I can’t tell you how many times I think I know something one minute, and the next I have no idea what I was just thinking of. In some ways its similar to what many of us deal with as we get older, as we become parents, and as life just gets busy. However, this kind of sudden brain disruption goes further than anything I’d experienced prior to a few years ago.
Even when in the middle of doing something intentional, for a few scary seconds I don’t recall what happened minutes prior or what’s supposed to happen in the minutes to come. I find myself suspended in thought while my brain plays catch up. It’s frustrating at best. Whether accurate or not, I call it trauma brain.
At this point, I start asking myself questions and try to remember what’s supposed to happen next. Sometimes this does little to generate movement so I simply choose to move my body. I get up, or start walking or driving. I move forward even when I’m not sure where I’m headed. As I do, the gears in my brain move too and things become a little clearer.
When I get caught up in the minutia of all the foggy particles clogging my brain, I get stuck. Instead, I chose one movement. One step towards one goal.
Sometimes stepping forward in faith is less about achieving great things and more about choosing to look forward rather than dwell in the muck.
Momentum in some direction helps even if it’s potentially the wrong direction. When we are open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can alter course once we’ve started. But staying on the dock doesn’t get me anywhere.
Similarly, when I feel stuck in life, paralyzed by fear or indecision, I choose to take one step forward even if it might be in the wrong direction. As long as it’s not in opposition to God, I can give it a try. In faith.
We hear this phrase often, “walk in faith." I wonder, do we really know what it means?
God often speaks to me in images which help me understand vague concepts at a deeper level. Join me as we imagine standing on the shore. Could be a lake, an ocean, or a river. Whatever water-side image God brings to mind. There you are, standing on the edge. Summoned to cross over. The water is too deep to walk through and you have no boat. Still, you sense this nudge in your spirit to take a step forward.
You wonder how this could happen. Jesus walked on water, but that’s not what he’s asking you to do. Or is it? Unsure of how to cross. Unsure if He’s going to provide for you, or how in the world he possibly could. And unsure of staying above water, the call you hear is either gently nudging, or all out tugging.
So, you lift your leg. At first you just raise it up while your body shakes and tries to stay balanced. Will you move forward? Will you stay like this? Will you set your foot right back where it was?
He beckons you, keep going.
You make the movement of setting your foot upon the water despite unknowns. Just as you set your foot down, a piling raises up. It is sturdy and it provides just the space you need to bear the weight of your body as you lean forward and bring over your other foot.
God reveals what you’ll stand on. The foundation was really there all along, but it took an active movement forward, in faith, to see it and make use of it. By trusting His provision, you are given new visibility. By moving forward with Him, you saw Him provide what you needed, when you needed it.
We often face challenging situations in life where we wish someone could just tell us what to do and how to do it. We look for a path already taken. We want assurance that we will reach the destination ahead of us. When we don't get it, we could stay stuck while hoping something just miraculously changes.
Instead, God works in ways we don’t understand. He asks us to trust and step forward regardless of what we cannot see. He provides what we need, not what we want.
Choose today, to move towards the voice of God. He will set your foot on the rock.
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud & mire; he set my foot on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” ~ Psalm 40:2
CULTIVATE: What is one small step of faith you can take today? You don't need to charge up the whole mountain. Just choose one step. Then another. Then another.
This post was originally written many months ago. Thankfully, my mind isn't as stuck as it used to be, but I'll never forget how scary it would get to not remember where I was going or what I was doing. If you know this too, this kind of forgetting that doesn't just come with age but happens because of extreme stress, would you let me know so I can pray with you?
Sometimes I wish I could stop being me. All the things I don’t like about myself come rushing to mind and I must realize the enemy is active or I’ll get caught in a downward spiral. I bet I’m not the only one.
The enemy and his horde of followers, they are liars and thieves of all that is truly good. We must remember God is more powerful, always at work, and the source of all truth. Not only about life and this world but about who we are and how he sees us.
We choose to listen to the voice of truth about the things we can and should change in order to be more of who God created us to be. We, as ones cultivating a life well-lived, reject the voice which devastates our unique personhood and our ability to reflect Christ.
Even when I feel resolved to accept the way God made me and the ways I need to grow, I also wish I could change my circumstances. In some situations, desperate prayers carried on for years and it’s tempting to believe they fell on deaf ears, as if God would ever be unable to hear or see me. Yet, because things are not as I wish they were, I can get stuck in simply wishing for them to be different.
“God, don’t you get it? Why aren’t you making this happen?!”
It’s easy to get stuck in wishing to be a different person, made a different way, or to be in a situation different than what we are living. When all is not as we want it to be, we must remember what is as it should be and who is as He was and always will be.
Did I lose you there? It’s a tongue twister full of truth.
What is as it should be? God’s never ceasing faithfulness. His mercies which are new every morning. His grace upon grace and strength upon strength available to us as we need it. God’s overarching plan of redemption as our hearts are being reconciled to Christ.
Who is as He was and always will be? God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Always present, never begun, never ending. Savior. Redeemer. Father. Friend. Holy. Almighty. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. King of Kings. Lord of Lords.
The list can go on and on. We have the opportunity to build our list of rememberance and we need it for when life is just not as we wish it would be.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
When our hearts and minds are stuck dwelling on what is not, we must remember to focus on what is and always be. Our God and his ways which remain good.
His words in scripture are timeless and refresh our weary souls so we can live well.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:10-11
Choose to praise God as a reminder to your heart of all the good which lies within and around Him, especially when all around you is not so good.
Choose to praise the lover of your soul, especially when you feel unloved and your soul feels weary and broken.
Choosing to praise is choosing to put our minds on the things which are right rather than the things which are wrong.
This choice isn’t always easy, especially when life is particularly challenging, yet it is always the one choice which brings a soothing where we need it most because our hearts are drawn into the heart of God. No other place is more comforting or able to bring the renewal we desperately long for.
When I find emotions causing such a stir that I want to reject the goodness of God, I need praise all the more.
Praise God for what he has done, in your life and in the lives of others. Praise him for what he will do, choosing to believe it is good in the end. Praise him for his heart which is always towards you. Praise him that he knows better about how to get through tough times and how to stop living stuck. Praise him for his love which transcended heaven and came to us in earthly form. Praise him for the suffering he endured so he could know how to empathize with you in yours.
Praise him because he is worthy to be praised.
CULTIVATE: Do a word search for praise at openbible.info/topics. Write down some of the verses on praise and keep them where they will serve as a frequent reminder to choose praise.
My head hurts and I think a cold is starting to settle in. Actually, it could just be allergies getting the best of me as they tend to do. I went allergy free for a few weeks which was a miracle, but they’re back. Darn it.
I’m sitting here wondering what to write. How to say what I want to say. In the background Young Oceans plays through my headphones. If I let them, tears would start streaming too. It’s been an emotional few weeks and this one was no joke. Up and down and all over the place. Kind of like me at times. Feeling wonderfully optimistic then fighting the pessimism with staunchness as I face both ends of life in different ways.
For three weeks I’ve written a blog post a day - plus. I’ve also managed to write guest posts, newsletters, and attempts towards my first book. It’s all been great practice which I’ve needed and I’m grateful for it. In fact, this write 31 day challenge has been a challenge I needed each year I’ve done it. I’ve felt my writing improve, my voice get clearer, and my confidence stronger.
But, I’m tired. I still have a lot to do in order to get Unleash: Heart & Soul Care sheets released (shooting for Nov 1), blog posts to write, and a proposal to work on.
Feel feel free to pray for me in this. You’re such a wonderful source of encouragement when you do!
In all my talking, writing, and a wide range of reading (scripture, Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie, Justified by Varina Denman, and an advanced reader copy of The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp) I need to find the quiet. I need to hush the inner noise and the outer noise so I can find rest in body and soul.
As you read this, I will be choosing to rest from all the weekly duties and finding time with God as well as revival for my spirit. It’s the way I celebrate Sabbath.
This last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Shelly Miller (a fellow GraceTable contributor & author of Rhythms of Rest). I listened to her share about how her life has changed through partaking in Sabbath as a celebration of our Lord and not as a legalistic time of nothingness. She said something about Sabbath which reframed how I’ll look at it now.
Rather than the Sabbath being a day of rest in order to re-energize for the week, the whole week points to the Sabbath and the Lord of it. Our whole week culminates to a time of reflection and rest.
Could a mind and body find this kind of rest as a celebratory event when the to-do list is a mile long and the pressures of the next week wait for us?
Yes. Indeed, it must. We were never meant to run on fumes with the expectation of doing more than God created us to do. Rather, we were meant to find delight in the one who delights in us.
Our to do lists continue to grow, but is our faith growing as well? If we want to find delight in God, we need to find delight in the Sabbath.
The good news is, we can begin to practice Sabbath delight in moments. We can try it one week, and try again the next. We can incorporate longer periods and new ways of looking forward to this day and the way our hearts become closer to God who loves us.
We don’t have to get it perfect, we just need to look to the one who is perfect.
Rest looks different for each of us and the way we rest may vary from season to season. But rest is essential if we want to find the presence of God in our daily lives. As we do, we not only find him, we learn to enjoy him more.
Even if it's one increment of time and one change of activity today, choose rest.
CULTIVATE: What's one way you could set aside time once a week to cultivate a Sabbath rhythm of rest? If you do already, what does it look like for you?