Tuesday, August 16, 2016

how to find your place in all the confusion

Last Thursday, I rearranged the whole downstairs of my house because there were feelings and thoughts piled up in my head. All those feelings and thoughts needed new places, but I couldn’t make them all fit. So I moved the tangible things I could.

It’s my own favorite kind of therapy.

Because, I don’t know if you know this, but in order to achieve my dream of publishing a book, I’m supposed to be famous and I’m supposed to be exceedingly secure about myself and my life.

(Spoiler alert: I am neither of those.)

Still, these two conflicting messages hover about in the writing/publishing world:
  1. Get as many people to like you, follow you, promote you, and love you as possible so that we can invest the money in your project and actually see a profit. We won’t publish you unless you are adored by a legion of people.
  2. DON’T confuse your work with your value and identity. Finding an agent to represent your book doesn’t mean the like you. It isn’t personal. It’s about the work, not who you are. Take a deep breath and just let the Holy Spirit comfort you when you feel like a failure. Chin up, Buttercup, you’re famous in the eyes of Jesus.

Although both points here are solid advice from experienced people, it’s confusing to be told to make sure lots of people like you, but not to worry if people don’t like you. BECAUSE THOSE ARE OPPOSITE THINGS.

But maybe if the china hutch is in the living room and the Japanese art is in the reading room, I will find my way through the confusion. Moving furniture isn’t the most dysfunctional way to sort through your life, after all.

Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos is just me and Jesus. There’s what I want Him to say, and what He has already said. There’s what I want Him to do for me, and what He’s already done for me. There’s who I want to become, and who He has already made me to be.

There is my tiny faith and my minuscule works dwarfed by His immeasurable goodness and His eternal love.

I’m beginning to grasp that most of the hardest dreams we fight for in life are less about achieving something and more about needing (and eventually finding) God’s grace. In God’s Kingdom, the product is important, but the process is vital.

Maybe I’m just moving all this furniture around to prove there is a way through. Isn’t that where we all want to get- Through? Through is a funny place. It isn’t here or there, exactly. Through is that moment we realize everything that’s happening to us is part of the grander story of God’s will, and the whole of our destiny is simply to be caught up in and carried by His great love for us.

Through is the moment we find life and rest and peace, even though we aren’t quite on the other side yet. Through is when we stop worrying about being and doing, and we decide to simply belong.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” -Matthew 7:13-14

And so, it’s time, once again, to take the narrow gate and follow Jesus.

The grey rug needs to go over there. The framed painting from Paris must go here. And I must choose once again to seek and love the Kingdom more than my own life. The path ahead may look like success or it may reek of failure to everyone around me. I think it will probably be a bit of both. But that is of no true importance.

“I dwell in the high and holy place,
   and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
   and to revive the heart of the contrite.” -Isaiah 57:15

God is in high and holy places, and He is also right here, reviving the people who bow low before Him. Those are opposite things, and yet not so confusing.

Everything and everyone has its place, and mine has already been chosen for me. The way Through has been cleared for me and I’m not confused at all anymore.

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