“Life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic.” (Cesare Pavese)
The past week was a fast-paced, energy intensive, dynamic ride that oscillated between the immediacy of now and the aloofness of the distant past. It was filled with continuous meetings and phone calls related to the perpetual alignment of allies, positioning of and listening to opponents, identification of friends and enemies, while measuring the strength and direction of the wind gusts to gain perspective on a predictable landing strip of the lukewarm and irresolute. There were moments in the days that required enough quickness and acuity to shoot down incoming rounds just to create a limited lane of penetration, a place inside the paint where suppression fire could be laid down in intervals not to exceed three seconds. In this instance, there was an unpredicted shift from visionary strategic governance to tactical survival. Immediately, the Switchfoot questions of, “This is your life. Are you who you want to be? This is your life. Is it everything you’ve dreamed it would be, when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?” This Is Your Life.
The experience required an extensive examination of me against the back drop of my desired transition from transactions to relationships. Initially, I became upset with myself because even though I have worked really hard, I did not do as well as I believe I could have. The experience exposed my root ball and uncovered the core of who I am – a work in progress. God reminded me that He has something bigger in store for me; something much larger that He is grooming me for. In a riveted split second, He whispered, “Relax my child! It didn’t have to be you; it happened to be you that was chosen by Me for this specific and precious mission. I could have selected one of several billion other souls. But I didn’t. I chose you. This is not about the physical realm. Your body is only temporary anyway. This is a spiritual battle. We are talking about eternity here. I have always delivered on my promises and this time will be no different. I must equip you with what you need. Your job right now is to keep your faith. Remember, it makes things possible, not easy or perfect. I am merely taking you through a few dry-runs to illuminate your developmental deficiencies and to hone the skills it will take to conquer modern-day Jericho when it is time. You see, when my children are under stress, they cannot rise to the occasion, but will only revert back to their highest level of training. Your training begins with spending time with Me every day and is practiced by remaining focused on Me throughout the day. No matter what is thrown at you or what hits you, I am there with you and for you. Put a prisoner in a suit and he is still an inmate. I have released you from the cell block of your thoughts that tell you, ‘If I don’t, no one else will’. Walk proudly and fearlessly in your freedom. Your orange jumper is gone. Jump with quickness into my arms and find rest while you are with me. Be still and know that I am God.”
His specific and personal words to me were electrifying. They left me seized, dazed, and speechless. The only option was to bow my head as if nodding to express “yes sir” and to otherwise be still because He is God. Once I gathered my thoughts and wrapped my mind around what just happened, he said, “here I am! I am with you. Go! Do my work, accomplish this mission, and live out your purpose. Remember, you play like you practice.” At that precise moment, I found respite in the divinely arranged encounter with a wonderful, kind-spirited, nurturing gentleman. Even though exhaustion had set in, He pointed out this lovely soul and asked me to throw half of what I had left as light to his feet. I dug deep, and the spirit handed me what was left at the bottom of the tank. He handed me a heart with H.O.N.E.S.T. written across it. God then gently said, “yep. Now be yourself and get it done.” As I began to engage with the brother, the message was revealed to me. I was supposed to have an H.O.N.E.S.T. heart attitude. Be: Humble, Open, Nice, Eager, Strong, and Trusting in this engagement. This is the toe lamp I was called to be.
The brother shared intriguing tidbits about his journey. I could easily relate to many of his experiences in and sentiments about life. Even though he let go of God long ago, we made a connection that created an aura that hope is alive even though life can be a bear. The encounter reminded me of where I was when I started on my journey and made me smile about where He has called me to be today. I smiled because I was able to suspend judgment against my brother as well as against me, my blunders, and unconventional lessons. I was able to accept this as the place He has us now without reasoning about where He may want us next. Sidewalk Prophets says it so well with, “If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever Your will, whatever Your will, can you help me find it? Can you help me find it?” – Help Me Find It. Psalm 121 says, “I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? 2My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. 3He will not let you fall. Your Protector will not fall asleep. 4Israel’s protector does not get tired. He never sleeps. 5The Lord is your Protector. The Lord stands by your side, shading and protecting you. 6The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night. 7The Lord will protect you from every danger. He will protect your soul. 8The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever!” (ERV)
I realize now that my disappointment with myself was from fear that I had lost ground with exploiting these always present, but only recently utilized, relational qualities. Before, life was a tiger that I had caught by the tail with the intention of looking him in the eye before taming and laying him down. Living on the adrenaline of my own energy, I was that self-made woman turned warrior who vanquished the forward deployed obstacles. As Survivor says, “Risin’ up, back on the street. Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance now I’m back on my feet; Just a man and his will to survive. So many times it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory. Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive” – Eye of the Tiger. Now, I am clay in the potter’s hands, being molded as my Maker sees fit. Johnny Diaz gives the current truth with, “There could never be a more beautiful you. Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through. You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do. So there could never be a more beautiful you” – More Beautiful You.
My reflection on the week has me here: I used to be a strong wind that could make a flag stand stiff. He is training me to be the rising tide that raises all things. He has given me His spirit, as my everyday companion, to lead and guide me through the uncertain waters to the other shore. When exhaustion sets in from the battering of the wake of the change, the analgesic of His love and presence sedates my discomfort. As it pleases Him, He may quiet the storm as I make this transition, or not. Regardless, in the storms of my life, whatever they may be, He is there with me. Falling on my knees in worship, giving all I am to seek your face. Lord all I am is yours. My whole life I placed in your hands. God of mercy, humbled I bow down in your presence, at your throne. I call. You answer and you came to my rescue and I want to be where you are. My life be lifted high…” Hillsong United, Came To My Rescue
Thank you Lord for the storms, growth, redemption, presence and change. May I always desire to be clay in Your hands. Mold me as You will.