Sunday, August 24, 2014

The thorn in my side.

The other day yet another person made a comment to me that I'm just so positive and happy and my life is so fun. I hear that a lot. In that particular moment, the comment hit me in the gut like I'd been punched. While I'm madly in love with Jesus & He is my everything, I don't get that way by having some sort of glamorous life. It's quite the opposite. Ministry, singleness when I want a family, alone-ness, working in deep and dark places, financial strain. These things are daily life for me. One doesn't fall madly in love with Jesus & get to know Him intimately without going through trials that equal that depth. So while I may have an adventurous life, it doesn't always feel that way. I have in fact had a hellish week and my emotional and mental state at the moment is, well, mud.  Oh, don't get too worried. That's the drama queen in me talking. (I lost count of how many versions of me live in my head at any particular moment. Welcome to womanhood and a former crazy.)

Here's the thing. I'm mostly a sanguine. I'm mostly ridiculously joyful. Now.  That wasn't always the case. That wasn't always me. Besides, y'all know how social media works. You show the good and never the hard. "Hey-look how amazing my life is! Look at all the cool things I'm doing!" Lies. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? We'll post about every little good thing but Heaven forbid we speak up when we're a mess. We're only causing isolation and false representation of ourselves with that process. So, I have to say right now that I'm sorry for any way in which I have represented myself to be doing so so great and just skipping through the year like I'm in a musical. That's a lie. It's been beautiful but also one of the hardest years of my life. One that's left me exhausted & even wounded. Maybe that's why they say when you're a missionary you're "on the field." 

This week. This week was difficult. Very very difficult. Rather than posting pictures of the skyline or sunset or whatever, I'm going to be totally real here. I'm exhausted. I'm emotional. I've spent days painting some rooms in the former brothel that I work in. Things happened in those rooms. I had flashbacks of these things even though I couldn't have possibly known what they were. Yes-yes I'm serious. This is a thing! It happened.  This coming week I am ending my year-long apprenticeship with a missions organization and staying in Houston a bit longer to help the anti-trafficking ministry with some projects. I'm figuring out when I'm moving home. I miss friends. I'm lonely. I'm worn. I'm trying to let go of some things. I fight constantly not to work too hard for the approval of others. I still mess up and fail at a lot of the things I do. My past is being brought back up with full-force and I'm facing it, hurting, dealing with it. Yet again. It's exhausting. I'm dealing with a large array of emotions about that and leaving "the field" I've been head-first in. I'm trying to find where to go and where I fit. I have so much to process. Many people from one side are taking the "God says do anything as long as you are saving people" mentality.  People from another camp are steadfast in their "God has a specific design and purpose just for you" belief.  I'm pretty sure I know which opinion I'm going to cement myself in, but there sure are a lot of voices everywhere to wade through. 

Today was beautiful. I didn't even want to go to church because I'm a bit of a mess. And honestly? After being so involved at BVG for 17 years, one of my biggest pet peeves in having to be a newbie at church. I kind of butt against that with everything in me. But I went this morning. The greeter found out I've podcasted for 3 years but am new on campus and just enveloped me. She insisted I sit with her. And then the message. Oh, the message! I'm pretty sure Vernon followed me around with a camera before writing that. It took every ounce of energy I had to keep from sobbing all over the place like a baby. What a view! He talked about Paul and "the thorn in his side." He dissected what the transliteration meant. And he explained WHY the Lord didn't remove it. The thorn keeping Paul from being proud or boastful. And he speculated that maybe-just maybe-the reason why God doesn't just take away that one thing we're constantly wrestling with is because in it, we become desperate for Him. We long for Him. We need Him with everything in us. In a way we wouldn't if we just stopped struggling. Before Jesus radically rescued me, I was crazy. I was severely depressed and unstable. I ruined relationships. I was unhealthy. I lied all the time about everything. And that's only the beginning! I'd have to be a fool to expect that I will never struggle with falling back into any of this again. Many times I begin reverting back into a behavior of old. But now I see it. I recognize it. The Spirit doesn't let me go live in it. And as painful as it is, I'm thankful for my past. Because without it, I wouldn't see how beautiful Jesus is. How much He's redeemed. And while they're humiliating, without the occasional slips back in that direction, I wouldn't remember how human and frail I am. I need that reminder. It keeps me tender and real. Grace is God's kindness descending upon our midst. And if we aren't functioning in that spirit, we best be checking ourselves right quick.
Yes, talk about it. Yes, work hard towards a correction of it. But don't allow the setbacks and the slip-ups and the rejection you receive to dictate anything. Because they will only show His glory  even more.


becky koch said...

Beautifully Said. <3

Jenn @ hellorigby! said...

love the raw, real emotion here! thanks for sharing your heart.