Tag Archives: hope

Waiting Room

Sitting and waiting
On a day we knew would come for months
Exhaustion wrestles anxiety in an epic match
It looks like exhaustion has anxiety in a submission hold
But anxiety kicks out
I know you’re in good hands
But I’m alone
Help asked for always denied
So Jesus sits watching invisibly at my back
If I could dig trust out of the heart closet
Life would be better for us all

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Waiting for Hope

We are waiting,
Marking time,
Waiting for the path
To be revealed.

Tension builds,
Tempers flare,
Words snap,
Stress must be relieved.

All tied up,
No way to move,
Watching for an opening,
Trying again to feel.

**********************************

As the moon rises in the east,
As the dark begins to fall,
As the stars twinkle above the horizon,
Hope springs to life again, breathing faith anew.

Slaying the Dragon of Fear

I’ll let you in on a not-so-little little secret. I’ve been afraid all my life. Not the quaking, shaking obvious kind of fear. It’s the quiet, hidden fear that gnaws at your heart and mind, that eats away and erodes trust. In effect, it’s the thing that creates a tower for Rapunzel, not with bricks and mortar, but with words and thoughts. And no chemical in the world makes it go away.

It started because I think my dad did see me as a Rapunzel, a princess of God Most High who would never truly get the things of earth. So innocent and pure and naive that I would always need to be protected. So he told me stories, many stories, of all the bad things that could happen. Eventually, he did try to help me think about how to overcome the fear through action.

It was too late. The egg of fear cracked into this little dragon. At first the dragon was cute. I fed it by giving in and not doing the things I was afraid to do. I watered and groomed it by learning how to make it sound reasonable, I upped its hoard of treasure and wealth by rewarding myself every time I kept myself safe through fear and wisdom, I fed its belly fire by reading and educating myself about each new evil that came out.

Eventually, while I was blinded by whatever, it grew to be this big, beautiful dragon. It was majestic. I looked so strong on the outside (and maybe a little awkward and neurotic and peculiar). I thought it was great.

The problem with dragons is that they turn on you. What masquerades as something good and light and wholesome turns into a slave-master, demanding more education and logic and reason and time, until you have no energy left to focus on the things that matter in life. Only the things aren’t things; they’re people.

Maybe my dad was ignorant of this. Maybe later in life on some level he had a vague, whispering feeling that something was not right. I may never know. I just know that the rules for protection in the world he prepared me for just don’t work in the world I live in. But I digress…

When you find that you’ve been misled into serving this slave-master for too long, how do you slay it? You can’t. The best you can hope for is to fight back and wrestle it into submission. In my case, once I’ve done my wrestling, I ask my still, small Voice for help and try to follow the instructions I’m given.

The other problem with this particular dragon is that it tends to mess with my real-time connection to the still, small Voice. This means that the instructions don’t always come through clearly, and I’m left with nothing but archaic, hard copy of the instructions He’s left to others.

So, in my case, how did I wrestle my dragon into a position where the still, small Voice could take over and deal with it? First, I had to recognize that the dragon, as mesmerizing and comforting as it was, was still a dragon. Dragons cannot stay around. The truth may hurt, but it is still truth.

Second, I had to know what the still, small Voice thought about my dragon. Since my still, small Voice loves me perfectly, I knew the dragon had to go because the dragon was a road block, a stumbling block on the road to growth and maturity.

Finally, I had to make a choice and act. I had to face a situation that I had been taught to be afraid of. I had to choose to walk in a place that I had been taught (and maybe taught others) was dark and unsafe. From the moment I stepped into the boundaries of this place I could feel my shackles coming off and wrapping around the dragon.

First, I had to walk with complete strangers jostling me and running into me. I hate being touched by people I don’t know. I hate having my things touched by people I don’t know. It’s not germs or strangers; it’s the knowledge that bad things can come in good packages. People are simply packages of flesh and blood; their thoughts and actions are the things that can give hope or cause despair. So, I had to believe I had the favor of my still, small Voice; He would handle all situations that day; and people were more important than things.

Second, I had to let go of my fear of not knowing and looking foolish because I acted on information when I couldn’t validate the source. Since the 9/11 attacks, everyone has been afraid of everything. We don’t want to be attacked, so we don’t share information. We don’t want to open ourselves to looking foolish, so we don’t admit we need help. We don’t want to admit that we don’t always make wise choices, so we choose instead to blame others, especially those whose outlook is so foreign to ours.

Third, I had to let go of the prejudice of assuming that something was not good simply because everyone held the same opinion of it. As an intelligent woman who isn’t always politically correct, I’ve gotten the snide comments. The cruelest one is the offer of the purchase of a famous landmark. I had to learn that the landmark has to be separate from the comments. Visiting the landmark doesn’t mean you take on the traits associated with the traits of one who would make the purchase. Then, I had to take a step back and see in my heart that the same thing has to be done with information from the Internet, rumor mill, and other sources. If the source seems trustworthy, go with it until it’s proven otherwise.

Fourth, I had to let go of the social rules. What speaks love and kindness in one culture may be the most rude thing to another. One country’s idea of a joke may be blasphemy for a religion in another country. It doesn’t mean that we should give up our identities to get along. It means, when absolute moral Truth isn’t involved, we need to lighten up. We need to step back and see if an action can be viewed from another perspective.

Finally, I had to open my eyes and see the life going on around me. While I don’t want to be shackled by darkness masquerading as light, I can still look at the beauty of the interplay of light and shadow; the sharp edge of dark on a building against the bright light of the sun in the sky; the blurry, hypnotic dance of the shadows from a spring tree.

In the end, the law that finally subdued my dragon was love

  • Loving my still, small Voice enough to try to listen.
  • Loving my neighbor enough to go someplace I didn’t think was good for me.
  • Loving me enough to wrestle instead of run.
  • Loving my family enough to communicate when things were off and I didn’t know why.
  • Loving all my role models living and dead to carry them with me in my clothes and the things I carried and the memories I used.

So right now, my chains are gone. They’ve been transferred to the dragon. I am waiting for my next instruction. I expect I will have some other quests before my still, small Voice finally vanquishes this dragon for me. The dragon will probably shake and fight and try to get me during these quests, like most dragons.

And the dragon will always be overcome and vanquished by Love.

Living Romans 8, Verses 18-30

Verses 18-21

I may not always like the way things go in my life. As a matter of fact, on my more melodramatic days, I would sometimes use the word “suffering” to describe the chaos that seems to weave its way through my home, work, and commute. But I’m not supposed to see those present things. I’m supposed to look forward to the future eternal glory God will share with me. And looking isn’t enough–in another book, we are encouraged to press on toward the prize of everlasting life. Pressing is a very active action verb, implying strength and tenacity and determination are required.

We definitely live in a broken world. It’s not what God intended. But the first man, when he broke God’s rules, brought misery not only to himself, but to all of what God created. Originally, God’s creation was good. Now, it is broken by one man’s choice. But just as man can be liberated through freely choosing God and His Will, creation will eventually be liberated.

Verses 22-25

All the miserable “acts of God” as insurance companies like to call them–floods, earthquakes, volcanoes–aren’t really acts of God. They are either the result of free will on the good creation, or the good creation begging the Creator to end the misery.

Those of us living by the Spirit also find ourselves often begging God, actually groaning–a deep, unrecognizable sound uttered in pain, misery, grief, and disapproval. We know eventually we will be fully redeemed not just from our sin but the consequences of sin. And that is a true hope.

We can’t see what it is we long for, and if we did, hope would not be required. Hope actually helps those of us who are patience challenged wait with a better attitude.

Verses 26-27

This is another pinnacle of Romans 8: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Humans are all frail and weak compared to an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. But He doesn’t hold that against us. He helps us, even when we don’t know how to pray.

I especially love the description for the prayer tongue charismatics have (a personal prayer language that most charismatics have that doesn’t really sound like anything but baby talk to anyone but God)–it is me giving the Holy Spirit permission to use my tongue to intercede with wordless groans according to the will of God. Using my prayer tongue allows me to decrease the me in my prayers and pray according to God’s will much more easily. I don’t have to worry about the prayer being tainted by my heart, which can be so deceitful even I cannot fully know it.

Verses 28-30

I love that my Heavenly Father works all things to my good. He will work out the consequences of all the unwise choices I made when I was outside of His will or not following His rules. He will handle all the details of the uncomfortable, inconceivable things I have suffered or will suffer at the hands of others outside of His will or not following His rules. He will manage the physical and material consequences of living in a broken world with broken people. In effect, He controls anything else He created that might affect me.

I don’t like verses 29-30. Those are the ones I tend to let up to the theologians. To summarize it the way I’d put it to any of my special angels, God called me before I was born to follow His plan, He knew what my answer would be, He covers over my failings and weaknesses with His righteousness, and eventually He’ll fix me in heaven. That avoids predestination, free will, and all that other stuff I just can’t understand.