Things That Keep You Afloat

She looked like an animal. Wild-eyed, teeth bared.

“She’s controlling me with her mind!” she screamed to the cop. “She’s only seventeen! She’s lying! Her name is Heidi Klum and her mom’s name is Michelle Obama!”

Two days prior, I looked at her and talked to her and knew her.

This day, she was a stranger before my eyes.

911 was called. Emergency personnel came.

“You’re not going to quit, are you?” my coworker asked, obviously seeing emotion on my face and being unable to read it.

No, I’m not quitting. I am more convinced than ever that this work I’m doing is important. To look wild-eyed people in the eyes and not look away or run, but to feel tender-hearted compassion for them? That’s important.

My coworker said she saw paramedics laughing at the scene unfolding before them. Laughing. No, there’s nothing funny about this. This is sad. Not pathetic, but tragic. Sad.

I wished I could fix it. I wished my relationship with her could serve as some sort of flotation device, something to help her silence the crazy in her head. I wished she could lock her eyes on mine and know I’m real and I’m not going anywhere. And maybe her head is full of things about FBI agents and having her brain hacked, but I’m real and I care, and I wished in that moment, somehow, that could matter.

At one point, I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and be like, “Actually, just take us both. Let’s just allllll go to the hospital.”

Victory happens in the choosing.

God isn’t holding out on me.

He is not deaf to the cries of my heart.

I will choose surrender.

And He will bring the victory.

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In Quietness And Trust Is Your Strength

So, I just finished reading Breaking Free by Beth Moore for the second time.

I don’t think the first time I read it, (a number of years ago), I was ready to receive the truth and lessons within its pages. I had written pouty little comments in the margins, which this time around I scribbled out, trying to feel compassion rather than disgust with my younger self, and marveling at the growth that has occurred in me- a maturing that only God could possibly have done.

A scripture that I’ve been meditating on a lot lately is Isaiah 30:15: “In quietness and trust is your strength.” Beth (as I fondly refer to her ;-)) addressed that scripture in her book as well.

She said that often we try to make positive changes in our lives by repenting and powering on ahead in our own strength, but that Isaiah 30:15 is not asking us to “man up”. Instead, it’s telling us that our strength isn’t found in our ability to power through, but in our ability to be quiet and trust.

Because only He is strong enough to carry us through our weakest times, right? We can’t just “be stronger” or deny our weakness. Doing that isn’t the key to victory, but the precursor to defeat.

She then went on to say that the Hebrew word for ‘trust’ in the above verse is ‘bitchah’, which is a word used only once in the Old Testament. It means, “There is nothing more than anyone can do.”

*insert big-eyed emoji here!*

Seriously! Doesn’t it always seem to come back to surrender!? It blows my mind how that theme keeps repeating itself in my life lately!

Beth then says, “Once we’ve obeyed God, we can do nothing more. We then wait on Him to bring the victory, knowing that the consequences of our obedience are His problem and not ours.”

I am NOT in control of anything but choosing to submit to and follow the Lord. Everything else is up to Him.

And even if that feels scary, my life is so much safer in His hands than my own.

So I keep my eyes on Him. And I rest. And I trust. And in that way, our strength is found.

Admittedly, coming to a place of acceptance regarding the things in my life I can’t change has been really, really hard. I’m still struggling daily with that, as I wrote recently, saying that I over and over again have to tell Him I trust Him. And I also have¬†allow the sadness to exist, without letting it become shaped by lies.

At work I have a picture on my wall with a Venn diagram. One circle is labeled: “Things That Matter.” The other circle is labeled: “Things You Can Control.” And the overlapping part is labeled: “Things You Should Focus On.”

Acceptance.

Surrender.

Trust.

Beth also addressed Isaiah 50:10-11. I honestly think that may have been the first time I’ve ever actually read that scripture. Either that or it just stood out to me this time in a way that it hadn’t before.

It says:

“Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: you will lie down in torment.”

Isn’t that essentially saying the same thing? Trust in the Lord! In quietness and trust is your strength.

The Lord is the only true Light to guide our paths.

And if we try to power through on our own strength, we often grasp hold of other things to provide temporary, artificial light.

He is the sun and we settle for a match- a brief, non-illuminating light, which eventually burns us.

Be quiet, He says.

Surrender all control.

You can trust Me.