my roommate said something completely brilliant to me yesterday. i was texting him from work (i know, bad bad) wondering when he was going to be home. wondering how long i had to wait to find out that the letter still hadn’t come. that’s kinda where i am right now. how long do i have to wait to find the mailbox is empty? yeah.
anyway. we got to talking. about my stressful week and things that were stressing me out. and he said this to me: “just gotta find that one thing that keeps you happy and retreat into it, even if for just a moment”
it was like a kick in the face. what IS that one thing that keeps me happy? where did it go? what about my life has changed so much that i’m now unhappy?
nothing about my life has really changed. i never really actually HAVE any money. i’m working. i’m running. i’m biking. i’m listening to music. i’m writing. LIFE. IS. THE. SAME.
so what changed? where is that one thing that keeps me happy?
and i realized. it’s hidden. in plain sight. God is the ‘thing’ that keeps me happy. in all this stress, i acknowldged that He is indeed in charge. everything WILL work out. but i still was losing my mind. i forgot to retreat in it, retreat into His arms. and the best part is that it doesn’t have to be for just a moment. it can be all the time. i never ACTUALLY have to leave.
it doesn’t mean that life is going to be easy. or painless. in fact, quite the opposite. life will be SO much more difficult now because i have standards, HIGH standards for my life. when i want something that is either not good for me or doesn’t glorify God, i have to say no. when i’m tempted, i have to say no. i have to take charge of every thought and examine it. but i’m not alone. ever. i always have God there helping me out. i always have some massively huge and loving arms to retreat to whenever life gets too tough.
and when i do screw up, i have someone waiting to forgive me.
but not always to simply pardon me. often, there are other things that i need to do. out of simple obedience. because my life isn’t mine anymore. it doesn’t belong to me. it was purchased with the HIGHEST of costs. the cost of the blood of God himself. and if i’m willing to embrace a free gift, then i need to be willing to embrace what comes along with it. even when it’s hard. even when it’s uncomfortable. even when i have to humble myself and admit to people i’m wrong.
even when i have to write letters to former spiritual authorities/leaders in my life and tell them that even though i was young and dumb, my actions were unacceptable. even though i didn’t know how to deal with what was going on in my head, my actions were STILL unacceptable. i have a letter sitting on my kitchen counter right now that i’m mailing today. yes, handwritten. to someone that i’ve been angry with or bitter towards for 6 years now. maybe even more. someone who i did not give the respect to that he deserved. because i was young. i was angry. i felt wronged somehow. and i took it out on him. i don’t know if i hurt him, but i can’t imagine that i didn’t. that letter took 2 weeks to write. just to write. it took a LOT longer for the courage to write.
there have been several people to who i’ve owed some kind of amends. this letter is number 3 on the list of 4. letter number 4 is going to be exceptionally difficult. because i KNOW i’ve hurt this person. probably as much as this person has hurt me. and lots of things need to be said. i need to apologize for LOTS of things. and it’s going to be hard. but, one of my amends emailed me back. which i didn’t really expect. i figured that this person would, but i didn’t want to expect anything. and what said person had to say was so encouraging. so much so that i’m sharing it all with you. and you’d understand if you read the ten thousand page email i sent. ok, not QUITE that long, but it was long. i felt a little bad sending such a long email because i don’t really like to get long emails. haha. so much concentration to read them. but anyway, the reply:
So great to hear from you!!!
Wow! God’s fingerprints are all over your life. Thanks so much for sharing.
You are, in fact, one of the greatest counselees I have had. Your story is an encouragement to me to keep doing what I do. Yes, it can be discouraging as people come to me for counseling and are not in a position to take to heart things shared at that time. Yet you are a powerful reminder that God’s word does accomplish what it was set out to do. But it will accomplish it in His time, not my time.
Though I never felt wronged by you, it was so sad to watch you wander around lost. So close to the truth, yet so far.
With much love,
PS Keep me informed of your next steps.
i didn’t expect to hear that. and i think that’s what really pushed me to write these last two really really difficult letters. what keeps my motivation to do them even as my life seems to fall apart before my eyes. even as the rug is ripped out.
but i have arms to retreat into. and they’re always there. they’re not dependent on me not working, or someone else not working. and so, i ‘just gotta find that one thing that keeps me happy and retreat into it, even if for just a moment’