Pulling Threads and Puzzle Pieces And Dreaming Big Things

8:35 PMHeather

The weather has matched my mood this week.  The dreary cold and sleet that shut us in. I must admit that I've felt moody. Tenative. Appropriately introspective and lazy and unsure. 

Just sitting in the warmth of my home with my people. Contemplative. A bit undone, honestly. Tired and worn, ragged around the edges.  I'm not really sure about it all, but I think it's because of this glorious unraveling that's been going on in me. I really can't pinpoint where it started or how it started. Perhaps it's always been in the wings, slowly playing out within me, just below the radar. For all that I don't know, I am quite sure the why of it.

Because it's high time I quit playing around with religion. It's time I quit doing the right things with a performance mentality. Perfecting the art of legalism. It's time I quit living safely, in my holy huddle. Doing the same things. Getting the same outcome.

Because, I'm learning, there is so much more to life. There is so much more to living out our faith. There is so much more to discovering the depths of God's grace.  There is so much more than being Martha. Who was busy and distracted with "all the preparations that had to be done." And all of it--all of her doing and busy-ness led to one result. Jesus said she was "worried and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:38-42).

I'm tired. I'm tired of being worried and troubled and busy and distracted.

I'm tired of being Martha. I'm tired of living up to some expectation, either expectations imposed by others or simply from within myself. I'm tired of living behind a facade of goodness and achieving and impressing.

It's exhausting. 

To keep trying to be someone who has so much to do and people to impress and preparations and tasks, fueled and filled with self-importance.

I'm tired.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, I've begun to appreciate the beauty of Mary. Sweet Mary. As in Martha's sister. The one I've previously considered as, well...lazy. The one who didn't help out when guests showed up. Because she was just sitting around.

Except she wasn't just sitting around.

I'm beginning to see that.

She was sitting at the feet of Jesus, as students of that day did for their trusted Rabbi. Getting dirty from the dirt of the teacher's feet, in such close proximity so as to not miss a single word. A single pearl of wisdom and insight.

To be perfectly frank, I used to resent Mary.

But I've learned to envy her. And I'm still learning how to emulate her.  To put down my striving. To lay aside my agenda. To embrace my absolute brokenness and inability and inadequacy and be comfortably uncomfortable with it. 

I'm learning.  I'm learning how to be perfectly imperfect.

And I think that the last few days I've just felt such a weight for one very good reason.  Because I can sense it.  I can nearly taste it. I've caught some foggy glimpses of it. I'm on the verge of some freedoms. Some break throughs.

There, just ahead, like a vague shadow behind a fog. 

The new things that call to me.  Learning to bask in the applause of heaven instead of seeking the applause of fickle man. Asking, indeed begging at times, that God would help me to fear him properly, asking him to teach me how to do that. Because I'm seeing that if I could properly fear God then all other fears lose their hold on me.

I'm realizing that if I could fear God and perceive his BIGNESS, all else will shrink into proper perspective. Including my own sense of self-importance.  Because I see how my self-importance gets in the way. It leads me to bow up continually, asserting my rights and my agenda and my timing and my ideas. In the line at the post office. With the small inconveniences and delays in daily life.  With the bigger things as well. All too often I flippantly exchange joy and peace for the temporary fleeting problems that all fall firmly into the category of first world problems.

And that. THAT is perhaps where the unraveling first began. When my eyes began to be opened to the true suffering in the world. When I began to see beyond my little first world Americanized puny faith. I've struggled to articulate it. But then, I heard Jen Hatmaker use the term "pulling the thread" to describe the journey from sitting safely on our church pews to learning to live out the gospel with passion and boldness. When God messes with you big time. Interrupts your easy-go-lucky life to bring you through a brutiful reckoning.  A breaking of your mediocrity and your apathy.

To give you eyes to see what we were made to see. To break your heart for what breaks him. And in the undoing, somewhere along the way, a freedom has begun to take hold. A sense of realizing that there is so much freeing truth that I have never grasped. 

My husband and I were in the car the other day, driving during an amazing sunset. And I was humbled. A sense of peace and joy bubbled up as I silently prayed and finally admitted, "Lord, what if I've never really gotten you? I think I've had you all wrong. All this time. All my life. I've seen you as some demanding God, controlling me like a puppet, requiring my performance and rule following. But I'm beginning to see. I'm beginning to grasp that you are indeed a God bigger than I could ever comprehend. With a joy and delight for me that I cannot fathom. And all you want is ME. To say yes to whatever adventures you have for me. To take me to new places. And to do new things. I do believe. Help my unbelief! Keep teaching me." 

I don't even know if I'm making sense here. I'm trying to put into words all that he is teaching me. The way my eyes have been open to things I've never seen or learned in a lifetime in the church. To the blessings and favor he has for me when I dare to say yes to new things. To dream with him instead of trying to convince him to say yes to my dreams.  It all leads me to just keep pulling the thread. 

It finally dawned on me to quit describing these random dots that I can't find the connection between and to ACTUALLY write them down in a note on my phone. And there it was. The random parts of pulling the thread--those things that have begun to burden me and to capture my attention and my heart. Coupled with my talents and gifts and bents that maybe, just maybe will all fit together toward something God has been doing in me all along. 

What if? Just what if God actually has a master plan all along to use my bents and my passions and my time and talents to impact his kingdom and the problems I'm beginning to see? What if it all fits together somehow in some new thing he has in mind?

And so, here you go. Deep breaths. As I throw it all out there. To the entire world wide web. I'm letting you all in, bloggy friends. To the deep and wide and wild thoughts in this journey of pulling the thread.

My career in adoption. My heart for the fatherless. After all, I am fatherless myself. My own grief leading to such a tendering for others who grieve. Knowing birth families and adoptive families in domestic adoption. And then international adoption work. Seeing orphans worldwide. Meeting orphans who aren't orphans because they all have families who cannot raise them. Who have abused and neglected them, perpetuating horrendous family cycles. And orphan prevention by equipping families in poverty to be the parents their children need. A growing heart for seeing families who are whole. For seeing solutions for children in third world country where they can live in a family setting, be educated, be fed, and be equipped to reach into their own culture, into their own nations, and be empowered to evoke change for their own people. A fresh awakening recently for the plight of refugees and those who have previously been rather invisible to me, in my own backyard.  

My own experiences as a social worker. My passion to write and to create and to design and to make something from nothing. My desire to speak and to teach and to give and to be a world changer. My natural abilities to organize and to plan and to lead.

I don't know. I don't know where all this beautiful undoing and unraveling and rebuilding is leading me. But, I do know that I don't want to be the same. I don't want to be left as I am. I'm growing ever more uncomforable with the status quo.

All I see is puzzle pieces. Jagged, unclear. Random.

And sometimes, I am tired. Sometimes, it feels exhausting.

But then, I remember who has the final picture on the puzzle box of how it all fits together.

And I am learning that for all I think I know about God, it's just the tip of the iceberg.

He is so much more and so much deeper and so much grander than I can begin to grasp.

Life is indeed a journey. 

And I'm ready for the new paths.

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