Waking up to comfort?
I stand at the edge of what seems like a never ending drop. In the fog and the haze, I look out past the horizon and hear whispers of something I recognize. "Brave" the wind whistles... its cold now, and although bundled in a sweater and warmth, the wind whips through and over the grasses with a chilling bite. From atop the mountain it seems so far down... as you think of the long way it is to the bottom, which would certainly mean the death of you, the thoughts start to crawl in...
Dont forget while you're here, they're there planning without you. . . What are you doing with your life? . . .You stink at being a parent, a thrown together lunch because you forgot to get to the store . . . After so much strategy and efforts planning, what if the merger is a flop? . . .How will we ever have a child? Where is the money going to come from? . . . Mise well be who they want you to be - its easier that way to fit in. . . What if they don't continue to think you're the best? What if he decides to leave? She already said she was done. . . What if they don't like your idea? Guess its back to the drawing board. . . Who are you fooling, you can't perform for the gig the way they expect you to? . . .Where will the donors come from, we're on the last thread? and on and on and on..... hurling insults.
You wake up to find yourself half-way wrapped in sheets from last night and with the window open from the breeze that was cool as you fell asleep, which turned rather frigid in the middle of the night, your "dream" wasnt such a wonderful dream to wake up to.
And you scurry into the kitchen, put on the pot of water to go jump in the shower....
Once you're in the shower the recollection of this morning's dream starts to replay in your head. Where did the whisper BRAVE come in before those thoughts and all the negative questions, you ask yourself?!? Hmmm.... You can't quite figure it out so you shake it off, and begin to plan the days to do list to get through. LIFE MUST CONTINUE you think, and you resolve to think on it later, and you're outta the shower and moving as you're off to the rat race called LIFE.
So, If I were honest with most of my life, there's a certain sort of comfortability I live in.
I live in a hip area of town and am surrounded with my choice of delicacy's from whole foods to fabulous sushi bars, a starbucks on every other corner, even Target is just down the street. I have an amazing condo with a gorgeous view of the mountains and my own little haven makes me think of the beach every single day (beach girl stuck in a mountain state. haha, but I have the luxury of sipping coffee and slipping into dreamland as I do a morning devo or start down the list of things to do for the day:) ...We have a fitness studio at our complex next to an infinity pool and I happen to have a day job at another fitness studio down the road too. . . LIFE IS COMFORTABLE!
BUT there's moments I feel so uneasy, I have no idea where it started or why....Like those dreams that startle you awake.
Yes, there's daily things to struggle through: How am I going to pay rent? When will the allergies stop, when will I have a car that I can rely on? But these are normal struggles of life I believe that give us opportunities to be thankful for what we DO have and how much has been provided for us simply because we have the luxury of living in the US. I also know at the end of the day, if my life were stripped from me and the things I own and for some God-forbid reason, I was abandoned by family and loved ones, I would be able to surrender knowing my gracious God has me! He's been there through the fire before and he will see me through it again! Thankfully I know who I am and whose I am. I know why I've been created and for what...
This past Sunday we started a series called Day Dreamers! Which is excellent and I highly recommend it. (watch it here:) But my friend and pastor, Nirup articulated it so well.
When we're accused of being called a Day Dreamer its not always because its bad (although not all dreams are good - Hitler dreamt of setting up a new Paris in Berlin!) it could be because there's so many people who've let their own dreams die and the thought of our dreams scare them! We were reminded to be careful of who we share our dreams with, for the sake that people might try to get us to change our minds or cause us to doubt, even lay our own dreams down to settle into a life of numbess. We were also shown the life of a man who had a dream that changed not only his world, but his brothers' lives, and the rest of history. In the story of Joseph, Nirup was good to remind us its not just about dreams coming true and God being a God who grants all dreams and desires of our hearts (sometimes he doesnt) BUT its a story of HIS GLORY and how he showed himself faithful in Joseph's life and He would do that in Israelite's lives as well as ours.
There's a quote Nirup referenced this Sunday from Jim Cymbala's Fresh Wind Fresh Fire book that says "I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without ever seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf" and I can totally agree...
Have you heard that saying "Comfort is where dreams go to die"?Perhaps this is where the uneasiness of life crawls in. . .
If you're anything like me you WANT to live for something bigger and greater than yourself. You dont want to just live to get through a day job. Thousands and thousands of people spend billions of dollards each and every year trying to find the next "fix" that will solve their uneasyness with life. They want to know how to reach their dreams, that corner office, to be fulfilled with more money, or a life based off of simplicity and solitude... there are quick fixess and there are great applications that are actually worthy of diving into, just for the sake of being healthy!! But when you've reached the corner office, the top place of your company, the perfect family with a white picket fence and 2.5 kids a dog and a red wagon, or perhaps checked off the 40th country you've visited and theres somehow still that uneasy "thing" you cannot fill. . . perhaps its worth considering its not supposed to be filled by anything but a relationship with the one who created you!
For me, the thought that my life might slip by without ever seeing God show himself mightily hit home! There's a quote that Bob Goff, author of Love Does (if you havent read that book BTW, its life-changing and one of the most fun, inspiring, and encouraging books I've ever read - a MUST READ:) Anyways, he says "I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me; but NOW Im more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter" which is another huge home hitting thought.
So when my life seems comfortable and everything feels pretty simple or easy, I think that could be why I tend to feel uneasy. Thankfully I'm not seeking drama and never have been attracted towards this type of rolloercoaster living, but it does make me look at life a little deeper and perhaps with a lens looking inward. What am I living for? Where am I building something greater than me? What is my dream and is it taking the place of my relationship with God, or is it spurring me on for more of him to show up in crazy awesome ways??
The totally freaked out part comes in the fear that I might fail. All of those "what ifs", doubts and questions can be overwhelming for sure! When you find yourself dreaming about them, or waking up to them, even thinking through all the possibility of self doubt, hate or condemning questions, dont you feel the negativity? Its in moments like this, that startling moment awake from a crazy dream, or the thoughts the spiral down, where my sensors go off! Those thoughts? I know aren't true or helpful, and while some of these "fears" above may or may not come true, when or IF they ever come to pass I know I will be able to handle them then and there, because the strength I walk in comes not through my own strength but the strength we're promised in God's word.
It says "my power is made perfect in your weakness" in 2nd Cor 12:9 and Isaiah 40:29 says "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" It also warns us that "the enemy has come to steal kill and destroy" in John 10:10, BUT (yes theres a but!:) "BUT Jesus has come to give life and life to the full!"
So think about it... If stealing, killing, and destroying comes from the evil one, wouldnt that invoke a sense of FEAR too? I've often hear of the description of the enemy being a chained up dog or scary lion - his bark or raor might be intimidating, but thats all it is. Because it ultimately cannot touch you. FEAR is false evidence appearing real! And because most the fears we live with are some thing to do with a fear for the future, we can rest knowing most of them wont come to pass, but if they do we will be able to handle them! One thing I have to remind myself of now, today, is that somehow in this journey of life, I've managed to survive through at least a few years functioning well but it hasnt been by my ability to soar through life, and its solely been through HIS strength propelling me forward. I've had to protect my mind from lies of the enemy and despire not wanting to ever fail, it is OKAY if that happens. Its the only way to make you stronger and better is by trying again. Failing doesn't make you less of a person, it just means you tried!
When you're going through some of these same questions, perhaps its good to also remember the very truth about who you are and how much our God loves you and is for you!
Think about this: if we spent more time self-LOVING and believing the positive GOOD turths about ourselves, rather than doubting and self-hating, we might see and live among a stronger sense of community too where people are FOR one-another and for their successes too (rather than a dog-eat-dog world)
Here's your instructions: Read this once. Then read it again! and again... until you can destroy those other thoughts:
You are valuable.When the uneasyness comes, or the voice in the mirror tells you you're not enough or reasons why you need to be fearful, tell that liar to get behind you.
You are worthy.
You have a calling, and yoe were made for more.
He has a plan and is gloriously at work behind the scenes.
TRUST HIM. He is good.
He is FOR you. He died for you that you might live!
Let him be your strength and guide.
He wants the best for you, he is FOR you and not against you and has a plan and a purpose!
His dreams for you are far beyond what you could ask hope or imagine....
He's given you permission to dream and wants you to thrive!
You are Brave!
You can get through this, and you are stronger than you think
There's a great leader and teacher named Andy Stanley whom I've learned from well: "pay attention to the tension" and once you examine that tension, IF you are telling yourself the truth, and living your best for TODAY, and the tension isn't something you need to address, remind yourself that God might just be setting up the stage for his glory to show off, and he's got you!
Thankful for this reminder, I dont have to be totally freaked out... its just some thoughts not of me I get to tell be quiet to. So when the fear creeps in or tells you otherwise, tell that enemy Jesus' has your back, so back off!
And PS. The thought from the dream and the voice who whispered before those other thoughts overwhelmed your soul was HIS gentle reminder telling you his thoughts before any of the other thoughts came to be... Learn to trust his sweet voice, it never changes, and He is jealous for you!!!