Still Waters Amidst the Chaos

Challenge & Revelation, Life updates

 Grieving at any point in life is difficult. Only someone who has gone through it can accurately describe it. It’s like wading through a dark, swampy forest, longing for the sun to rise and burn off the thick fog you’re trying to escape from. You don’t know where the sun will rise but hope its different from any other time before. The memories comfort yet suffocate you. Searching for relief, you’re exhausted.

Recently, my grandfather passed away 3 weeks after he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The circumstances came and went like an unforeseen tragedy, leaving us drowning in the wake.

He was the first grandparent and father lost – just two weeks away from Thanksgiving. Not one person felt normal or complete. The season’s joyous spirit felt superficial at a time like this. Some eventually accepted this as the new reality and busied themselves, absorbing others’ Christmas cheer and attempting to pass it on. The rest were left seeking whatever could be found to keep the reality settling in their heart.

God urges and reminds us our choices (no matter how seemingly small) have a lasting impact on our future. What are you running to for fulfillment? What substance(s) are you using to drown your sorrows?

“I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly.. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:1, 3, 10-15 ‭ESV‬‬

If it had not been for the prayer warriors hedging me in during my season of grieving or the friends that simply took the time to listen and invest in my heart; I would not be writing this. I too, sought outside fulfillment in my brief period of grief/denial.

Everyone grieves differently. Ecclesiastes 3 encourages us there is a time for everything. Weeping, praising, searching, mending, and stillness.

Many in this generation have become fixated on social media, often causing them to entertain the meaningless. Through some’s time of grief they may bury themselves in other’s lives, longing for their friends’ highlight reels midst their dark hour. Others are left pining for the love they lost, seeking from those not worthy to capture their heart. Both of these circumstances point to a haughty heart: one too proud to submit to Christ in their moment of weakness, fear, and hurt.

“Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is? You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:21-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In every season, there are times to feel weak, angry, and sad, but in that storm Christ calls us to say: “Through it all, you are still good.” This is easier said then done. How do we focus on the still water when ensued by chaos?

Locked on Vulnerability

Challenge & Revelation, Life updates

LockedA comment from my last post: “Yes, we act on insecurities and/or assume that others think like us – both self defeating in many instances. The key (I believe) is to keep an open heart. You are well on your way of figuring this out, it is never an easy path. I admire your introspection, honesty and openness on the topic. You are brave pioneer!”

How do we keep an open heart in a world that offers confusion and pain? If I wall myself up from everyone and everything, am I denying myself the opportunity to live life and the purpose of it?

These past few months have not been a walk in the park. Many changes have occurred and with a few around the corner, well, let’s just say they are crashing over me like a tidal wave and I’m being carried out to sea. While parts of being an adult feel natural, others areas leave me drowning.

A couple of months ago, the reason I moved to Chicago shifted gears. I knew I was no longer going to be along for the ride, but it was an awkward transition and I was hurt. I didn’t understand everything (nor did I need to) but when something that becomes so much of your identity leaves, you kind of feel like you’re walking around with a blank name tag. It was like I was walking around with “I don’t know who I am anymore” stamped on my forehead.

That’s when the “check heart priorities” light came on and I knew I needed to hit the floor. (figuratively, of course.)

You see, I had let my identity become something else other than God. I had every intention of honoring God in the ministry I was doing but I had shifted my focus off of Him. After this recent life change, I had allowed my heart to harden. Subconsciously, fear whispered, “You can’t trust working for a ministry. All people will ever do is take advantage of you. Working for a secular job would give you better pay anyways. They’ll respect who you are.”

When we begin to rely on ourselves because we feel we can no longer trust others, our focus has shifted. Having an open heart is not being dependent on yourself. Having an open heart is when you trust someone else with your heart and are secure enough in your own identity to love them anyway. I don’t know about you, but I am not that secure!

I do know someone who can protect my heart and never let me down, though.