There are so many things spinning like a carousel in my head as my fingers hit the keyboard. Forgive me if this post seems like some crazed randomness of too many words that don’t make sense. Try to hang in there with me…
I’ll start by sharing my “one word” for this new year: Live.
1Live verb ˈliv
: to be alive : to continue to be alive
I’ve felt this word strongly in my spirit for several months now , and just could not shake it when I was praying about a word to carry out as 2015 approached. However, I don’t believe this word was placed in my heart simply to just “be alive”. This year, I want to live… really, truly LIVE! I want to live uninhibited, bravely, confidently, loudly, freely and beautifully. I want to squeeze every ounce of juice out of that word this year…. I want to wear that word so strongly that LIFE gleams from my fingertips. I. Want. To. Live.
Of course we all want “life to the fullest”…. we know that our “days are numbered”, and that we need to “embrace the present”, and “make every moment matter”. YEP, we. know. We believe it… or want to anyways. We get reminded of this and kick ourselves as we lay in bed at night if we happened to fail at “fully living” that day. Some days (or weeks, or years), embracing that in every moment is just HARD!
I’ve been on somewhat of a journey for the last two years. Life never throws us curve balls when we expect them, am I right?! I wrote a post in September of 2014, that I never published. It was a very rough draft, on a very rough day.
Can I be real with you? I’m human. Yes, my husband and I are in ministry. Guess what? We’re still human. To quote my boss and mentor, author Suzie Eller, “… sometimes, especially when you are in ministry, you might pretend that you always have it together and that night I had NOTHING together.” The following was written on one of those nights:
I’m broken. In so many stinking ways. Physically, mentally, emotionally… broken.
I feel like I don’t even know where to begin. For the past two years, I’ve been battling an undiagnosed physical illness. I’ve been leery of bringing the subject up, for a multitude of reasons. I guess I’ve been living each day to live each month to find out “what’s wrong with me.” Maybe I thought I’d save the post until I was given a diagnosis, so that the words would be there. And yet, here I sit, two years after this all began, and I’m no closer to “finding out” than I was the day it manifested itself. My “diagnosis”, is officially “an undiagnosed auto-immune disease”.
I’ve asked myself along the way, “What if I never find out?” Well, since that thought flat out scares the stuff out of me, I try to shift from it quickly. So then I pray that God would just remove my desire to know. Maybe I will never know what’s going on with my body. That happens, right?! And, I need to be able to function and LIVE life, even if… right?!
So, here I am, a wanderer. I’ve been in this desert before. Actually, I live here. And I’ve lived here for some time. I’m a long time resident in this desert… this wilderness. I refuse to call myself a permanent resident, because I don’t plan on staying here forever. I’ve come close to packing it all up and leaving, heading for higher ground. But every time that I seem to get close to the mountain, real life takes me on a little detour and pulls me back down. And so I continue to wander here, waiting for my moment to climb the mountain. This perpetual mountain… I don’t just want to move it… I want to climb it, with everything I’ve got, so that I can reach it’s peak…. because God will be waiting there for me with hugs and high fives (and maybe a bottle of water). It is there that I will catch a glimpse of what I’ve been missing by planting my feet into the cracks of this blasted desert. There, on that peak, is where I will move forward, and never. look. back.
The thing is, no one is keeping me here, but me. I like to think of myself as this strong woman, who completely trusts God and puts everything in His hands and just rolls through life on a pretty little cloud of trust and joy. But let’s be real, I’m obviously not there. Not all of the time, anyways.
So, what’s it going to take? I know that God has had me on a journey of patience and trust for the last… um… several years. And very seriously for the last year or so. Oh, my Lord, I so badly want to hop over this fence and get outta dodge, but I keep letting life bring me back down.
You guys, I wrote this in September… mere months ago. It makes me cringe a bit. I’ll be honest, there were days that I thought I’d go crazy. Who am I kidding… I was. At the time I wrote that, I was just coming off of an almost nine month “episode” in my illness. Monthly primary doctor visits, specialist visits, test after test after test, blood work, and still no answers, had finally won. I caved. I felt further from God than I had in a long time. And yet, at the same time, I felt like I could hear Him louder than ever.
God had been speaking to me in detail since the day my symptoms began. He had always been there. He still is. I don’t believe that God gave me this illness for a reason, but do believe that He has a plan for me as I walk this journey. And yet, as the days went by, I began to allow Me to become louder than He. I fell into myself. Me. Of course, I was convinced that I didn’t feel sorry for myself, because there were others going through much more than I was. And yet, it happened. Inch by inch, day by day, I allowed the Enemy to entangle me in his wicked little web of “Me”.
I’ll save the details of my health for another day. But for now, I’m curious: how many of you are wandering through each day, looking for answers? Aren’t we all in one way or another? Maybe you need answers in your marriage, in your finances, in your career path, in parenting. Maybe you are looking for deeper answers to theological questions. Maybe it is a health matter, physical or mental, and you need answers today. Maybe you’re questioning life in general. I know many of you reading this are walking through a life much harder than my own. When I really put things into perspective, I am well aware of the magnitude at which many of you are suffering. And I’m so sorry, for whatever it is that has you
looking begging for answers. Jesus, be near.
Sometimes, it scares the crud out of me… this “illness.” I tend to let fear creep in, even when the “Me’s” aren’t all up in my face. And I worry about my kids, my husband, their lives, our Life. Anyone else been there? And oooooh, how the crazy circus monkeys LOVE to have fun with fear, right?! They dance around with it in your head and make you lose it. Lose it… everything… but also: Focus. Surrender. Faith.
But, when I focus my eyes on Jesus, the “Me’s” fly away, along with the crazy monkeys. And yet, how quickly we tend to forget. It really is every. single. day. that I must die to self…. to ME.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT)
So, yeah, my earthly body may be failing me. But I will live in this earthly body by TRUSTING IN THE SON OF GOD! If that doesn’t pull you out of your sticky “Me” web, right?! And I love that gentle whisper that reminds me of the truth, that when I am weak, He is STRONG! His power is made perfect in my weakness!
I want to LIVE! I’m so far from perfect, people, that it’s not even funny. The crazy train circus is not always rainbows and lollipops… trust me! But that truth! Oh, the freedom that offers!
I’ll probably have to read this blog post every other day to remind myself of this all over again. When I take my eyes off of the things of this cray-zaaaay world, off of ME, and turn to The One who lives IN me, then I am free to LIVE! Free to love and to serve others… which is what I am called to do… and free to be me, rather than be focused on me. Free to be the Me that HE created… even if along with that, comes an illness. Never diagnosed. And until He decides to take me Home, I will LIVE with all I’ve got.
Are you walking in His freedom today? Really living? I know, it’s hard. But here’s something else I know: there is strength in numbers. And sometimes, all we need is a whisper, a nudge (or a slap across the face) from a friend, to remind us to keep going. To persevere. To LIVE. Even when God is ever present, for some reason, when people walk alongside one another, it feels less chaotic. There is comfort in solidarity… in knowing we are not alone.
I adore this quote:
I don’t know about you, but I want to savor every last drop of this journey, before He calls me Home. And I can’t do it alone.
Will you walk with me?
My dear friend and mentor, Suzie Eller, is talking about living free on her blog today, and every Thursday. Suzie’s post today gave me courage.
On Suzie’s #livefree Thursdays, she’s using the strength in numbers concept and linking up with other writers, to give you a mega dose of encouragement to #LIVEFREE! I’m so excited for this! Go read her post (and follow her blog… for real), and check out the linked-up posts from friends…. they’re all so. very. good. Find Suzie’s page here:
Live today… really… LIVE!