Pursuit

DesertSolitaireOpera“It is better to be emptied out in the desert and be with our great God than to be indulged in the world without God.  Plus, those who hang in there through the desert will get to the Promised Land.” – Gwen Shamblin

Simplicity… ruined by contemplative clutter.  Peace… threatened by the self-induced storm.  Trust… clouded by nagging insecurity.

The addiction to self screams over it all.  And I run, hoping my pounding steps will drown the noise.  I sprint further into the brokenness.  And I can’t stop.

I know truth, yet I still waiver.  My Maker knows my heart, yet He still pursues.  I can’t explain His ways… His wisdom.

We’re the adulterous wife discovered by Relentless Love.  Hear Him speak… 

“I am going to allure her; I will lead her to the desert and speak tenderly to her.  There I will give her back her vineyards and I will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope.”   Hosea 2:14, 15

After we choose brokenness — after our choice is made — He pulls us from the mess into loneliness.  Ah, the redeeming solitude that scares us to death… that scares us into the arms of our Lover.  And He carves away the distractions to form caverns in our hearts… Caverns so vast, so deep, so empty.  Caverns only He can fill.

And His tender words echo into the emptiness and settle in my thoughts.  Yes, emptiness is beautiful, for I hear nothing but Him.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love.  Here’s my heart, O take and seal it.”  – Robert Robinson, mid-1700’s

How to Stop Building the Wall

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It was a tiny blow to the heart – and I do mean tiny.  I can see it now in hindsight, but not so much then.

I pondered and reflected – too much – causing the offense to grow in my mind until I was overwhelmed in its shadow.  I scorned the injustice of it all, not realizing I was dancing out of reality. 

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” The words of my Redeemer jolted ancient religious leaders, causing religion to quietly turn away.  But I, I picked up enough stones to hurl them into the form of a wall around my heart, vowing to never let it be broken again.

He took my thoughts and transformed my self-protecting efforts into a looking glass.  Oh, the dreaded mirror into one’s own heart.  And with every wounding comment I relived in my mind, He revealed words from my own silent heart – words no one hears yet boast the same ugliness.

Why does forgiveness feel like a loss of control?

And today – with every grasp toward a stone – He tenderly reminds me I’m holding my own sin.  My Enemy lures me to keep building, but my Maker whispers, “Lay it down”.

And though I long to build upon a wall started years ago, He points me toward the doorway again, toward the escape He created centuries ago with his broken body.

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Dear Neighbor (A Confession)

Rows-of-terraced-houses-002Dear neighbor,

I hardly know you, yet we’ve slept just yards away from each other for years.

I’m sorry for diminishing your identity to the house in which you live.  And for thinking you disappear when you step inside.  You actually do disappear – at least in my story.  In my own, self-absorbed story.

I’ve never considered the fact that you live inside of that place.  I’ve been so busy pondering my own life and have failed to even think about yours.  Me, the thinker.  Failing to think.  What’s the point of reflection if it’s only about ourselves?

I can make a lot of excuses – most of them originating from my introverted personality and my east coast roots.  I’m just not the gregarious type that gets energized by being with people… People in New Jersey don’t talk just for the sake of talking… I don’t naturally strike up fun conversations anywhere.  Why would I do that on my front lawn?!  And, of course, the fact that I am “so” busy and “so” tired weaves itself into the justification, too.  Oh, and I’m ashamed of my yard and the house projects we haven’t finished.

I’m embarrassed of my complete lack of loving you over the years.  The yearsMy shame perpetuates the cycle and keeps me inside.  Inside my house.  Inside my own life.

I wonder if you think we’re rude.  I wonder if you think we’re typical in neighborhood social norms.

I don’t know what this is going to look like, and it terrifies me to navigate it, but I’m going to start thinking about you.  And after welcoming you into my thought life, I want to show you I like you.  And eventually love you.  I plan to convince you you’re not an interruption in my own story.

Forgive me,

Christan

Why I Want A Small Life When the World Keeps Telling Me to Dream Big

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“We can’t keep living to impress strangers while the ones we love suffer our indifference. Focused love.  Small life.  Big rewards.” Don Miller

Focused love.  Small life.  I’m not sure that I want this.

I mean, I do.  But these words are a bit abrasive to the insecure me who keeps searching to find significance.  And um, yes, they’re a bit abrasive to the exhausted me who often feels I have nothing left to give come evening.

Love takes work.  Love. takes. work.

It’s almost easier to reach for the sky than to look into the eyes of those around you.  No, really.  I think you know what I mean.  Try harder and people notice your effort.  Conquer new goals and people admire.  Be successful and people see you.  People see you.

People.  People.  People.

What is it about the admiration of the masses that feeds our soul only to leave us empty?

And what is it about being anonymous that makes us question our worth?  Question in a really scared sort of way?

Laugh at your son’s joke, and you’re still unknown.  Play the never-ending board game Life with your daughter instead of Tweeting, and you don’t have a voice in the crowd that day.  Engage in conversation with your husband instead of pouring over Pinterest, and no one gets to know your style, your taste for good food, your amazing sense of home decor.

Yeah, engage behind closed doors with those you care about the most, and no one will notice you in those moments.

Focused love.  Small life.  Big rewards.

My son will know I’m crazy about him and will hopefully take that into adolescence.  My daughter will cherish the gift of time — translated into security — and might remember it when other girls leave her out.  My husband, bless him, who pursues me above all others will know I’d rather talk to him than anyone.

Treasures.  Big rewards.

So, today I’m choosing to get to know my family again.

You may need to get to know your friends all over again.  Or your co-workers who spend their days just an arm-length from you.  Or your neighbor who waves to you daily… the one whose last name you don’t know.

I’m choosing to look my kids and husband in the eye each time they speak to me this week — even when I’m cooking dinner.

Focused love.  Small life.  Big rewards.  I’m painting these words on the canvas of our everyday.  I’ll need some reminders.