Where have I been? Well, everytime I feel like I really have this whole thing (life) figured out I am immediately and squarely slapped and awakened from that delusion.
My thoughts have been consumed lately with frustration. Frustration with someone I love so very deeply. That has been compounded because I felt that God is not offering the guidance I need (of course I really mean the guidance the other person needs). I keep dwelling in that frustration and the real thought, when all the niceites are peeled away, is Lord please change them. Make them more of what I need.
I have not been able to figure out where I am going wrong and why I can't seem to find my way out of this maze of emotions. Until right now, 3:30 am. I have prayed and asked for guidance, and I believe I have indeed received it. Praise be to God. I know it is the Holy Spirit because so often my understandings or answers to prayers come in this way, in the middle of the night. Maybe it's because in that quiet still, (my sleep) it's the first moment God has a minute to get a word in edgewise? Maybe it's the first moment my thoughts are released and I am not so hellbent on believing I have bits and pieces of this figured out already? I don't know, but many time throughout many battles in my life the Holy Spirit has come to me in this way, in the quiet and the darkness of the night and guided my soul into the light of the morning with the scriptures.
So what has the Holy Spirit said to me? I am up, reading scriptures, praying and writing as I try to make sense of ALL that I know has been re-revealed to me this night, this morning.
I should share that I tried to go back to sleep when this began. I thought, "Oh that's a nice thought, I should really think about that more tomorrow" But I couldn't sleep. I had to go to the bathroom. I did. Still couldn't sleep. Then I was thristy. Got a drink, still couldn't sleep. Finally I realized that my guardians were not about to allow me to sleep through this moment. So before they gave me cravings for bacon and eggs I submitted and here I am.
This was the vision, or image if you will that woke me and began this, it was a doorstep a threshhold, and a door. It symbolized a visitor, a guest, an entry, a beginning. My frustration is on the other side of the door. Each time this emotion, this instance, this same battle presents itself, it is there waiting at the threshhold to be invited in. And each time I welcome it with open arms into my home, into my life, into my heart, into my peace, into my family. (Now the imagery of thresholds, as it applies to marriage, and being carried over them is fascinating but will be left for another night)
That visitor is small, and unassuming but that visitor is destruction. Like a termite or a single cancer cell that goes about wreaking havoc on what is good and healthy and strong, I invite in the destruction and allow it to make itself at home. It may seem mellow dramatic, but when I trace back all that goes wrong in a moment, a week, a weekend, or even a year, it goes back to allowing that unholy visitor or visitors, into my life.
So I ask in my prayer how can I can I recognize it, how can I know that it is destruction calling? How will I know not to let it in? It is actually simple. Through the honest examination of me.
The doorway is in my very heart. When life, or some person does something it is simply a knock at the door of my compassion. It is a caller needing/waiting/challenging the Christ within me. But instead of meeting the caller with the compassion of Christ which would prevent the destruction from stepping foot into my heart and home, I push Christ aside and choose to face it myself. In my own arrogance I stand unarmed, incapable, of facing this intruder. I am not as acquainted with the enemy (the enemy being evil and all that radiates from him) as Christ is. Christ not only recognizes him immediately in whatever his disguise, but He has defeated him!! he has conquered him. Yet I push Him aside to greet the intruder and because I do not recoginze the destruction or think I can handle it, so I invite him in. Then I set about being upset with the ones I love and with Christ for not giving me peace, joy, and fixing all my woes. It seems fairly foolish now that I see it.
This would be a simple fix if the destruction rang the door bell and announced itself like the Avon lady, "good evening, destruction calling, may I come in?" But the enemy, the master of lies would never be so forthright. Oh no! The voice I let in says, " You are right to be angry, you are right and they are wrong." Now that is something I can embrace, come on in! That thought leads to righteous indignation, and to a battle, an argument, saying things that shouldn't be said, bringing up the past, and on and on. buh bye peace, hellooo frustration.
Sometimes the caller says things that go something like, "Well are you just gonna lay down and be walked on?" " Have you no standards for how you will allow yourself to be treated?" " Where is your pride?" " You don't deserve this."
By the standards of the world all those things would be valid questions to ask. Maybe it's why they feel so natural, because I have made myself a little too at home here. But my true home is a heavenly home with my Father, and He calls me to this-
"Love is patient;love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. it does not insist on it's own way;It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Cor 13:4-8
He doesn't say love is patient when you are right, or be rude when the person has it coming. He doesn't say insist on your own way if you are reallly, really sure and your friends agree, that you are right. It does not say sometimes it's okay to be irritable. It doesn't say hope a little, endure a little...you get the idea.
As I meditate on those few passages, I am shamed. I am ashamed to my very core. That is a commandment that I break every day of my life. Everyday. A dozen times a day.
Everyday God gives me opportunities to practice this thing He calls me to. He allows the enemy to knock on my door. I can get out of the way and let the love of Christ within me, the love that IS fully capapble of being patient, kind, and enduring all things answer or I can answer with my puny bag of useless tricks and manage as best as I can. Is it any wonder that this isn't working? Really? Should I be surprised?
Now if I fail on this simple task all day, everyday, how dare I be indignant at the failures and shortcomings of others? Who am I to throw stones really? Are they wrong? Maybe. But am I so arrogant to think I can change them or worse that Christ can't? That somehow I need to get in there and tell them like it is and THEN, oh then they will see the light. Hmmm, how's that workin' ?
When I do step back to consider the shortcomings in others, which to do so I see now is to indulge in utter arrogance, but this is where the Holy Spirit has led me so stay with me here...
When i do step back and look for a moment. What part of the whole do I even really know? I see how this person affects me and my life. But maybe just maybe, the part I see is only the top of an ant hill. The real context, the real work, the real turmoil is buried deep beneath the surface. It is beyond my understanding, my ability to repair, MY capacity to love. But it is not beyond Christ's. And that love lives within me, if I would only call on it, call on Him.
We all have a cross to bear, a brokencontraption to drive through this life. We live in a fallen world. I don't, no, I can't even begin to know what someone else's true cross is. I only see the product of it, the top of the ant hill. I pray for them but only for what they can change that will make me feel better and not for the deep sorrow or struggle that only Christ knows.
If whatever action, word, behavior, or injustice is committed against me (real or imagined) were committed say because the person had a brain tumor and their consciousness was altered, would I be angry? If I were I would get over it fairly quickly because they can't do any better, they can't help it. If they had an illness would I truly hold their feet to the fire for words or actions that sting? No.
Yet I do so everyday when I have absolutely no understanding of what their true, deep struggle is, what demon, what illness, what caller of their own they are battling. How deflated my arguments and protestations seem in that light.
But what about boundaries, does that mean live with and endure anything, be tolerant without limits? Yes and no. Yes in that I don't have to allow these moments to turn my heart cold. I don't have to lose sight of love, patience, and kindness. But no in that I do not have to entertain the enemy someone else lets in through their doorway into my life. I can excuse myself. I can go to another place, a room, a house, a park, whatever. I can choose not to engage in the battle. I can have a boundary that isn't enforced by anger and force but by love and prayer.
I wonder what would happen if when someone hurt us we immediately dropped then and there to our knees and prayed for them and for ourselves for comfort? What on earth would they think?? Would it defuse the situation or inflame it? If it weren't done to shock or shut up the other person, but sincerely to prayerfully consider how to proceed in the next sentence, would it help both parties recognize that the enemy is knocking?
I have a heart filled with hope this morning. It's now 5 am, the sun is coming up soon, and I am going to make some coffee, and make my husband some breakfast. I have scratched or plunked all this out on this but the real work has not begun. I must pray on all that has been revealed to me. I believe I could pray without ceasing on this tiny little portion of the scripture and revelation until I die and not fully grasp all Christ has for me to learn.
I share this with you that you might know the struggles of my heart and because I felt called to do so. Maybe this is meant for you in some small way. If it is, I ask that you not rest on my interpretations or understandings but prayerfully discern them and call upon the Holy Spirit to guide you to the truth Christ has for you.
Blessings in Christ