the journey of a thousand miles.
“Every second of freedom is worth more than a lifetime of bondage.”
— James Frey, A Million Little Pieces
Ryan once told me that everything Jesus is says that its okay to be weary. I think of her words, along with the words of James, who is one of my heroes, as I feel increasingly tired and empty. Anxiety has ripped through me like a tornado, leaving devastation of the sentiments that I have depended on and held in certainty. The connection between what my heart knows and my head thinks is slowly shorting out, and even now, I find myself holding on white knuckled to whatever semblance of control I can possibly invent. Even so, it grips me, as well, and refuses to relent.
I crave silence and open hands and holiness. No one becomes holy by taking the easy way out. I want to be honest and growing. A seed must die in order to grow. It must be pushed into the ground, sinking and buried in the soil. It is trampled and cracking, persistent in its death to reach towards the light, and patient through the perilous wait for nourishment.
I recently read that anxiety is the fear that God will get your story wrong. I’m not good at trusting. I’m not good at giving myself away when I cannot see the steps in front of me. I am reminded of miracles such as Elisha with the jars of olive oil, when the oil only stopped flowing once every vessel that could be found was filled. I am reminded of Hagar, who, in the process of running away, encounters the Father. Even in the midst of running away, she says “You are the God who sees me. I have seen the One who sees me.” Hagar knew she had nowhere to go. I want to encounter God in that way. I crave intimacy with him. I want to know that he sees me. I want to find rest in the knowledge that I am covered by grace. I want to be saturated by the miracle.
The Israelites wandered around for forty years in an attempt to control their fate, and still, the Father fed them. The literal translation of “manna” is “what is this?” What love he must have, to feed us with the mystery. Of course, I would rather have a clear cut, decisive, well laid plan. But his ways are not my ways. All the time, he is good.
Pain and confusion are not my name. They are not what I have been called to. And though the enemy would have me believe that I am defined by an anxious mess, Christ went the distance to take back that control. Because of this, I am defined by power and love and a sound mind. I am defined by joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, because that is the name of the spirit which inhabits me. It is for freedom’s sake that I have been set free.
James recovered through will power alone, without medication or other aid. Sheer determination got him through the worst of an addiction which would have certainly caused his death, had it gone unadressed. With both humility and pride, he took responsibility and took control of his life, regaining his health, and ultimately, a heart and mind that no longer raged with the lust for that which destroys. I have been clinging to this darkness for too long, but before I lean on anything else, I want to press in to One who is my help.
Lord, let me not look to the right or the left, but help me to root myself in your truth. Help me to open my clenched fists. Fill this vessel, and feed me with the mystery. Help me to trust that you are good, and that you see me, even now. Help me to be still, to cease striving. Help me to take every thought captive, and throw out everything that does not measure up to your definition of who I am in you. Heal my heart. May my soul find rest in you alone.
Let it be.