It’s been so long since I blogged that I actually forgot how to get to the page to post a blog. And I forgot both my username and password. For the past year almost, I’ve not written, which I’m realizing is a tell-tale sign that I’m barely breathing. I need to write like I need to exhale.
For me, I have to pray out loud, to talk, and to write it down in order to just figure out what the heck is really going on (both on the inside and the outside). If I’m silent for very long, it means there’s big trouble. It’s terrifying for me to admit that because then some of you might start to call me out more consistently. And then I might be forced to lie to you and say that I’m just too busy to write. And I’m a terrible liar. And I don’t want to lie to you. So I don’t want you to ask me. (You see my predicament then with admitting this?) But the truth is–I want to be called out. So it’s been another really, really hard year, starkly different in its quality of hardness than the last really hard year we had (which we refer to in our family as “the earthquake year”). By the way, when I say “year,” my children have learned that I almost always mean “school year”–because I am both by heart and nature, a teacher–so that’s how the timeline of my life is measured in my mind. I really don’t mean to get into any of that today, but I sort of feel like I’ve been half-asleep or walking dead for a really, really long time.
If you know me or go to church with me, this may really surprise you (or NOT!), and it’s not because I’ve been putting on a show, not even a little bit. It’s actually because I’ve been so ALIVE to ME, instead of dead to me and alive in Christ. But He has suddenly awakened me to Him again. I don’t even know how it happened, but it has! Nothing dramatic has happened in the last few weeks to cause this. A guest preacher at our church preached a very simple message about Matthew 6:33 (“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”), which I have had memorized in 12 different translations for about 20 years now, right? And something in my empty soul went, “AHA! I forgot about that!!”
You see, I’m that girl who has 10 self-help books in the basket beside her bed: how to have a better marriage, how to be more disciplined, how to discipline my children better, how to spice up your sex life (too much information?), how to get my finances in order, how to be a better bible study girl, how to NOT be just another bible study girl, how to be a better homeschool mom (okay, there are about 4 of those)… You get the picture. There’s a Bible in the basket too though! But that one’s just for show, really. I mean, I have the Bible App on my iPhone after all. Why would I need to open my actual, leather-and-paper Bible? That’s almost passe, right?
But Matthew 6:33 (JESUS!) tells me that if I will seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then basically everything else will be okay (even when it’s not okay). That’s too simplistic, I’ve been lying to myself all these years (and to my husband and children and everyone else in my life who actually SEES how I live, not how I talk). Right before that, in Matthew 6:28, Jesus points to the flowers, “See the lilies of the field? They do not labor and spin…” But that’s what I do most of the time–I labor and spin. Instead of really and truly doing the ONE thing that matters, the only thing that matters and causes everything else to work and to mean anything.
I have been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately, wanting my Daddy like a child awakened from a bad dream. This morning, it was 2:45 am when it happened and the very first thought I had was this:
How foolish and arrogant and selfish it would be of me to open my mouth or even get out of this bed before I have sought and found the Lord today? How ridiculously arrogant have I been to think that I could homeschool my children or even just BE NICE without having first partaken of Him, without having first been FILLED to overflowing THIS DAY with His holy love and presence??
What a fool I have been to think that I had not the time for that, to think of it as a “luxury” instead of the absolute necessity that it is! I am not talking about just having a quiet time here. I’ve done that for years and have devotionals in all my bathrooms that I read every single day when I am doing my business. (Too much?) I’m talking about getting BROKEN over my sin before Him and FILLED to ridiculous, giddy overflow by Him. Every. Single. Day.
After thinking about that for a while this morning (and praying and repenting), He and I then had a good laugh about just how mutually impractical and necessary it is to do that every single day. I mean, seriously, who has the time or energy to do that every single day??? People in prison??? I’m still not sure how on earth this is going to work out in real life. The unfolding of this epiphany over the past couple weeks has seriously diminished my capacity to “get stuff done.” But I don’t care. Maybe it will get easier, but I don’t care. Maybe I just won’t get as much done. I DON’T CARE.
This is a matter of absolute urgency!!! For 22 years now I have lived in the glorious light of the Gospel, and for a few of those years (cumulatively, at least, if not consecutively) I have sought Him hard. And those are the brightest, most exhilarating spots of my life. But for most of my Christian life, I have coasted. I have rested on my laurels (which are NOTHING), studied my Bible, and just bought into the system. As Oswald Chambers put it perfectly, “We take a rational view of life and say that a man by controlling his instincts, and by educating himself, can produce a life which will slowly evolve into the life of God.”
I have squandered precious hours and days and years merely abstaining from evil, or laboring and spinning in vain for mere good; I have grown sick and dizzy of this boring substitution for an abundant life lived fully in Christ. NO MORE!
So I have asked Him to take me back to the start. (Yes, Coldplay’s “The Scientist” is running through my head too.) I have realized that if I don’t do this, I am going to wake up in another 22 years and still be uncomfortably camped out in the Waiting Room. The days are long liars, but the years fly by, and then we’re dead. We’re done. I will blink a few more times and be 90, and this vapor of a life will have been essentially inconsequential if something doesn’t change RIGHT NOW, TODAY and every day (every hour!) afterward.
If I don’t do this, I’m always going to wonder what He would have done in me and maybe even through me. If I don’t do this, there’s no way I’m going to see the promised land this side of Heaven. If I don’t do this, there’s no way we’ll ever get back to Japan and see any of those whispered dreams of His heart come to life. Heck, I may have already jacked that up. I may have already wasted too many years to get to see it in my lifetime, but I don’t care. I’m turning this thing around anyway.
What will happen if I radically recalibrate my life, with Jesus truly at the center? What will He do?? What if I begin to ruthlessly filter the suitors of my time and energy and money and talent, only giving away the moments and days of my life to that which could sanctify my heart and bring Him glory? Is this too radical? Maybe. Am I asking for revolution? Yes, that’s what I want. There is no other true way to live! Keep me awake, God! Let me not fall asleep again! Is that possible?
What a grand experiment this could be–for my children, for the nations, for the books. Who knows? I’m all in, God.
P.S. I am really going to try and write more, both because I need to keep moving and for posterity. I feel like writing is very much a part of whatever this is that He is doing in me and that I need to be OBEDIENT to just do it. So if I get quiet for a long time again, you have my permission to call me out. Thank you to those of you who have done that. Those prying questions have been a part of this reawakening.
P.S.S. This is SOOOOO long. I am a bit much to handle in general, so a lot of people just ditch me emotionally or even literally once they realize that, which is understandable. It’s a lot, I know. But if you happen to love me enough to stick with me, thank you so much.