I'm busy reading a book by Julia Cameron called "The right to write". I like scribbling down ideas that "speak" to me in terms of where I am or what I'm experiencing in my own life.
As I was busy doing the scribbling-down-thingie a few days ago I suddenly realised that what Julia is saying about writing is also without doubt true of my relationship with my heavenly Father.
This is what I wrote down:
"Wherever you are is the entry point" - Kabir
"Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start some higher place. Start right where you are" - Julia Cameron We, as Brad from "the God journey" puts it, are allowed (thanks to Jesus) to bring all our garbage and all of who we are into God's presence and it is there where He then,with love and grace,helps us to sortthrough it all - the good, the bad and the ugly
I've started believing and doing that 17 years ago and that, for me, has made all the difference
A while back I (again) read the storyof Martha doing, and Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. But this time a question popped up: "Do you not think that Mary would have jumped up to do whatever Jesus asked her to do the moment He asked her to do it?" And I knew that she would have. She loved Him. She would have done anything for Him. And she would have done it with joy (unlike Martha complaining about all the things that she "had to do").
I ended my quiet time that morning with the prayer: "I want to stay a Mary, one that sits at your feet, living loved but ever ready to follow where you lead"
The next morning, in that space between sleep and waking up, another question was planted. I knew that it was linked to Martha and Mary. In the dark I quickly wrote the question down at the back of my journal and then went back to sleep.
A week later, not feeling on top of the world, I asked God to shine His light and truth into the dark places and reveal to me the secrets of my troubled heart. Without thinking about it, I turned to the back of my journal. And there was the question that I wrote down in the dark, a week ago...
"Can you just enjoy being around God, without wanting to DO something FOR HIM?"
...and at the moment of reading this I realised that this was also the thought that was going through my mind just as I was turning to the back of my journal. (The Spirit wanted to make sure I get this one)
Can I just enjoy being around God without wanting to do something for Him? I had to answer no. That was exactly my struggle. I was in a space of not being able to just BE with Him. Because I was ever ready to do, I wasn't enjoying the relationship. I turned into a Marthy (And a bunch of the being-ever-ready was about me but I will share more about that in another blog posting) I just prayed that God will again bring me to a place where I am not focused on what I can do for Him, but where I'm able toJUST BE with Him...
This blog thing is hard for me in so many ways and I think ...no, I know that God is using it to squeeze the orange. Let me clarify.
Someone once got my attention with this. He asked the question: What comes out when you squeeze an orange. The obvious answer is orange juice. He then went on to state that whatever is on the inside comes out when pressured or squeezed
...and I am being squeezed by this simple thing of starting a blog. What's on the inside, is coming out. And not all of it is sweet. But as the not-so-sweet juice is coming out, God is so gently dealing with it while guiding me to more freedom in Him.
I think I will probably be sharing about this in the weeks to come.
Any one else being squeezed by the situation you are in?
No, it's not me that went to India. It's someone, somewhere in the world who wrote an email about her trip to India to someone else somewhere in the world and this someone passed the email on to someone else and that someone else passed it on to another someone else and eventually it reached my inbox. And I want to pass it on to you. Why? Because it is such a great example of that which God was showing me yesterday about being a witness
Isaiah 43: 10 - 12
"You are my witnesses", declared the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you mayknowandbelieve me and understandthat I am he. Before me no god was formed nor will there be one after me I, even I, am the Lord and apart from me there is no savior I have revealed and saved and proclaimed I, and not some foreign God among you
You are my witnesses, declares the Lord
that I am God
So here is the girl-who-went-to-India's testimony about a living, relational God meeting her in her mess ...
"So I went to India and thought I was going to help people, learn the language, travel, come back and sound super cool. Then nothing worked out like I thought, nothing. Before I left I was almost at the point of giving up my faith, feeling like there was no relationship. All I knew was that I couldn't look around at the world and think that this all just happened by chance, and Jesus made sense to me. But I didn't understand his love. A week into India I was so p*&% off, sitting on the roof, so angry that this isn't what I wanted ... thinking that I spend 1500 dollars to sit in a house on the other side of the world. And then, it's like God spoke, in a way - not audibly, just a feeling, I guess - that he brought me there to know his love, freedom and relationship. All these things I was praying for, for a while - I took that semester off to do that but I ignored him again - and He showed me in that moment that He will always pursue me. He will take me across the world to just be alone with Him. Away from all these distractions, make everything I knew disappear, take even language away from me. When I read through my journal, it's like the psalms. I learned how to let God know that I am mad. And bitter. And I would yell and cry, and read and not understand. Then He would reveal to me, at the height of my madness, of my confusion, that HE only would reveal, proving that HE only can. And it was supernatural. Every time it got into me more and more - His truth. It was the beginning of the foundation I felt I had always missed, the foundation of His love. It totally nullified all the ways I had been taught in church, all the trying, all the guilt. I learned that it wasn't about me controlling things and it was beautiful. I was starting to learn who He really was/is, who He knows Himself to be, not how I knew Him to be. And my heart changed ...it changed cause I was honest and I let go of my agenda, but I didn't pretend that I wasn't mad about it. But it's a fight. Mostly, I realized I was a mess. I mean, I already knew that, but the most important part was missing. The ending of that is in Romans ... who's going to save me from the mess that I am? How will I be made new? A mess can't save a mess, right? Right. So who can? Thanks be to God, the Lord Jesus Christ!!! He's the One! So, I'm a mess, and I was never supposed to fix myself. I know I suck at it anyway, but before I thought I just failed because I couln't fix myself. And, I would always have this idea in my head that I would feel differently in another place more fitting to me. I was so bored for such a long time, and discontent. Nothing was going really wrong in my life, circumstantially, but nothing felt worth any kind of push ... I just didn't understand what life was for a while pretending to understand. I felt so plasticky ... it was gross ... ugh, it grossed me out. And I couldn't do it. But, it was no different in India at first. The only time it changed was when He changed my heart. When I felt like FINALLY this relationship was a real thing. So, really, it was the beginning. And not any kind of beginning I'd ever imagined. But I really believe that if I did everything I wanted to do ... work at an orphanage, help a lot of people, see a lot of places ... I would be just as restless, just as plasticky, just as much discontentment. The Lord wants you solely, first before any desire to use you for others. And if we don't feel that, any work, any effort is just that - work that is only work, effort that is only effort ... all about us us us, even though we're pretending it's about Him Him Him. But He calls everyone (I really believe) that He wants to use, into a place of truly knowing Him ... and what that means is a knowledge of Love, since that is who He is"
This is witnessing - testifying about a personal encounter with a living, loving God!
Remember what I said in the first posting? That my stuggle now is to keep resting in His love while making my life available to others in this way? To not be on a mission to do for God? What the girl-who-went-to-India said in the last paragraph about
the Lord wanting you and me solely, first before any desire to use us for others
is exactly what He has been saying to me from even before the struggle in me started. His desire is for me!
"I belong to my lover and His desire is for me" - Song of Songs 7:10
And from that position of knowing and being in relationship with the God of love, theoverflowto others always follows. A
I've been thinking about starting a blog since the end of last year, but did not act on it. I just did not have faith that it was something that God wanted me to do. I've learned (and especially through the last year) that when I listen to and follow His plans and purposesfor me and others, what I do, then bears fruit. We can be very busy but not achieving much through this busyness. I didn't want to waste time. And in any case there are probably hundreds of other blogs and bloggers which and who are saying the same things that I want to say and also in a more captivating way. But the idea kept hovering around and "just for fun" I registered a blog and played around with a few templates. Then, not long ago, a trusted friend who did not know what I was contemplating, forwarded the following devotional from the work of Henri Nouwen
Making our lives available to Others
One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this:"I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to." This however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and others. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.
Hmm... This spoke right into my heart. This was not the only thing that brought me to faith though. There were words and encouragements and circumstances along the way that slowly increased my faith to do this but this was my point of clarity (as a friend likes to say). So let the blogging begins. The struggle for now is to keep resting in Him and His love while making my life available to others in this way. But more about that later ...