‘Tis the Season to…
Be with family?
Enjoy the snow?
I’m afraid that last one has got me this year. I don’t feel frazzled, which is really nice…but I feel like the days are passing me by. I do one thing, and another, and I’m not enjoying the season like I usually do. Usually by now I’m big into Christmas decorating and Christmas music, and I’m in the Christmas mood, and I’m either loving the tree or can’t wait to get it up. Instead, I haven’t decorated anything yet. I don’t mind the Christmas music when I hear it, but I’d rather have sweet silence. The tree is up but not decorated.
I’m not depressed and not enjoying it…I just…
That’s really the only way I can describe how I feel about it. With a shrug. Truthfully, it seems like it was just Christmas a few months ago, and Christmas should still be a month or two away.
It just doesn’t seem to matter. At least, not as much as other things…such as the fact that I feel like I’ve gotten lost again. Again, again. And so (again) I am practicing walking based on the truth I know, rather than by what I feel.
I wonder if times like these are when God is testing how much I really want Him? Will I continue to seek Him when He allows weeks to go by without “wow” moments? Will I worship Him both when I can feel and sense the walls falling, and when I sense nothing whatsoever? Will I continue to choose Him and do my best to obey, even when my best is far from perfect, my knowledge of His will is faulty and hesitant, and I receive no confirmation that I’m on the right track? Will I…can I…trust that He is indeed leading and guiding me even then? Even now?
It’s surprisingly hard, for it’s that point where the devil’s tempting me to give up on this or that…to slip into complaisance… to think that I’m right back where I was a year ago or two years ago… to believe that everything that happened in-between now and then doesn’t count and obviously wasn’t real.
And yet…if that were true, then I wouldn’t be unsatisfied with where I’m at.
You see…it was slightly over a year ago that God ushered me into a new season or level in my spiritual life. I have never been able to recognize seasons the way some people do…knowing and see how things change as months go by. For me…I’ve only been able to recognize four very long seasons over my entire life.
There was my growing up in a Christian home years…then there was a very specific day in my teenage years when my walk with God passed to a level that was far more personal…the day I believe that my walk with God changed from being dependent in any degree upon my parents to becoming mine and mine alone.
That began my second season, and it lasted ten or twelve years until 2002…the day I share in the story, “My Ultimate Makeover.” That began the third season or stage of my walk with God, and it lasted until November 2009.
Last year, God called me on even higher…and my walk with Him became even more intensely personal. I knew it that day, and I’ve seen it throughout the year. And boy was it amazing as I was flying those heights!
But now the path is leading through what feels like wastelands. Spiritual wastelands in the midst of a crazy-busy metropolis. I’m so thankful for everything He’s shown me in the past, for it’s allowing me to rest in Him as I certainly didn’t the last time I went through wastelands.
But the wastelands have their own battles. Battles about who I am and what walking with God is really supposed to be like. As I write this, I’m coming to think that God is trying to teach me something very specific here. Something that is absolutely crucial for where He wants to take me in this season.
He is asking me to trust that He will finish what He began in me, and finish it perfectly. He didn’t start a voyage last November, only to stop a little ways into it and dump me back on the shore. He’s asking me to surrender my own ideas about what my walk with Him is supposed to look like going forward. I am learning to trust Him with the pace that He gives me revelations, with the frequency that He does (and doesn’t) speak to me, with how often He does (and doesn’t) use me…and even with my own abilities, skills, and faults.
It’s all about His power, and the only reason I matter one bit is grace…grace so abundant that I am humbled and in awe of the love for me that gives me such grace.
I’m finding that Psalm 119 reflects my thoughts more than ever before. And I think again of King David and a story that, to me, carries tons of meaning, especially in times like this.
2 Samuel 15 tells the story of when Absalom was conspiring to throw David off the thrown. You could say that David had arrived. He’d been through the season of growing up. He’d been through the season of battles. He’d even been through years of ruling as the most powerful king in the area, with peace on all sides.
But now battles are arising from within, and he finds himself leaving the palace he built and everything God had given him and heading back to the wastelands of the wilderness.
In verse 14, the priests followed David out of Jerusalem, carrying the ark of God. Listen to what he said:
25The king said to Zadok, “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the LORD, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation. But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”
That statement awes me and shows me amazing things about David. It shows me more about why God called him a man after His own heart.
He could have railed at God for allowing things to happen the way they were. He could have beat himself up and say that he deserved it for not dealing with the problems in his house earlier. He could have gone on and on about God’s promises to him. He could have given up and walked away…or walked off to a witch like Saul did. He could have done all sorts of things.
But instead, he simply chose to remain in God’s hands, and to trust Him completely. He showed that he truly understood what God would show Jeremiah years later…that He is the potter and we are the clay. He shows complete humility and surrender to God’s divine way, no matter what it might be, and God’s right to do as He sees fit and fulfill His promises in whatever manner seems right to Him.
This is the heart of David.
This is a heart that trusts and surrenders, no matter what.
This is the heart that I want to have…