It’s funny how our very beings are hard-wired to be walking contradictions. Our hearts are small but mighty…and yet they are startlingly weak. Even one stress signal from the brain, one more than usual, can send the heart into a world of problems. Speaking of the brain, it helps us function. Without brain signals, our bodies would do nothing and we wouldn’t be able to speak. Yet, a few seemingly insignificant chemicals out of balance, a few wires in the brain (metaphorically) being out of place, can send us spiraling into emotional sickness which renders us low-functioning – depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD, other illnesses.
Our souls contradict themselves every second of every day, as well. We crave the warmth of sunlight, yet we run straight into the cold, murderous recesses of the darkness. We welcome the night, while lamenting the fact that we can’t see the morning break from where we are.
We profess Jesus with our lips, but we chase sins and idols with our hearts, and while we claim to want freedom…sometimes we don’t really mean it. We hope for circumstances to change, but with no inspiration and no visible light, we make no leaps of faith towards the passions which make us come alive.
Sometimes, I get caught somewhere in the middle. It’s like being stuck in some freaky limbo between the night and the day, where the stars have faded and the moon sinks, but the sun has yet to rise, and everything has gone pitch black. The night can seem so beautiful…until the total darkness engulfs, when it becomes terrifying and eerie and everything nobody wants from the night.
Two different vacations in three years have done very different things. Kenosha opened my eyes to just how real the love of God is – and it terrified me. I ran from it, straight back into the darkness, where I had made a little hole of comfort with newspapers for blankets. Only, I discovered that my hole had been covered and my newspapers had blown away in the wind. So I was left naked and alone in the darkness once again. Over the following two years, I would have the privilege of seeing the daylight once in awhile, and would make the choice to stay in it – only to discover that it almost seemed to be a false daylight, or a day that passed too quickly, like Christmas or a birthday or a single day with a friend you haven’t seen in years.
Then there was Nashville, where I could tangibly feel the love of the Body, not just the love of Christ. And for once, I couldn’t run. The company I was in simply wouldn’t have allowed it. It was like waking up all over again.
Being in Nashville felt like the breaking of dawn and the brightness of day. The sun, though it hurt my eyes after so long in the darkness, rose clear and beautiful, and although there was a mist in the air (the kind that hangs on the trees between Memphis and Nashville), I could finally start to see clearly. I felt like maybe, just maybe, it was possible for all these dreams God has laid on my heart to come to life.
Of course, in Nashville, I wasn’t preoccupied with the daily struggles of life. I was just living. I was there two days – and then it was a long and dramatic drive back to Texas. Reality setting in – no job, no education (beyond an Associates), nothing that society can use to deem me as worthy of respect or “success”. The light of day passed very quickly, as did the part of the night where God still seems tangibly present – where the stars and the moon are beautiful and can light the way. It was quickly replaced by the pitch black and the fear – the sort of fear that grips your stomach and your lungs simultaneously and hisses its lies into your ear when no one is looking.
The key here is that we’re supposed to fight back, to believe better things, that God is moving us through these seasons and these times. That we are in the wilderness to come out with renewed strength, better faith. Job did it – why can’t we? But it doesn’t always seem that simple, does it? Faith isn’t simple as child’s play. For our human minds, having to see everything and know everything, faith tends to be a complex matter – especially as we strive to run so far from God that resolving to return to His embrace can entail mountains of self-control and rebuke of lies previously believed.
The other problem, here, is what society deems as “worthy”. By no means do I have much societal worth. But how I’m seen by Jesus – valuable, loved, needed, crucial to the story He’s writing, even as a dot on a planet populated by billions…
If I were to strive to believe that every day, if I were to quiet my cries of despair in the darkness long enough to hear Him calling me into the light…well, it would be very different.
I want to love people intentionally and accept love from them. I want to smile and laugh without force, to enjoy the company of everyone I’m with. I want to live with purpose, and I want to do whatever God has for my life, no matter how nerve-wracking and terrifying it can be at the time – because, after all, fear is just a lie. I want to keep coming alive. I want to keep waking up.
Keep me where the light is.