Proverbs 16:18 The Message (MSG)
My hope was to share in rapturous joy about all that the Lord is doing in my life. He has been busy working in, through, and around me there is much to share. I knew it would be a daunting task to try and put it all into words- and even more importantly, words that would reflect Him and not me. (There is a post I wrote but did not previously share here. It was a rough draft that I forgot about and gives some understanding about the present.)
However, before I could even utter the words or type the phrases, I find myself feeling heavy with physical weariness, emotional strain, and a balancing act that feels like it will fall at any moment.
I would not hesitate to say that along this crazy journey at each place of potential pride, each step and area that I would love to claim any control or credit, the Lord has been swift and resolute in dealing with before it has a chance to even sink in; and for that I am grateful.
Today, my balancing act was finally tipped by an email. It was a simple email with my head-shot for our office. I sat for this head-shot a few weeks ago. I planned the outfit, took extra time on my hair and even did my makeup. I had a lot of fun posing and reposing, riding the wave of excitement of someone taking delight in me, having my picture taken, imagining it on the website with my co-workers, giving me a sense of belonging. When I opened the email attachment, it was much like Ralphie in A Christmas Story- going through presents with expectation of what he had envisioned only to be left feeling empty even though he had received plenty. I have a pretty picture. It is not the picture I imagined. It is not better than I imagined. And at that moment, something inside of me snapped. At a very basic level of pride, a very young and insecure version of myself- I would say middle school era- began to react. Out of all things I have experienced over the last few months, this would seem odd to be the catalyst for such immature behavior. For all that I have seen and experienced of the Lord, to allow this seemingly insignificant digital portrayal to effect me in such an overwhelming way was embarrassing. So, of course, I ran to the bathroom to huddle and let myself cry.
For the last few days, it is as if the Lord has been pointing out these areas with which I did not know I struggled so much. Feeling a bit worn thin already, I invited him to continue to speak to those areas, continue to break what needs to be broken, and to continue to use me. It has been in these places of weakness he has been able to speak clearly, that I have been able to hear him.
Just last night I was talking with a couple of girls about the difficulty of living out a life of faith- the fear of claiming something that may not come true, the struggle between responsibility and faith, the inability of this generation/ourselves to handle anxiety and struggles… and how these struggles are linked to self-worth and how we look to others and things to define for us our worth. It seems too simple to say something like, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). I think one of the most beautiful attributes about children is their ability to have a child-like-faith. I find myself jealous of this. It is a simple idea, and children, in their simple understanding of the world and the Lord, have a better grasp of this than most adults. Children are constantly in a state of dependence, not something we as adults have the luxury of experiencing (and when we do, we/I most often experience guilt or a feeling that the reliance needs to be repaid).
But what would happen if that simple idea were true? What if we would “simply” “cast our cares on him?” What if it was actually simple? What would that say about our worth? If we would be able to give our concerns to the Lord and trust that he is who he says he is and that he loves us the way he says he loves us, our worth would no longer be dependent on the ever shifting circumstances around us. It would mean all of the effort put in to create or preserve our worth, our pride, our accomplishments, our accolades would no longer be attributed to ourselves. Allowing the Lord to take control of our worry means allowing the Lord to take the credit for the result as well- the “peace that surpasses all understanding,” (Phil. 4:7).
There is a bit of pride to let go of here. Hopefully before there’s a crash.