Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thoughts in Solitude

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

At the start of this week, I had the distinct feeling that I was going to have to slog through it. Do you ever get that feeling? Like you're dragging a heavy load through sand, in a daze. You can't see anything clearly and you know that you just have to keep chugging away slowly if you ever want to get out of it.

I've also had the nagging feeling that I've described before when it seems like I'm on the cusp of... something. I just don't know what. These are the times when God confronts me and asks if he can help me sort through my baggage and lay my burdens down in order to prepare myself for bigger and better things He has in store.

His offer? "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Time after time, I consider this offer to cross that invisible barrier in my mind and accept His invitation. I think how nice it would be to lay down the cares of this world. But it could also be painful to sort through things. And, well, this is my baggage. It's part of my identity. What do I have if I lay it down? Who will I be?

So instead of trusting the God who knit my innermost being, I cling my burdens to chest and flee. Every. Single. Time. I back down from the challenge because avoiding the freedom also means avoiding the responsibility.

This probably breaks God's heart, just like it hurts me to watch those I love in pain. But if I offer myself the same grace and love I want to offer to others, I have to realize: why would I want to be anywhere else than safe in God's heart? Running away from Him is foolish and immature.

Yes, the unknown is scary. The responsibilities He could hand me might be overwhelming. I might have to deal with new and frightening obstacles instead of the same old head-banging traps I set for myself.

This afternoon, when I couldn't stand my own thoughts in solitude any longer, I headed outside to soak up some sunshine. I have never understood people who say they use their workout time to talk to God, but today moving my body was what I needed to move my heart. I had put some good music on my iPod and told myself I'd just walk and run if I felt like it.

I ended up walking and running, but my mind wasn't on the task at hand. Ever single line of every single song seemed to speak to me and, yes, I was singing and praising God as I ran.

In the past, I have gotten to this point, felt the fear, and ran. I don't want to run away this time.

If you need to sit down (or take a walk) and think over some things in your own life, I highly recommend this playlist:

"Walk by Faith" by Jeremy Camp
"Let the Waters Rise" by Mikeschair
"Something Beautiful" by Needtobreathe
"Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns
"I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin
"You Are" by Jason Castro
"Healing Hand of God" by Jeremy Camp
"You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman
"Bring the Rain" by MercyMe

*Be JOYFUL in hope, patient in affliction, 
and faithful in prayer.* Romans 12:12

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