I’ve always needed to learn to relax. I’ve always been too uptight and worried. Part of learning to TRUST God is relaxing and living in your own skin.
I don’t do this often, but this is a direct excerpt from my journal about relaxing and trusting God. It is very reflective, and not polished, so it won’t be for everyone, but it is my heart and one of the impacts of my sabbatical…
On the plane from Brussels to DC there was a musician kid, mid 20s, who had long hair and a scruffy beard. I watched him. He had kind eyes and a kind face. He was so comfortable in his own skin.
I could tell by his interactions with the other passengers that he was kind, thoughtful of others, and he was very comfortable with himself and had nothing to prove.
At one point during the flight he got cold and pulled down his faded canvas back pack. When he pulled out his sweater I thought to myself, “I knew it. I knew he would have a sweater like that.” Large knit, colorful, large 3/4 sleeves.
The fascination for me was he was so comfortable with who he was that it never occurred to him to try to be someone else.
I want to be like that. I want to be oblivious to pressures to conform to convention and just relax in who I am in Christ and the unique purposes God has prepared for me. I want to reach for the divine revelations that draw me and simply be oblivious to the observations of the gallery. I want to rely upon the purity of my heart and my sincere desire to please God, and reach for the things in my heart and not give a… ummm… concern myself with what anyone thinks… Not because I don’t care about them, but because it just simply does not occur to me that anyone should have a problem or an interest in what I love and what brings me joy and makes me happy in the pursuit of God’s will.
I might just keep the beard. I might just wear my Italian hat a lot. I might just laugh and dream and chase shooting stars in the same way I chased lightning bugs when I was a kid. In the darkness waiting for the flash, then running toward where I saw the brief flash and finding the lightning bug hovering in the darkness. I would harvest the little bugs and place them in a glass jar with holes poked in the metal lid so they could breathe.
We searched for the bugs with abandon. We had nothing else to do in the moment beyond dreading the bedtime clock that would soon call us in. We did not give a thought about tomorrow, or pay checks or bills or groceries, at least I didn’t. In those moments all seemed right with the world. It just made me happy to chase those bugs, for absolutely no redeeming purpose.
That was almost 50 years ago. I lost the wonder somewhere along the way. Life got serious and cluttered and painful. Nope, I’m not Peter Pan, so life isn’t going to be all of that…but where’s the joy? Do I have to wait for retirement before I can accomplish what I really want to accomplish? Do I wish the time would pass more quickly, or perhaps I should position myself with the kind of life that will hope for more time. A life that dreads the bedtime clock because I am thoroughly enjoying what I’m doing. What is that worth?
Yep, as I write, we are sitting at a coffee shop. I’m drinking a Chai Latte, at least I was until a few minutes ago when I finished it. I’m wearing an orange shirt, white plaid shorts, hiking sandals, a blue Italian flat hat, and carrying a faded canvas bag. I’m typing on my iPad.
I know what I want to do with my life.
I want to lay my head on Abba (*Abba is a word for Father used in the New Testament which has, for me, the English equivalent of “Daddy”) Father’s chest and listen to his heartbeat.
To listen for the things important to Him.
To hear his heart.
Then I want to do what his heart instructs.
That’s it! That’s all!
If I can do that, and do it well, then I will dread the call of the bedtime clock. I will love every moment. Doesn’t mean there won’t be pain, challenges, losses, regrets, sadness, and real struggles sometimes… But there will be joy, a joy that I will not want to end.
I know what I want to do with my life… I know what I hear in the father’s heartbeat.
All that I’ve written on trust (in my journal) has taught me that I will not have much direction beyond just chasing the next flash of light in the darkness, but when I get there, I’ll find the source of light hovering in the darkness, and when I see it I will smile with excitement, I will reach out and lay hold and put it in my jar.
I was born to listen to Abba Father’s heart. I was born to hear. I was born to obey what I heard. To write it down. To put the voice of Abba Father in resources that will help other people understand his heart and experience the joy of becoming like Jesus.
I am going to run into the darkness toward the flash of light that I see. I will not know why, I’ll just chase the light. Maybe I’ll make lightning bug soup, or put them on display in my jar, maybe I’ll turn them loose so I can chase them again on another summer night.
On my journey of loss and pain, in my darkest moments, in the moments I wanted to just give up, the heartbeat of God would speak to me, saying, “I almost have you where I want you.” Those words gave me courage, because if God had not given up on me, I was encouraged to just keep going.
On our first day back in the United States, while pondering all of these things, I heard the heartbeat of the Father again, this time saying, “NOW I have you where I want you.” I wept hard. Finally!
And I realized something I never knew or thought of. I realized that the place Abba wanted me to be was a place of brokenness where I was ready to start. I had suspected it to be a place of arrival, but I found the place Abba wanted me to be was a place of beginning… A place where I was ready and willing to obey.
A place where I was comfortable in my own skin.
A place where I was willing to move forward with only a brief flash of light in the darkness.
A place of trust, and not a place of clarity to know all of the details of the journey.
A place of joy. A place of gratitude. A place of trust.
Listen to me world…
… I am exactly, right now who Abba wants me to be. I am in the exact place Abba wants me to be. I know exactly what he wants me to do right now… And he will help me.
What I don’t know… I don’t know the doors that will open, I don’t know where I will end up, I don’t know what is next after I start doing what he’s told me… But, I don’t need to know. That is not my business.
You see, Abba knows when I will take my last breath and he knows what I need up until that time. He knows what I am to accomplish, he knows the paths I must take, or at least the ones he wants me to take.
I WILL LOOK FOR THE FLASHES IN THE DARKNESS, and there I will find the treasure hovering in the darkness. When I lay hold of it… I will look for the next flash.