I felt compelled to take a week off from my series on my depression to write through what I am currently learning and thinking about.
My time at the Love Life conference was great, so many great speakers and the worship was amazing. I do not particularly love huge crowds and 22,000 women leaving at once to return to their hotels was mass chaos, but other than that, it was a great experience.
Coming home and straight away dealing with depression seemed odd to me, but I really should stop being surprised. I have begun to notice that every time I get home from trips, even just an over night trip, it throws me off and I am all over the place emotionally. Until I get back into the groove I feel unstable. Every single time I think "what is this? why do I feel like this?" How many times am I going to have to go through it in order to start anticipating it, I am a slow learner apparently.
During the conference I had a beautiful time with the Lord, asking Him for more, asking Him to break more chains in my life, wanting to submit to Him in all areas of my life. In my minds eye I pictured Him on His throne and I was putting my crowns at His feet. In essence saying "here is everything I am, all my dreams and gifts and talents and hopes and dreams. Everything I am or have, here it is, for your worship. I felt like He told me He was proud of me. I so want Him to be proud of me, I so want to do what He wants, and I so struggle with accepting that from Him.
I have only recently remembered that in the last session Joyce said to give God all we are, and especially all we are not. We don't like focusing on what we aren't, on our weaknesses, on all we still lack, but they are always right there, mocking us just under the surface. Perhaps that is why I have a hard time accepting that He could be proud of me. If anyone knows all my shortcomings, certainly it's Him, He sees it all. What does it mean to give Him everything I am not? What does it mean to give Him all my struggles and failures and pride and disappointments?
Another huge part of the weekend was Beth's talk about asking questions of the Lord and letting Him ask questions of us. With the risk of laying it all out on the table for anyone to see, I want to share my answers to the questions she challenged us to let Him ask us. I answered these after those moments with Him in worship. After I was contacted on Instagram by the Joyce Meyer team to come for special seating with their social media team for which I felt immense gratitude for. (More on that in a minute)
Where are you?
I am at your feet Lord. I want more of you and not just your blessings. You've been through some of my darkest and most hopeless days. You have given me beauty for ashes. I will wait here for your next instructions, for your love and for the laying down of myself. Please accept my tears to wash your feet. They must be really clean by now!
Who told you that?
"You can't do that"-no degree, no connections, no position. Did God tell me these things? No, rather He said "Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night and then you will be prosperous and successful wherever you go. Be strong and courageous.
What are you seeking?
More of you, more understanding of your glory that I will respond to you as I should. More power, more victory, more healing, more influence, more people who "see" me, who can pray for me, speak into my life, believe in me.
Why are you afraid?
I am afraid of being disappointed. I am afraid you will say no and I won't understand. But then...I will get up and will walk on and I'll trust you again. Help me not be afraid Lord, that even your no's are what is best for me.
How much more?
Take me there, Lord. Help me be brave. He me to fight, fight for me and with me. Whatever there is, I want it all and I want to be used to help others want the more too.
There are just some times when you know that the Lord is working and doing things but you can not seem to get a grasp on what they are. I know I continue to ask Him to remove roots from my heart and soul. Things that I believe about myself, things that return to drag me back into the darkness when I am weak and tired. But you can't really let Him address those things unless you let Him reveal it to you, and that, most times, are painful.
If you know me at all, you know how much I love Beth Moore. Now to be fair she is not the only teacher I listen to, I listen to many different teachers in order to get a balanced view of God's word and His body, but Beth is my favorite. For some reason I got it stuck in my head ever since I bought my ticket for the conference back in March that I might be able to meet her. Even writing it seems so silly, I feel stupid for even admitting it, like I am some weird fan girl or something. I prayed so many times that God would allow me to meet her. I just wanted to tell her how much she had meant in my growth with the Lord and take a picture. And I also knew that if this didn't happen it wouldn't be a big deal, she is busy...but then...
When the social media team contacted me out of the clear blue, I just assumed this was the way God was going to answer that prayer. It was more of this intimacy thing with the Lord, like He knows how much this means to me and He is answering this prayer. Maybe in some way it represented to me the years I have brought requests before Him of the dreams I have and desires deep in my heart that only He really knows about, only He knows the true treasure they are to me, and this was Him answering me. I cried and cried, this was Him blessing me and acknowledging my faith, I thought.
But it all didn't turn out the way I was asuuming, although the experience was amazing and I was so thankful for it, all that other stuff, nope. And as I scrolled through the hashtag from the conference I would see that people were able to meet her at her table, in the airport, just randomly. If He could do it for them, allow it for them, why couldn't He do it for me? Again, writing this seems so ridiculous, but not to address the pain behind it I had with the Lord would just be inauthentic. Because, again, how stupid could I have been? What a stupid thing to pray. What a stupid thing to believe for. And immediately that transferred over to every other part of my life. And a whole bunch other questions then presented themselves.
What if everything that you think God has called you to is a lie? What if everything you think He is directing you toward is way off? What if you are wasting your time and your heart and your faith, all for nothing? What an idiot. You are not safe with these things. Don't you dare trust your heart, what a fool. And I took the bait, hook, line and sinker.
And there at the bottom of that line of thinking is another root, a root I believe and operate out of, "unwanted". Because, I figured, if God wanted any of this stuff for me, then He would be opening doors, showing me the path, doing what God does. So, if He is not doing it, then it must mean I need to let go, it isn't what He wants, I am delusional sad sad girl. The realization that I have put so much weight in assuming I know what God wants to do in my life and the humiliation of being wrong literally feels like my heart breaking. And not just humiliation but still feeling in some way that I am not wanted for that dream by God and that feeling of rejection from Him. I know it's a root because the way He is pushing on it hurts so bad. The same root that makes me push people away or keep them at arms distance, because I am not good enough to be accepted by them. That I believe somehow that I will not be enough or even worse, way too much, and that rejection is just sometimes not worth the intimacy. At least that is what I tell myself.
Where is the line between fighting for what your heart longs for and believing truth about yourself the realization that maybe I am holding onto the call or the dream more than Jesus wants me to? Where is the place where every part of us is safe with Him? Even this great fear I have of being rejected from what I think I want most. When it all boils down I believe what I answered in those questions is really what my heart wants, to trust Him with it all. To want Him more than I want a call or a dream or purpose and to let Him shape that, even if it never ever looks anything like I want it to right now.
I can't help but think of Abraham having to sacrifice Isaac. The promise could never replace the promise maker, the promise giver. Abraham didn't know what was going to happen on that mountain, all He knew was that this son who had filled his hearts longing was here, after all that waiting. Following God into the giving up of everything that we hold dear to our hearts is admitting our love of that thing, more than Him. Perhaps nothing can be truly trusted to be handled in our hands until God knows we do not love that thing more than Him. That we love Him more than the things we are praying for. That we can stand before Him raw and spiritually naked and scream, "I am afraid of being rejected. I am afraid I will never be good enough. I am afraid that I want purpose more than you, and I don't know how to let it go. I am afraid of being so disappointed with you that I don't know how to move forward. I am afraid of how bad these things hurt,of being tired and not knowing how to keep fighting. I am afraid that I will never overcome all these fleshy things that I want to just ignore. I'm afraid I really am the weird girl. I am afraid of being wrong and I am so afraid that my life really isn't that special, not the way I want it to be special. All these things, these dark questions that sit at the bottom of my frustration, I tend to want to keep them and work on them when I feel strong and hope they disappear. Instead I think He is asking me for them. All those fears, their darkness, their shame, their brokenness, they can't be trusted in me, but they can be trusted with Him. He wants it all, not just the pretty and organized. Because, even though its hard for me to accept, He loves the parts of me that are yet to be redeemed, the parts of me I try and ignore, the parts of me that are deeply wounded but that I make choices out of every day, the parts I acknowledge and the parts I don't.
I want more intimacy with Him, but how can I be closer to Him if there are still parts of me that I am ashamed of. Those parts that I feel are unworthy or too trivial to bring before Him. He can be trusted with me completely falling apart. To feel safe to be real with all of it, holding nothing back, even when I know He knows it all. When He asks the man who needs healing "what do you want?" surely He knew exactly what He wanted, but He wants our participation. He wants us to enter in, to recognize our need, to admit it. Maybe the truth is, I don't trust Him as much as I wish I did, but I want to. I don't know why He says no, but perhaps it is what happens between us and where we stand with Him again when He asks us to trust Him, again.
As Beth said "Asking why is not about getting an answer but the right to ask the question". Letting go of what I want Him to do for me or through me and letting it be Him, and only Him.