Why is anything so tough? 

Because you said yes to anything once before and it turned into a Grimm's Brother story and you decided that God wasn't good and you spent the last 4 years wrestling with that...

Oh yeah... 

This is part of the conversation I had with myself the other night as I was rereading Jennie Allen's book Anything

You see 4 years ago I told God I was abandoning my plans and that his will be done.  It was a scary and exciting time.  God moved in ways I could never imagined.  It was fun to watch him show up and to see his creative side.  But in one fateful week that excitement turned to pain as my greatest fears came to pass.  They were more painful then I could ever have imagined.  It was a dark season that lead to 4 years of dark wrestling with God.  

When I said yes to Jesus I was very well aware that it was not going to be easy.  That it was going to be hard and that difficult things would not just magically disappear.  But I was not prepared for the isolation and abandonment I felt when some of my worst fears materialized themselves overnight.  The pivotal moment for me was disembarking that plane in my home town where I had no Christian community.  I grabbed a hold of the reigns effectively saying "if you can't handle this, I will."

"Every sin at its root, is based in something we do not fully believe about God."  
-Jennie Allen

For me the root of this battle was that I did not believe that God was good.  Finally this June God came in and removed all the bad roots replacing them with roots of truth.  Shortly afterwards God called me once again to anything.  And I said yes.  And it's scary because I know that he could send me into some dark dark places.  
If he does... he is good and not. 
If he does... I will wait and not run.
If he does... I will say anything and not take back the reigns.
If he does... I will read this letter that I wrote to my past self.

"The only exercise that works 100 percent of the time to draw one close to the real God is riske... To risk is to willingly place your life in the hand of an unseen God and an unknown future, then to watch him come through.  He starts to get real when you live like that."
-Jennie Allen

Lesson at the Pump

I am notoriously introverted independent. Before Amazon I rarely bought anything, because well that would involve interacting with *gasp* people.  This often results in me pretending that I know how to do things.  Well the past few weeks I have been driving around with my window precariously placed sideways in my door.  With the weather report forecasting 3 days of rain and me being tired of fastening a poncho over my door every time I exit my vehicle I decided something needed to be done.

According to my Google research if I could get my window up into place I could use suction cups along the bottom to hold the window in an upright position and prevent it from sliding back down into my door.  So early one morning I grabbed my tool kit, pulled up a Wikipedia article on removing door panels, and headed to my car in my maxi dress.  Before I knew it the panel lay in pieces on the ground and I had a collection of screws of various sizes.  The window had popped out of its grooves during the process, but finally an hour and lots of oil later it finally slid into place.  At this point I started to panic as I had a lunch that I needed to leave for stat.  Knowing that I had a time limit I had neglected to label or organize the screws as I removed them.  I threw the panel into place and started screwing screws into any opening I could find until I had no screw lefts and a very wobbly door panel attached. 

As I drove off I hoped that my temporary fix was enough to hold the window in place for at least a couple months.  My lunch was in the next state over and I was thrilled as this state allows you to pump your own gas (my current state does not and I miss pumping my own gas terribly!).  I merged onto the highway when my gas light began to ding.  Being set on pumping my own gas I flew down the road pray-hoping that I wouldn't run out of gas before arriving in the next state.  Not to mention I was late for my lunch!  

Finally I coasted on fumes into the gas station.  I rushed to exit my car but before I could even get one foot out the owner of the gas station came running over grabbed my car and said "here I'll do it for you!"  And my eyes immediately filled with tears (a combination of the stress of the last week and the disappointment of not being able to pump my own gas).  As we waited for the gas the owner poured truth and encouragement into my life.

As I drove away I laughed as this disappointment was an answer to prayer.  My current life season has a serious lack of community to put it lightly.  Inevitably my conversations with God always circle back to God I have to do everything myself can I get a hand once in a while... please?  And I realized that in this season that hand is the men that pump my gas every week.  And as much as I complain about not being able to pump my own gas I appreciate these men and our conversations each week.  Often times its the deepest adult conversation I have all week (critical to the soul of this INFJ).  Not to mention I am often the talk of the station as my car sometimes rolls away by itself.  My window is always broken.  And I am sure they love to tell the story of the one time I pulled up with blood spewing all over my car and the only cash I had...  

You see I want help... but I also want to be in control.  I want to be independent with all the benefits of dependency.  But I can't have both.  It won't work.  They are two separate masters.  I've been trying to play both sides for a long time and the time has come for me to choose.  And it boils down to this... will I serve myself or will I serve God?

Hello Victorious One

Hello Victorious One,

You've been waiting for God to move in a big way, to come in and change your life in a mighty and glorious way.  Guess what.  He's going to!  

But... it is not going to look at all like you are expecting.  In fact it's going to look like the total opposite of what you have been waiting for.  A dark night of the soul.  A dark dark dark dark dark night of the soul.

Don't fight it.  Embrace it.  Dig into the word.  When you don't feel like reading the word... read it.  When you get so mad you no longer believe... tell people. 

Yes you are in the middle of the dessert, but look there behind you is a flower.  Fix your eyes on that flower.  Hold onto truth.

Lamentations 3:25 says "The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."  

Memorize this verse.  Write it on your mirror.  Put it on your walls.  Carry it in your pocket.  

The Lord IS good.  It's who he is. (You are going to hate this song the first time you hear it, but the truth will seep in and soon you won't be able to stop singing it).

Wait for him.  "Not passive, listless sitting, but faithful serving until God acts." 
-ESV Study Bible

Seek him.  Not seek his blessings.  Not seek his gifts.  Not seek your dreams.  Seek him.

At the exact right time he's going to come in and do a complete renovation of your heart and mind.  He will weed out the bad roots and nourish the good roots.  A river will flow through the desert.  And he will give you a freedom unlike anything you've ever experienced.  Remember him in ALL you do.  And you will be given new life and a new song to sing.


Your Future Self 

I recently came out of a four year dark night of the soul.  This is the letter I would send to my past self.