week one

The first week of 2013 has been a bit of a roller coaster for me. Sometimes I feel hopeful about the future, and other times I feel entirely hopeless for no reason whatsoever...than perhaps this:

More often than not, I am afraid.

Afraid of what, I cannot say. I don't really know why. Perhaps it's still a bit of melancholy about the holidays being over and the cold, dreary weather setting in, but I think...no, I know...it's more than that. You see, I've always been a deep thinker and deep feeler. Whatever it is, whether joy or sorrow, seeps down into my bones until I ache with it. And during times like this when life is good and all should be at peace in my heart, I find that I'm on edge when I shouldn't be and stir crazy when I have plenty to keep me busy. 

Today, Andy started a new series called "Breathing Room" and he talked a lot about having margin in our lives...about having room to breathe. That's why God created the Sabbath. He knew we would need to rest. I think we often find ourselves feeling like there's so much to do in so little time, and we run ourselves ragged as a result. We fear slowing down because we think it means failure. We think we won't catch up. 

But who are we chasing? What are we running after?

Andy said we do things out of fear, not faith. We think if we can just achieve this standard, or just reach that goal, then everything will work out in our favor. Then we won't have to be afraid of not paying our bills or wearing the latest fashion or keeping up with Joneses. But it's that very fear that keeps us enslaved to what we pursue. We aren't really free when we're afraid. We're always waiting for the other shoe to drop because we think we have to control everything around us. 

Well, I'm tired of trying to control everything. I want all my relationships to be healthy and for our finances to be perfectly in order and for our house to stay clean and for my life to be pretty. I want, I want, I want...

But the truth is...I'm exhausted. 

I need breathing room not because I can't make the time or take a break. I work at home now for goodness sake. I can do pretty much whatever I want. But it can be challenging because I'm easily distracted by one thing or another. And then I find myself sort of wandering through my days with no real direction until I become listless and downtrodden and, ultimately, full of fear about where my life is headed.

My problem is not that I'm running too fast after things that don't matter. It's that I'm paralyzed where I stand because I don't want to run after things that don't matter. So I stay here where it's safe...where I won't make a mistake...where even fear begins to feel like home.

I've made myself a castle of fear and locked myself in the tower. All my life I've longed to be a woman who loves Jesus and loves others, and I've sought to become that person. I'm not always good at it, and I'm entirely too hard on myself. But, somehow, I've come to believe that if I worry and if I fret and if I tread carefully I won't disappoint anyone, including myself, and I won't fail at being like Christ.

The good news is I'm beginning to understand that living this way is the exact opposite of living like Christ. 

He had more to fear than anyone else. He was an innocent man whose friends turned against Him. Whose own people had him tortured and murdered. Who died so that we would not have to.

If I'm always afraid of messing up, how can I ever fully appreciate His grace? How will His death and resurrection ever matter to me? How can I become more like Him if I reject my need for His love and mercy?

I cannot save myself. I can only look to Him...in every day and every minute for the rest of my life.

Jesus- my love, my friend, my Savior- is the answer to my fear. And He will take me where I need to go. I don't have to find the way on my own...or stay here in this tower as life passes by. 

I imagine Jesus standing outside the tower door, whispering to me, saying, "My love, you don't have to stay in there. The door is not locked. Come out. Let me take you away from here."

So I'm about to open the door. I'm about to take His hand. And I am not afraid any longer.