There have been days in the past when I wished I had a t-shirt that said “Today is not the day. And I am not the one.”
And then I would wish that I had the guts to wear it…
If I’m really honest, I’ve had strings of days like that, maybe because of a tough conversation, a frustrating day with the kids, or when I’ve felt stretched thin from too much going on in our lives.
What I didn’t realize until recently is those feelings, feelings of anger in the form of resentment, the desire to isolate and “check out” from responsibilities, and the feeling of wanting to throw my hands up in the air in resignation are all rumble strips or warning signs of misalignment in my faith and life. Just like the apostle Peter sinking when he took his eyes off of Jesus, these rumble strips have begun to help me recognize when I assuming control and beginning to do life on my own strength. And inevitably, most every time and like many times before my own strength and control fail me.
Fail me because my self imposed high standards can’t be met. Fail me because even when I am not searching for imperfections, my mistakes assault me. Fail me because when I’m out of alignment with Christ, my inner critic is louder than all the other voices, especially the voice that actually guides, heals, and satisfies, the Holy Spirit’s.
And this is the place I found myself when I opened an email letting me know what I had provided wasn’t what they were looking for. And to please try again.
And I was like boxing gloves on, hold my hoops… come again?!?
After praying about a response and sending one, stewing with indignation and disappointment, praying with Scotty and then crying some more, I finally felt like I was at a place where today could be the day and I could well if not be the one, you know be a decent person. It only took me 3 weeks….
Looking back now 6 weeks later I have grace for myself for where I was then and my perceived reality because I have done a ton of work to understand how and why I am created the way I am. I can see a before and after version of myself from this situation. #godsgrace #hesmakingmenew
The reality then for me was I HAD given my very best and I was aware how that wasn’t my best of all time. That was hard for me to accept in the first place, but then harder still to allow myself to give from that place, a place of brokenness knowing it wasn’t my best ever. A core desire or need I have is to be seen and loved and be deemed good enough just where I am. In this situation I felt like my best wasn’t good enough and super annoyed that all that I had going on in my life wasn’t taken into consideration at why that might have been. Especially all that quarantine had dumped in my lap without my permission. How could I be so misunderstood and so unseen? I felt like my needs were hidden and disregarded.
I know now that the reality for this relationship was and is a serious disconnect. Disconnect because of quarantine, social distancing, endless zoom meetings, and isolation. I mean we can all relate. The isolation is real and our perceptions begin to easily take hold and become our reality.
I also knew then because I value this relationship so greatly that I needed to confirm my perceptions with facts. I needed to compare the story in my head with reality. And by making that decision, by setting up a meeting I already had lies begin to fall away. This person loved me, otherwise I wouldn’t feel safe talking with them about this situation and how I was feeling.
Take that one step further? I had unknowingly reverted, yet again in my quest for things to be right, to feel valued, and to fulfill my need for affirmation, put someone else’s expectations, needs, and approval above God’s. Why else, was I striving, struggling, and unsatisfied? Why else was what they thought so important to me? Why was the lie that my needs were hidden and disregarded so believable? Just because I felt I had been disregarded by someone else didn’t actually mean I was unseen in God’s eyes.
And there it is- the pivot.
I needed to right those priorities. Give God the place He was worthy of. Reset a boundary on this relationship. Restore the trust in my relationship with God again.
I began to realize that while my feelings were all valid and understandable, my perceptions about the other’s intentions could be skewed, and while they could have done a few things differently for the situation to be better and less painful for me, I was not doing battle against them. We needed to be in battle together for our relationship.
And I actually didn’t want to be fighting with them. Give me back my hoops.
When that pivot in my heart and mind occurred, I could hear God speak. I felt His healing touch like a balm over the wounds that were fresh and raw. Sure I wanted them to know how they made me feel, but more importantly I needed to tell them how so it could build our understanding of each other and our relationship, not create just one more obstacle to climb or eggshell to tip toe around.
Because of that pivot, as I prepared for our meeting I could see new stepping stones on the way that weren’t visible before because of the direction of my focus. In preparation for our meeting, I prayed for myself, for them, for our time together. I listened to some worship songs and New Wine by Hillsong brought me to my knees.
Actually figurative knees… it brought me to the side of the road, head against my steering wheel, sobbing. I knew then that God was using this situation to bring me to a new place, free from old stuff and ways of thinking, but also to bring revelation and healing to the others involved as well. That felt like a small gift from God to me. To have God show me that recognizing my place of brokenness and my courage to walk through it with Him had a purpose outside of myself. A purpose for someone else.
That to me is the best type of ministry.
Pivots can be made on our knees. In fact some of the best pivots we make bring real healing, true restoration, and provide new steps because we begin on our knees.
Psalm 42 : As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after thee. You alone are my one desire and I long to worship thee. You alone are my strength, my shield, to you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship thee.