Yep….I made up a new word. More than thoughts….progressive development of thoughts created by thinking about thoughts. Like it?
So today I’m sitting at the library in Waycross, GA. It seemed as good a place as any to stop and take advantage of power as well as free wi-fi. It’s been a week since I last made an entry; this one is more about me and less about others.
See, I’ve been learning a lot since I hit the road. God speaks to me in all kinds of cool ways through all sorts of neat things. I’d like to share some of them with you.
First off, we look at things not only through a mirror, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, but we only see a teeny little bit of everything going on around as well as within us. For instance, I have some issues. (Yeah, I know – what a shock!) When I look at them, I see what appears to be a massive tree right in front of me. It blocks my view of anything else as well as shutting out the sun, rain, and anything else of positive note. All I can focus on is that silly huge tree blocking my way, with massive branches hanging over my head and threatening to fall on me, destroying who I am.
Well, guess what? That tree isn’t even really there. It’s more of a tumbleweed, really. It’s only part of what makes me who I am, but the reason I see it as being so big is because I’m limited by who I am, what I’ve experienced, and how I see the world. Everything I’ve gone through in my life affects how I view a crisis, challenge, or what I see as a failure. I take things very personally, partly because of how I was raised, but also because of how that upbringing conditioned me to see not only myself, but the world.
See, I grew up being compared to others and always, in my mother’s eyes, falling short of hitting the mark. I wasn’t thin enough, or active enough, or social enough. I had “a pretty face,” but this meant I was fat and needed to lose weight. This isn’t intended as a criticism of my mom, but an explanation of why I am who I am and the reasons I struggle with accepting my existence, weaknesses and strengths without feeling the need to justify everything or tear apart every failure. I’m great at criticizing myself, but not so good at accepting that I’m good or deserve anything positive.
Even though I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus at a relatively young age (14), I struggled then and continue to wrestle now with accepting His love towards me just the way I am. I can never seem to feel like I quite hit the mark. I make silly mistakes, jump off into deep water seemingly without thinking, and I can’t keep my mouth shut. I have no filter and very little in the way of tact. This causes crises that further reinforce my sensation of undeservedness and fuels my feelings of insufficiency. It hasn’t caused me to lose my faith; in fact, it has given me reason to cling even more desperately to the Father like His love is a life raft and I’m in the eye of a hurricane. Without my faith, I’d be dead. No doubt. However, this whole mess colors how I look at myself and my life both in general and in day-to-day situations.
I think we all suffer with this tunnel vision to some extent…..some of us more than others. I know people who appear to breeze through life without a trial, tribulation, or loss of anything that appears significant. They have good jobs, nice houses, and their kids are successful as well. However, what we see on the surface is only the visible. Who knows what they deal with inside their own heads? Do they doubt themselves as much as I do? Do they accept the love of God without fear? Do they beat themselves up every time they make a mistake? What about the pressure to keep up with the income, the possessions, the reputation? Do they ever want to do what I just did — sell everything and move into a van?
Anywho….to get on with my point…..when I was out west for my first frantic trip, I saw lots of cool stuff. One thing God used to speak to me was the desert. It looks kinda dry and barren, but things still live and even flourish there. Cacti absorb water when it rains to feed themselves and a wide assortment of wildlife in the dry season. Insects burrow into the sand in the heat of the day and come out at night. In the spring, there are flowers and fresh growth shows up everywhere. Lavender grows wild on the roadsides, adding a gentle beauty to the sand and scrub brush. What looks kinda desolate is actually teeming with life of a different sort — the kind that grows, propagates, and brings beauty to the environment around it.
So why do we complain when we find ourselves in the desert? Instead of bemoaning the lack of surroundings we’re used to, could we look instead for the hidden blessings and opportunities for growth? Could we garner something positive and develop our characters so when we were in seasons of drought, we’d still have resources to draw on? Could we become people who never stop looking to learn, reaching for the positive and the possible?
It’s the same with the northern climates…..yeah, snow is cold and wet and hampers movement and it can be as dangerous as the desert. However, its purpose is plain. It allows perennial plants to go dormant, preparing for the next season of growth. It provides moisture for forests and fields, enabling all kinds of life to be sustained. It even gives people the opportunity to rest inside by a fire, enjoy a day of skiing or sledding, and have some down time with a cup of hot chocolate while relaxing alone or with loved ones. John 12:24 says a seed has to fall to the ground and die before bursting into life; are humans the same way? Sometimes we need a period of rest and just being still before moving on to the next thing. We don’t always need to be doing things. It’s okay to sit at Jesus’ feet and just be.
So anyhow, those are the beginnings of my rambling thoughts. I hope maybe they make sense to someone and even possibly bring a blessing to another pilgrim struggling, like me, to make some kind of sense of life….or just to live and enjoy it and stop trying to figure everything out…..
because, yanno, we can’t. Only God can.