So Will I… (Good Friday Promise)

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will I
Songwriters: Joel Houston / Benjamin Hastings / Michael Fatkin
So Will I (100 Billion X) lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

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Knitting and Natting as a Spiritual Discipline — Discover More Bothell United Methodist Church

Graduate student, Connor Walden shares how creating a prayer shawl turned out to be so much more than knitting and purling. I’ve been really into grace lately. I love John Wesley’s “grace upon grace” theology and how we are to expect it as we are and to expect it now. In my own artistic and […]

via Knitting and Natting as a Spiritual Discipline — Discover More Bothell United Methodist Church

How Do You Let Others Love You?

This is the question I left off with in my last post WAY back in September.

 How do you let others love you? 

Years ago I read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Actually, no I didn’t. I read  “The Five Love Languages for Singles” (insert groan here). If you haven’t read the book I do recommend it… kinda.

The book outlines five ways to express and experience love which the writer calls “love languages”: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. The theory is we all respond to “I love you” in 5 varied ways.  Not just in the romantic setting, but in all of our relationships. 

For instance, my mother couldn’t care less if you bought her an expensive gift you put a lot of thought into, but make her dinner? Whoa – that’s speaking her language. Her primary love language is acts of service. Her whole life has been in service to others so when others devote time and effort to her she feels loved.

My primary love language? Physical touch. I respond quite happily to all the languages to be honest, but a hug is my go-to. I give plenty of them. Well, I used to. I used to be able to “show” my love with hugs etc. but as time has gone by I find this love language is not as available anymore. Maybe it’s being single and having to explain “No, I’m not making a pass at you, it’s just how I love others” or maybe it’s just society has become a colder, more aloof place. I don’t know.

I do know it has changed how I let people love me and how I love them.

(Let’s stop and rest on this for a second. That word: Love. We use one word to describe something complex and beyond just sexual/relational desire. The Greeks have six words for love. I wish we did, too. Needless to say, when I say letting people love me and my loving them romance is the least of my meaning.)

What do you do when your love language has been rendered uncomfortable?

Pack it all up and look for another way. I “get” what Chapman is saying with the love languages, but to be honest isn’t real love about letting others love you their way?

How do I let others love me? Authenticity.

And I’ll be the first to admit I am HORRIBLE at this. Completely dreadful. As I’ve written previously, my life from the get-go has been a battle to be loved and accepted. I have fought to be included my entire existence. And let me tell you, that’s not attractive. Most of all, it’s not authentic. I don’t know where I got it in my mind that I was so unattractive inside and out. That I had to put on a show to be welcomed into friendship. But I did and I suffered under it.

(The wonderful thing about getting older is you start to care less what other people think of you. When you do, you become naturally more authentic. You look back at all that effort and striving and fighting and all you remember is being tired. Exhausted. I love this stage.)

Yet still, holding me back is the real sharing of burdens. I’m great with the surface. “Yeah, I could use a few more regular clients.” I’m not good at expressing the deep stuff. The “oh-my-goodness I don’t think I’m going to make it another week in this situation” problems. You know what I mean. The dark stuff. The terrors of doing life alone. The devastation of rejection. The fear of “it” being too late – whatever “it” is. The “maybe I’m not good enough’s” and the “please somebody love me’s.” I’m not going to just throw out my stuff to anyone, but I’m learning who I can trust. Who is really invested in my friendship and slowly they get to see depths.

How do I let others love me? In light of past rejection and betrayal? I’m not sure yet. I know there is trust involved. And not just a little bit of wisdom. I walk gently. I gauge the way a person has treated me in the past. And I risk. The hardest part. I choose to risk and allow them to love me. And to risk and let myself love them back.

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Rejection for the Highly Sensitive Person

(It’s been one of those times. A few months feeling the same. A lingering illness. The blahs. I’m reposting as maybe you can relate?)

Whew.

It’s been hard to get the words out lately.

I know, in theory, I should be writing daily, but I just don’t seem to have it in me. I’m currently experiencing some emotional fragility, bordering on depression. From the outside looking in, life is good. I have fulfilling work. A beautiful home. People who love me. People I love. Unfortunately, depression – real depression – doesn’t care about the good things. It pushes you into the deep waters of hopelessness, regardless of your place in life. And I am teetering on the edge.

Depression seems to be surfacing from unknowns in the future. I’ve written about my desire for romantic love – and yes, this is genuine. But I can’t help thinking part of this desire is due to the fear I have of being alone in this world. That all whom I love will be gone and I will be here. Alone. And it terrifies me. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. I’ve never quite figured out whether I’m this way because of nature or circumstance. I suspect the latter.

I’m an introvert in that I need time alone when life gets too much. There’s probably not a little bit of social anxiety mixed in. Yet, I love people. I just don’t trust them not to hurt me. Disappoint me. Reject me. And that’s the crux of it all. Rejection. A few pivotal rejections in my youth seem to have set a sad pattern in my life. It became easier to not be open, truly open, than to experience rejection. Simpler to stay detached than to risk hurt. What do you do with a highly sensitive heart and soul? A sensitive soul that feels like death with each rejection? I know I take it all too deeply. Such is the nature of who I am.

The real question is: where do I go from here?

Am I going to walk into my 50’s still afraid? Still unknown?

Or am I going to take a deep breath and dive into intimacy with others?

And if I do dive in, what are my first steps?

How do you let others love you?

So much to unpack. But I know God enough to realize He wouldn’t be stirring this up in me if it weren’t crucial to my spiritual growth. I long to become all that He created me to be and this is just another step on the journey. As I said in my most recent post, my goal this year is to be love and be loved. I pray for the discernment and direction to realize this goal.

God Is Not Enough (and now that I have your attention…)

 

Last week I was dwelling in self pity and wrote some regretful words in my journal. After careful consideration, I thought I’d share:

God isn’t enough. 

…God is NOT enough. Not all the time, anyway. In those desperate times when you are told God is enough, He’s not, really. That’s the punishment of original sin, I suppose. We lost what made us whole. We suffer. And all the evangelicals etc. can say what they want – but sometimes, in some moments, He is not enough.

When the diagnosis is grim.
When the mortgage can’t be paid.
When he/she leaves and won’t return.
When you’ve waited, your whole life for love and love doesn’t find you.

In these moments – I think it’s fair to say – He isn’t enough.

And to go further…
He doesn’t always come through in the end.
Nope.

Suffering. Loneliness. Hopelessness. Death. 
It’s all over the human condition.

So. What does that leave me? Leave anyone?

“God won’t give you anything you can’t handle” – Ha. Not biblical. 

What He did say? Life would be rough. We would suffer. Our hearts would ache and brokenness would consume us.

No more lies.

In this fragile life – in the midst of it – He isn’t enough.

Obviously I wrote that out of pain and not a little loneliness, but I did so with a pure heart. I reflected back on the words throughout my week and what I realized is

God can only be enough when we allow Him to be. 

He’s the one knocking at our door. It’s up to us to answer. When He isn’t there, it’s because we haven’t made room for Him in our lives. Perhaps we haven’t been obedient? Or maybe we really want to live our lives with one foot in the world and one in Christ?

For me, I needed to admit my relationship with Him needed some soul work – more intimacy and times of prayer and mediation. How can He be enough when I don’t know Him as I should?

I choose to allow God to be my enough. I also choose to believe He has the best plan for my life. I believe He created me the way He did for His purpose. And the best place I can be in times of weakness and suffering is on my knees.

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Oy!

Life’s been a bit rough as of late. Big decisions to make regarding work, health and a whole mess of other stuff…

But one thing remains true.

He is still on His throne.

And without that I don’t know where I’d be. Because when it all comes down it’s not about me. It’s all about Him.

Whew. What a relief! (I get a bit bored of me.)

Summer isn’t usually a good time for me. I like structure and cool weather. But this year I’m taking up the challenge. I’m opening my heart to the transformation He’s been waiting for me to be ready for. He’s been standing at my door knocking.

I’m going to open it up: ready or not.

Obedience. Intimacy. Discipline.

Dear God,

I am here. Even if I’m not “ready” I am willing. Do with me what You will.

Amen.

(I encourage you all to download/listen to Elevation Worship’s “There Is A Cloud” – definitely a push towards that knocking door. )