A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Obedience

The blog thing is happening. Weird.

I have always been the Queen of Procrastination and the Empress of Good Intentions. I put off writing for years. I wanted to write since I was a pre-teen. So why now? What’s changed? What’s been going on in my life that I finally decided to follow through?

I’m in my mid 40’s and finally reached the place where I felt comfortable sharing.

Hmm… nope that’s not it.

It’s now or never.

No. Not that either.

The truth?

This whole writing/blog thing is, quite simply, an act of obedience.

I’ve never been a disobedient sort. I follow the rules. I rarely get in trouble. However, for some reason, I never saw ignoring God as an act of rebellion. This is (probably) because, aside from the Word (the Bible, for those not fluent in Christian-ese), I’ve never had a direct “command” from God. Instead, I’ve had little nudges and wee promptings. I found myself drawn to language and creativity.

In the past four years, I have felt a solid “call” from God to write. Never mind that I didn’t (and still don’t) have a clear idea of what I’m suppose to be communicating. The longer I waited, the more I felt like I was rejecting Him. Rejecting part of His plan for me.

January 2017 seemed as good a time as any to start. I’ve had the domain name for a few years, but after some stops and starts I’ve been posting regularly.

This is where it get interesting.

I always thought I’d write about my own experiences and someone would be encouraged by my words or relate to my struggles. And although this is still my desire, something quite different has been happening.

I became obedient and God started to move.

Moving me to realize He has some “stuff” He wants me to deal with. Stuff I have been holding on to for too long. Stuff, which will fester and rot if left alone.  Stuff, which is hindering me from living an abundant life.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”-  Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway put it perfectly. Writing hurts. It can be excruciating. No wonder I put it off for so long.

It seems the act of obedience has opened some gateway to truth. Truth about lies I’ve been living. And I’ve been made aware of the lies through more than just the writing: I’ve had people and experiences in the past few weeks which I don’t think I would have, had I not started on this path of obedience.

It’s going a long climb to where I feel I’m being led, but I know at the end the view will be worth it all.

 

Advertisements

Enough

When I reached middle age and still hadn’t gotten married or even had a long-term relationship I started to ask myself a question:

When will I be enough?

You see, I’ve been on a diet since I was 12 years old. When puberty hit so did the realization that boys would never want a “fat” girl. I use quotation marks because I wasn’t fat. I was tall and strong and bigger built – and yes, I had baby fat around the middle, but by no means was I overweight.

(Let’s get the “f” word out of the way, right now, okay? I hate when people say individuals are fat. It’s wrong. The truth is they HAVE fat, perhaps more than others. Who they are is represented by their character and actions, not by the percentage of adipose tissue stored on their bodies.)

From that age, I began to ruthlessly judge myself by superficial things. If not my size, it was my cartoonish profile, or the way I dressed, or my clumsy walk. My belief in myself was based on comparison with those I saw as “perfect.”

As I grew older I eventually discovered no one was perfect. We all had flaws. Yet, deep inside, something dark embedded itself into my soul.

“I am not enough”

So. Here I am, 47 years old, still asking if I am single because of the superficial. Am I alone because I am “bigger” or have short hair or don’t have the right wardrobe? As I write this the idea seems ludicrous, yet there remains a nagging at the back of my brain: “Boys don’t like fat girls.”

At this point, I could write about how my worth as a woman shouldn’t be contingent on romantic relationships. Or how being alone has been a blessing in many ways – I learned so much more about myself. I could spout off something about God’s timing and peace in the moment…

But it wouldn’t be honest. Because I really want relationship, to share my life with someone. And I really want to know if I’m single because I’m not conventionally attractive.

 

Proverbs 31:30 New International Version (NIV)

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

 

I’m not naïve – men are attracted to all different types of shapes, sizes and hair lengths.

But in all my focus on my outward beauty (or lack thereof – or so I thought) amidst all the pain I have endured – ruthless self-criticism and body hatred – I took God out of the story.

“God says: You are enough.”

I took God out of the story when I judged His creation and deemed it flawed. I shut Him out when I made my attractiveness about the outward. I denied His gifts when I hated my body – my continuously healthy, vibrant body.

The truth is I have a great body. Not by society’s standard, not at all. Yet, I have had remarkable health and vitality. Thick hair. Clear skin. Virtually no wrinkles at 47. Yes, I have more fat than I’d like, but I’m exercising. Eating better. Cutting out sugar. Moreover, I’m learning to love my body as it is.

And yet, the lingering fear: I’m just not attractive to men.

At this point, it’s an issue of trust.

I have a favorite saying, a Polish proverb that goes: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Basically, I can’t take control of what is not my issue. That’s what I think God is saying to me in this circumstance – “This isn’t yours, I have it in my control. Work on your body, sure! But work on your character too! Love people unconditionally. Embrace who I created you to be and don’t sweat what I have in my control.”

As to not being attractive to men? That could be a whole other blog post and maybe one day I’ll write about it. But you have to know,  I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Prayer:

God.

Before the creation of the world you formed the idea of ME. And you had perfection planned. Forgive me for hating your creation. Restore me what you intended. Help me to love my beautiful body, soul and spirit.

God,

Help me to let go of control. Remind me that you have Your best will in mind and until your timing I must rest in your way.

God,

Remember me and the desire of my heart. I am in awe of You and your ways.

So be it.

 

 

 

Intimacy: Part Two

“Tell me where you felt I’ve let you down”

Let me back up a little. The desire is intimacy with God. What do my personal disappointments have to do with it?

A lot, actually.

If I reflect on my past I can see a lot of unfulfilled expectations. Sometimes, it has even seemed as though God was working in direct conflict with my deepest desires. Because of this I’ve had a difficult time trusting Him with my heart. I took each sorrow personally, as if He wanted to prevent me from finding happiness and peace. In the past four years, I have done deep soul work to learn to trust Him. Perhaps for the first time in my life.

The thing is: if you are trying to have intimacy with God, trust is paramount. You must believe that no matter the circumstance He is on your side. I admit, this was hard to grasp.

  • Where was He when I was struggling with mental illness?
  • What about when my career dreams fell through?
  • Why did He allow my teenage years to be rife family conflict?

All these years later I can’t offer any concrete explanation for His silence in these times. But the fact that I am still here and still dedicated to being His gives me enough evidence. Enough faith.

He gave me enough strength to die to my own desires and let go of bitterness and anger.

Is there anything remaining?

Sure, there is. It’s not a something causing me bitterness or anger (anymore, that is). It’s just one of those, “Really, God? You deny me this?” situations.

“Tell me where you felt I’ve let you down”

Since, I was a little girl I always thought I’d be married. And yet, at 47, I remain single. Most days I’m okay with this. I’ve gotten on with the business of life.

But other days…

I am seized with fear. “I’m going to always be alone.”

Or I’m lonely.

Or I’m needing to be touched

Or I’m even facing practical frustration: fiscally, it’s harder being single than married.

I admit it. Sometimes I feel like God has let me down.

 

Catch the irony?

 

I whine about my longing for intimacy with another human being while the God of all creation desires me as bride.

Please don’t misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with seeking the desires of your heart. But when you pursue intimacy with God, He makes the worldly secondary. What’s more He sets your desires where they should be.

Most Christians have memorized Psalm 37:4:

“Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? I live joyfully in the Lord and He will give me what I want!

What if it’s not about getting what we want but rather Him giving us the RIGHT desires. What if aligning ourselves with God in intimate relationship will change our heart so we only desire what is His best?

As I continue to take delight in the Lord, my desire remains the same. It sits in my daily prayers. In the joys and in the sorrows. What it doesn’t do is take God’s place as the first King of my heart. Putting the desire in its proper place has opened me up to the greater love and intimacy of God.

The journey of intimacy continues and I will share more as time goes on, but for now I feel as though I am on the cusp of something profound. Birthed in obedience, continuing in grace.