I believe that ruthless honesty you speak to is so important, so that what remains is only what comes from him, and is sustained only by him.
I had a friend recently write me about some really honest questions he was wrestling with – such as, “In my heart things are stirring…but is it me or is it God… wondering sometimes if I have missed it completely…makes me wonder what my life is about right now, and if the hunger I feel is true or what…”
I was encouraged by the raw honesty of this. I too have had been doing some soul searching over the last 18 months. It’s being a time of re-evaluating: what I believe God is speaking to me about the direction and investment of my time, energy and resources. Re-evaluating my skills (and lack thereof) in the work place – albeit, this came in the midst of probably the most challenging season of my adult working years in terms of the requirements placed on my time and the need to “step into bigger shoes.” I’ve been confronted with a more honest assessment of the limits of my love for others vs. myself. And during this same time period I’ve been very quiet on this blog. There’s been less time for it, and I got out of a writing pattern. But it’s more than that. I think I’m slowly getting a new grip on what my life is really about, like my friend wrote. I wrote back to him:
I commend you for the courage to ask the hard questions, and to look at things squarely.
The Lord once gave me a thought about this, when living in southern cal, and thinking about how we naturally bop around in the surf on the beach to avoid the impact of waves so they wouldn’t knock you down. We jump up, dive, turning our bodies to the side and lean into the waves – of course! We want to stay upright, on our feet. He was showing me how I was approaching life, and he wanted to show me a different way. He wanted me to turn over the full responsibility for whether the waves of life knocked me down or not, and not use any of my own cleverness to avoid things that are important, or my own strength to sustain them. So the image he gave me, and he takes me back to it periodically over the years, was to simply stand there in the surf of life, facing forward and not sideways, letting come what may come, being willing to get knocked down by the waves, leaving all that in my loving Shepherd’s tender care. Oh, that I would stay there.
Ps. 51:6 – and I like NASB here – “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.”
I too find myself wondering what my life is about these days. I sense I’m in some kind of in-between place. I guess I used to have answers but don’t anymore, but either way, I wasn’t even asking the questions I now have. And the questions I have now are more simple and fundamental. Like, “okay, what now?” And somehow, this seems good and right – thank you, Lord. I take comfort in feeling small in this season, letting him be huge, wise, and in control.