I don’t know what I would do without friends and loved ones speaking truth and encouragement into my life. I’m not talking about advice or judgment, but compassionate messages of hope. Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet to the Jewish nation during their captivity in Babylon. Despite the picture of hopelessness, God gave a message through Jeremiah:
“I know the plans I have for you, announces the Lord. I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.” Jeremiah 29:11
Imagine where God’s people were– a strange land that did not worship like them, enslaved, loss of freedom, and a sense of utter failure. Here comes a man of God speaking this verse into their lives. Today, I imagine, the Holy Spirit works in the lives of others and orchestrates connections and words spoken to speak hope to us. We find ourselves in darkness, and God speaks, and He uses others to come along side of us.
You don’t understand the meaning of hope, until you have feelings of hopelessness. Hope is an action word. There is nothing passive about hope. Hope is the day to day steps you take towards a goal, a promise, a prayer spoken. Don’t discount these small steps.
I’m reading a book, Present over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. Her sense of humor in the midst of explaining something painful or hard is my kind of writing. I don’t know what I would do without humor. I have to share this with you.
I feel like I’m driving a car 100 miles an hour with music blaring out of open windows. I screech into a parking lot, throw the car in park, sprint into 7-Eleven, and race to the back of the store. I throw my head back under the Slurpee machine, and I fill my mouth with red Slurpee, tons and tons, running down my face and neck. I just keep gulping and gulping, sticky red corn syrup-y sludge, more and more, until I stand up, smeared and dripping, and race back for the car, on to the next thing, jamming the car into reverse, music at mind-numbing volume. That’s how I feel. And what I want is one strawberry. In total silence. No 100 miles an hour, no music, no fake red mess all over my face and neck. I want one real strawberry. And I don’t know how to get there from here. I am stuffed. (Niequist, pg. 32).
She goes on to pose this thoughtful statement: “The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you.” (Niequist, pg. 33)
So her thing is “lust for life, energy, curiosity, and hunger.” Hmmmmmmmmmmmm I don’t know. Maybe, Shauna. I can relate somewhat to these items, but for me, it’s my passion for connection and relationship. In check, it’s what I love to do and hopefully is a strength in my workplace and circle of friends. Unchecked, I build walls, insecurities, and become lonely. Lonely for what? How deep is the well that you need to fill dear one? Why am I filling it with loud music, racing about, sticky red corn syrup-y sludge? The key word to me is “unchecked”. I don’t want to feel bad about the gifts God has given me. I don’t want to check out and hide because I’m tired and can’t stop the tears. I want to engage in life with great joy and from a place of capacity, not burn out.
Do we need an overhaul–a building of a new way of living from the ground up? (pg. 33)
A friend from work sent me a song, “Thy Will Be Done”. Great song! I’ll post at the end. I listened and was deeply moved by the words, and we exchanged text messages. I’m doing a 21 day challenge with a Bible app with another friend at work that is emphasizing walking in the Spirit, not our flesh or the “law”–undeserved grace. My small group study emphasized Jesus asking for the cup of his death and resurrection to pass over, but “thy will be done” was spoken. Our Jesus spoke these words. Can we in our circumstances? Another friend reminded me that “all of us need a soft place to land”. That soft place needs to be defined for all of us and worked on. What does that look like?
Lord, please ______________________________ on my job, with a child, in my marriage, my health……
But, God……Thy Will Be Done…………..
I’m trying to build again. Circling back to love, Holy Spirit, giving up my attempts at control of the universe, undeserved grace, and quiet.
I’ve been intrigued by Tanya Tucker’s new album. The song that made the album a hit is called “Bring My Flowers Now.” The song to me brings a reckoning of hope–a pointed change. “We all think we have the time, until we don’t.” I had a dream that woke me up. I felt a message in my dream–this person of spiritual authority and kindness, said to me, “Get this right Anna, once and for all. You have less time left than you did before….” It was sobering and a charge for me personally.
If you read or listen on audible Present Over Perfect, too. Reach out to me. It’s truly a life-changing book, and I would love to hear how God is moving in your life!
I treasure this space to share with you.
Thy Will Be Done….