When God Doesn't Feel Safe

9:31 AMHeather

So, I'm reading this book by Christine Caine called Undaunted: Daring to Do what God Calls You to Do.  It's awesome and mind blowing and fabulous.  Except for one thing.  Apparently, to become undaunted you actually have to face that which feels daunting to you.  

Oh.

I gotta be honest.  I put the book away for a bit, doing the proverbial placing my fingers in my ears and saying, "la la la, I'm not listening".  Which means, I drowned my denial in approximately 43 episodes of Nashville on Hulu during the last few days weeks instead of pressing on with the hard read.

Now completely caught up on two seasons of said television show, the book has sorta beckoned me back.  Alright already.  I might as well just face it.  So I jumped back in.  And the next three chapters set off a bit of a firestorm of emotions and apparently some truths that have come to light.  

I believe Angie Smith best described it in her book I Will Carry You.  Okay.  Here I go.  Deep breath and then I will admit it.

God does not feel safe to me.  He just doesn't.  I've thought it was all rather rooted in this current season of waiting.  Our family is waiting for something we've all been praying for over the last two plus years.  The domino effect of waiting has begun to pick up speed in other areas of our life, leaving a wake and a frustration.  Because the resolution we thought we'd long ago have seen has yet to come.  

Waiting is a recurring theme to me.  Because I have some dreams and thoughts and hopes that, to be honest, took root within me when I was seven-years-old.  And they just keep growing deeper roots, hardly breaking the surface of the soil to grow bigger and stronger as I expected.  

The restlessness within me is growing.  So much so that the other night, I could hardly sleep.  Have you ever sat in a waiting room for so stinking long that you just about lose your religion over the frenzy that explodes?  You know--others come in long after you and get called on back WAY before you?  You have read every decent magazine.  Checked your watch a jillion times.  Counted the ceiling tiles.  Paced the floor.  And approached the receptionist as many times as you dare.  She has no idea when it's your turn and to be honest, you sense her growing hostility toward your inability to wait.  

THAT is me.  Emotionally, I am pacing and waiting and trying to be patient.  But, I'm over it.  I've prayed, begged, pled and tried.  Oh, I've really tried.  I'm not doing well here, in this quiet waiting room.  

Here is the analogy I gave my cousin.  (Yes, I know.  I just offered an analogy.  Here's another....)  Okay, before I say it, just another side note.  This is my third airport themed blog post this week.  I recognize it.  I have been told to write from experience.  Now you know what this past summer was like for me.  Not to mention that two weeks from today, I board a plane for Belize and my first ever mission trip outside the states.

So, I told my cousin that I feel like I am standing in the middle of a big airport with a huge departure sign in front of me.  I see all sorts of exciting and enticing destinations.  So many possibilities.  So many places I want to go and things I want to do.  Except for one thing.  

I have no idea where to buy a ticket.  I have no idea how to buy a ticket.  I see no ticket agent.  I see no way to get from looking at the destinations to actually doing what it takes to get there.  


Maybe you can relate.  You see destinations like parenthood or pregnancy.  Maybe marriage or the dream job.  Perhaps the destinations are dreams you have for your kids.  Or ways to use your talents.  Maybe your destination is just getting past the current crisis.  

Today, it hit me as I've wrestled this restlessness and battle fatigue from waiting.  The bottom line is this. God doesn't feel safe to me.

I want to be undaunted.  I want to do what I think God has called me to do.  But it's daunting.  And what feels daunting to me is dealing with the bitter truth that God doesn't feel safe and I don't completely trust him.

There.  I said it.  And for the record, I'm not telling you anything I haven't already told God.  Oh, my prayer journal has pages of frantic script from earlier today.  I know intellectually in my head that God is good and works all things for my good.  I know he has a plan and is in control.  And I am repeating these truths in rapid mantras these days, in this waiting room, staring at that departure board.  

But my heart is still wrapping itself around it.  Because I don't completely trust God and it makes these surprise waiting times feel totally uncomfortable to me.  Rather than paraphase it, I'll just be raw and offer you excerpts from my prayer journal today:

I know you love me and you have surprises and simply want me to trust you and not be so guarded.  You don't want me freaking out because I want control.  The truth is that you don't feel safe.  You just don't.  You feel punitive and I'm afraid.  I'm afraid that you take precious sacred things away and use pain to make your point.  My heart was broken.  It all feels so complicated--what I know in my head, what I think I know in my heart--and I suppose this scar tissue from old trials.  I thought my struggles right now were about waiting.  But, I suppose the scar tissue from old pains goes way back.  Because I trusted you with my Dad.  And he died.  I trusted you in that black hole afterward, and things got worse.  Human relationships got complicated or just plain disappeared.  It left me feeling cheated.  I've trusted you as I took on new paths and new things and new seasons.  And my heart is bruised and torn from the battles...It feels cruel and silent in this waiting room.  And I'm just plain mad.  At you.  Because you don't feel safe.  Because I'm on guard for the next disappointment, the next sucker punch.  Like some cruel cosmic joke.  I'm grumbling in this wilderness.  Saying, "what now?"  I have these dreams and ideas and hopes and gifts and feel no direction on how to get anywhere with them.  

To be honest, you feel bipolar to me.  You are teaching me so much about grace yet you feel unsafe in the silent and cruel waiting.  Listen, I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.  I'm just gonna lay it out there...because I feel a bit crazy.  On the one hand, you are peeling back layers and helping me see grace and freedom...while I still feel tied up with the waiting.  I'm tired...I'm guarded and unsure.  But I want to be freed completely.  I really do WANT to be undaunted.  I want to run hard and fast and undeterred, fixing my eyes on you.  

Help my unbelief.  Heal my pain and wounds and disappointments.  My bruises and deep cuts.  Remove the scar tissue from old hurts.  Calm the storm in me.  Silence the accuser.  Show up strong here, in my weaknesses.  Crumble my defenses and grudges and skepticisms and fears and self-protection.  So now, I am going to be like Joshua and the Israelites.  I'm marching around the walls and shouting.  Crumble these impossible walls.  Bring me true freedom.  Help me leave the past behind.  Lord, I am crying out freedom.  Give me the ticket and instructions for the Promised Land.  It all feels so daunting.  I long to be undaunted.  

I'll keep at it.  I'll keep working to trust you and deal with my sense that you aren't safe.  Learning to trust your heart when I can't see your hand...learning to believe that you are safe even when you don't FEEL like it.  Hear my prayers.  Let's do this!

Listen, bloggy friends, if you feel that God isn't safe.  If you aren't sure you can trust him and you are staring at a departure board of unfilled longings and dreams, you aren't alone.  

Even the hardest waiting rooms aren't so daunting when we sit together.      

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