because I know He loves me through my selfishness and still sees me as blameless. What a gracious God.
No matter what was coming "next" in His conversation with me that morning, I was already thankful. Because I'm not alone or in charge and His timing is perfect.
See… I heard the word "build" in Malaysia and my next blog post will explain what I believe that word means after 3 months of being home and seeing a whole lot of rainbows. As opposed to the meaning I thought the word would hold in the next season of my post-race life, it has come to mean something very different and although not shocking at all… clarity has brought forth peace.
I'm not crying anymore. I've made it to the other side of this specific trial of confusion and like the bloggers I've read before exclaimed to my own heart, I'll share with you that I've found victory! It wasn't in the tears or in me working it out on my own. It was at the foundation, where God prepared a plan that was way bigger than I could ever imagine. The ancient ruins have been torn down, the foundation of gratitude has been lain, His rainbows of promise are visible, and I'm now ready to listen… to build.
What areas of your heart cause you to give in to frustration? For me it is confusion but yours could be different. Feel free to share below about what brings you to your breaking point and how Papa pulls you out! What does He use to bring you back to Him?