I’ve felt drawn to come write for a few days now, but I haven’t really known what to write about? After my birthday, I felt kind of comatose for a few days. My body tends to do that after a few days of really emotional days. Everything just goes numb for a while. I like to think it’s God keeping me from taking drugs.
This morning, my thoughts are swirling around in my head. I start typing, then delete, stare at the blinking cursor on the white page in front of me, type something else, and delete it again. Why does the cursor have to be so stress-inducing? The name of that little vertical 1/2 inch line is becoming quite fitting actually. Blerg.
Ok, well, here’s the deal. The cursor is probably not the source of my frustration this morning. It probably has a lot more to do with, I don’t get a break. It feels like the fire is cranking up a little hotter. And, all because of that silly poetic, communal, chameleon command to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. It no longer creates this warm, fuzzy emotion for me of living life with others, now it makes me want to curse(r). There are so many implications to this verse. If I was a mathematician I would come up with some statistic about what a small fraction of the Bible that command is, relative to its transforming implications on your life, and your mind would be blown. Thankfully for you, I can barely add. (If I taught your child in first grade, just kidding!).
So, why is that getting under my skin? Because I never thought about what it must feel like to mourn with others when your living a rock star life, and it feels like God is just pouring blessing out on you. Who wants to go spend time crying with people and let their sadness affect you when life is good for you, for once? That’s hard. And, what if considering your sad, frustrated, or grieving friend’s view on God starts to shift yours? I mean, life is like, my arms get sore after church cuz I’m so enthusiastically stoked about my life, I mean God, kind of good.
Ok, sorry, that was low.
Or, what seems worse, I never thought about what it would be like to rejoice with others when you are in pain. Surely grieving gives us a free pass, right? It’s hard enough to believe in God’s goodness right now, but do I really have to go be with someone when God is pouring out blessing on them, and not to mention, it may (or may not) be the very thing my heart is pleading for? That’s tough. This is tough. And, what I find myself considering right now. What do we learn when we rejoice with those who rejoice, when everything in us wants to crawl into a cave and come out when things feel better? What do we learn about Him when we engage this command in such a fragile place? What does it take to walk this command out?
It’s times like this when I am so thankful for the Spirit. I am so glad that I don’t have to be in the desert watching some mangy sheep and be horrified by a bush being set on fire to hear from the Lord. Most days all I need is a pen and my journal and a cup of tea. Sorry, Moses, mine sounds better right now. Anyway, He gave me a few words this morning.
Openness. Belief. Faith.
That’s all for now! Until next time!
I’ve been doing yoga pretty regularly for the past few weeks. We’ve been working on mountain pose. Which if you walk into a yoga class and everyone is in mountain pose, you might think, #1 I could that. #2 I thought this was supposed to be a work out? #3 How is everyone here so buff? I still don’t have the answer to #3. I say all this because if you’re not familiar with yoga, mountain pose is more or less standing. But, as I’ve been learning week after week, there’s A LOT more going on in your body for you to be doing mountain pose correctly. First of all, your feet have to planted on all 4 corners of your foot on the ground, and when I say planted, I mean like strong energy radiating from your foot to the ground! This sounds easy, but is actually one of the harder parts for me to do. Thighs are inwardly rotated. Tale bone tucked under. Belly pulled into you spine. Shoulders open and back. Top of your head reaches to the ceiling and arms strong at your sides, palms facing out.
When I got the word, open. This is what I thought of. When you’re in mountain pose, no part of your body is braced to protect itself. You are strong. But you are, open. I especially thought of my chest lifted high and lengthening from shoulder to shoulder opening up the areas around my heart. If you did this right now without the other elements considered, your spine would curve automatically and your tale bone would be sticking way out. Next, you have to tuck that tale bone and suck in that belly. And it’s a constant and slight push and pull sort of action. You have to constantly adjust yourself to maintain openness in your chest and strength in your core. I kind of thought, this is what it feels like to be open – yet believe. To just be open would be void of strength and belief brings you strength. Belief that God is good. The strength we need to be open at all. To let ourselves be impacted by those around us. To let ourselves believe in whichever place you find yourselves, whether mourning our rejoicing with others, that God’s purposes are good. It is not a battle of blessing vs. suffering and who gets more of one or the other. It is all for His good purpose and we have to let ourselves be impacted by both, and yet still believe with conviction. The tension gives us strength.
So now for faith. I wonder if He gave me this word too because when we exercise openness and belief, we get tired. The tension is hard to bear sometimes. And, we need something to root us. I think this is the feet part, that I’m not so hot at yet. Go ahead, try it. Try digging into all 4 corners of your feet, while maintaing open chest, tucked tale bone, etc. It’s hard! And, that’s how I feel about faith sometimes. Faith is hard. It’s hard to look forward and have faith that blessing will come, that longings will be satisfied, that desires will be fulfilled, that rescuing will come. I know I want to drop my shoulders and protect my heart in case I was the exception to the promise that He will give me the desires of my heart. I know I want to let my belly release and not fight to believe something I have little evidence of right now. And, I want my feet to support me in a way that feels comfortable, not one that feels hard and takes effort and concentration. But, if I stay in the tension and I choose to have faith and KNOW that God will satisfy my desires, then that’s how I can rejoice with people when I am mourning. In faith, I am not limited to my perspective. I’m not limited to my response right now. It opens me up to rejoice about what is to come in my life (and after)! In rejoicing with others, I am rejoicing even for that that has not yet been fulfilled in my life and God’s kingdom.
This feels like freedom. Fo sho.