“In The Middle”

“Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You’re making me
Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me” – Casting Crowns

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And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you – Psalm 9:10

I often find myself in the middle. I can be so close to where God wants me to be but something holds me back. I can’t always offer a full surrender. It’s that part of me that still wants to be in control. That part of me that hesitates because I can’t see what is ahead and what the outcome will be. This has a lot to do with being an anxiety sufferer/worrier and if you are one as well, you know that we have a need to always know what is going to happen in order to be prepared for whatever arises. I laugh at myself for this because it is completely irrational and not at all in line with how a Christian should think. Thus, I am in the middle.

As the song I quoted above goes, “Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control?” God is trying to make me into the person I am meant to be but sometimes I halt the construction. I let Him get me, where? To the middle. Often times just past the middle. And then I restrain. I have “deep water faith in the shallow end”. I can stand at the edge of the water, feet still planted firmly on the ground and say “sure… I have faith” but if I’m not willing to step into the deepest part where I can’t see but only trust, then where am I?

I don’t want to start the New Year in the middle. So today I am shooting for just past the middle and see where I end up in the coming year. If you find yourself caught somewhere between who you are and who God wants you to be, or who you used to be and who you want to be, remember that He is always near. He loves you no matter what and He will never stop trying to bring you closer to Him.

I wish each of you a happy, healthy and blessed New Year and pray that you seek God and find Him in everything you do!

“The Calmness”

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The sun has not yet risen over the water but the sky begins to lighten in its wake. The waves gently lap the shore and my feet sink slowly into the smooth, glass-like terrain that the water creates as it retreats back.  The pull of the waves leave a beautiful impression upon the sand. It is another form of our creator’s artwork. His art isn’t framed and hanging in a museum. It is beneath my feet, within my eyesight and felt in the wind.

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As I walk and wait for the multitude of colors to appear with the sun, I think about all that is troubling me. The thoughts and emotions that crisscross through my mind and down into my heart are threatening to steal the peace I am searching for here. I push it away and it creeps back. It is true that the ocean can calm the mind and soul but only briefly. I search for more.  A permanent peace. One that won’t abandon me once my feet leave the sandy shore.

I continue to walk as the sky begins to produce a warmer glow. My thoughts progress into tangled knots and tears begin to flow. I look upward in a desperate plea. My shoulders slump and I hang my head. Suddenly I feel a Presence. I look to my right and my gaze falls upon Him. He walks alongside me in all of His glorious wonder that outshines the sun emerging from the water. “What troubles you my child?” He asks, as if He is not already aware of all that weighs heavy on my heart. As we walk, I speak to Him aloud about my fears, doubts and anxieties. He slowly nods, His hands clasped in front of Him and His eyes filled with compassion and understanding. It is as if we are two friends having a simple conversation. The heavy burdens begin to lighten but they are still there. “How about I take those for you?”, He gently suggests. I hesitate. Can I relinquish control of them? Can I truly say Thy will be done, not mine? And can I leave them with Him and not ask for them back when I feel uneasy about not knowing what is ahead?

His hand rests upon my shoulder, His eyes penetrating into the depths of my soul. I surrender. I suddenly feel a calmness that I have never felt. My shoulders no longer carry the weight of a thousand burdens and my steps become lighter as the water laps at my feet. The sun has shown itself fully as it hovers over the water. I take in the sight of the different shades of yellow, pink and orange. I turn back to my side and there is no one there. But the calmness remains.

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I find a spot to sit in the sand. I let my senses take over. The sight of the sunrise is breathtaking. The smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing to the shore surround me. I look upward once again. This time not as a desperate plea but to simply say “Thank you”.

 

 

 

 

“Comfort Zone”

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Last night I picked up a book that lives on my coffee table….my copy of Jesus Calling, a daily devotional written by Sarah Young. I haven’t read it in a month or two, so I decided to pick it up and see what yesterday’s message said. I have been feeling very tense this week as I face a hurdle this coming weekend, when I have to step outside of my comfort zone. Something inside me said to pick up the book and meditate on the message. This is what I read:

“You are surround by a sea of problems, but you are face to face with me, your Peace. The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the one who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future. Stay close to me.”

I sat and thought about those words for quite some time and truly meditated on them. Then I allowed myself to imagine Jesus kneeling beside me, comforting me. He reminded me that He is eager to give me peace if I will simply let Him. Curled up under my Grandma’s handmade quilt and clutching my book, I truly felt His presence and was comforted. It was an awesome moment. But it was short-lived because I know that I still have a long way to go to be able to fully release all my cares and burdens. It’s not as easy as it seems…at least for someone like me. However, I realized that if I intend to get there, then this is something I need every day. To feel at peace, even for a few moments and allow those few moments to turn into hours.

Today’s Jesus Calling devotion was just as powerful:

“You know that this day will bring difficulties, and you are trying to think your way through those trials. As you anticipate what is ahead of you, you forget that I am with you- now and always. Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way!”

Wow…those last two lines hit me. How often when we worry, do we rehearse our troubles? I know I do it all the time. I’ve been doing it all week. But that’s what worry is. When my mind conjures up scenarios that have the worst possible outcome. Rehearsing scenes that most likely will not happen. By doing this I indeed multiply my suffering. I need to focus on the positive and if trouble does come, then I should have to only deal with it when it happens, not a thousand times over and over in my mind to the point where I create more anxiety than needed.

Today I encourage you to step out of your “comfort zone” and step into God’s comfort zone. Let it go and be encouraged by the peace that only He can provide.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) loveturns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fearbrings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection] – 1 John 4:18