Thursday, April 17, 2014

Put away your sword.

Many of you know that my family is walking through the unknown right now.   Let's be honest, anyone within five feet of me (including the poor unsuspecting person behind me in the check out aisle)  runs the risk of hearing about it.  And while we always are walking through the unknown to some degree, this particular season has been really really hard for me.

So here is where I get weird.

I have these notebooks, you see.   Lots of notebooks.

And when I am feeling overwhelmed by the helplessness of not knowing which direction God may lead us; I write.  I write scenarios. I write budgets.  I write out pages and pages of  outlines for how life could possibly pan out with Plan A, Plan B, and Plans XYZ.  I research different career opportunities and what kind of education they might require.  I try to calculate how big or little a pot of gold we might have at the end of all these rainbows.

This is one of my quirks.  I've always been a dreamer and a planner.    And usually it's okay.  My use of lined paper to dream typically breaths a freshness and an excitement to my every day life.  Usually.  But lately, with so many  things unknown, my doodles and flourishes are turning into frantic chicken scratches that become less and less legible and more and more unreasonable as they progress.  

 Because I'm just looking for a way.   For a Rescue.  It is killing me to not have control right now, and I am fighting back with my notebooks and my internet research and obsessive over-thinking.  And it's turned my anxiety barometer up to unreasonable decibels.  It's all I hear.  All I can see.  All I think about.  Which is why I wrote I'm Showing Up.  The tension between my self and my Spirit has never been more palpable to me, and I knew that I needed to try, with His help, to be present in my everyday life.

But praise the Lord, He is not done with me yet.  There is always more.

So just this week, as God and the Bible and all things holy would have it, I have been studying the arrest and trial of Jesus with my Bible Study Fellowship (holler!) group.

And our boy Peter.  I'm really identifying with him these days. He sinks in the water.  He cuts a dudes ear off.  He denies his best friend.  Who IS THE SAVIOR OF EVERYTHING.  Peter has knee-jerk-self-preservation reactions to the chaos in his life.   He cannot, for the life of him, subject himself to the pain or walk through the fear to get to the other side of redemption.  

Peter wanted to fight the process.  He wanted to fight the not knowing.  He wanted to fight what had to be done in order for the story to be redeemed.  He could only see pain and persecution and imprisonment in front of him.  He could not see through to the other side.

But Jesus knows this about Peter.   Earlier that evening, Jesus had spoken these very words over His beloved friend:

Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? John 18:11

Because Jesus.  He knew.  Jesus knew that the sword would only get in the way of what had to be done.  And Jesus drank that cup,  walking through the fear to the Other Side of Redemption.  Through death and into life.   Bringing the abundant and forever life to all who believe that Jesus is who he says he is.   And that Jesus can do what he says he can do.  

But do I?

 Do I believe that Jesus is who he says he is?  
 Do I believe Jesus can do what he says he can do? 

Then why the swords?  Why the notebooks?  Why do I wield my pen like some sort of magic eight ball that will choose the story that is easiest and that looks the prettiest?  It really comes down to asking those simple questions of myself.  Do I believe Jesus?  Do I trust Him to walk us through this?  Do I believe in the Upper Story...what is happening in the kingdom of heaven that my eyes cannot see?

My answer is yes.  My answer is yes.  

Our pain and our trials can be redemptive if we choose to feed our faith instead of our fear.  If we choose to walk through the unknown and keep our eyes on Jesus instead of swinging blindly with our swords and writing frantically in our notebooks we will get to where He's called us to.  He will show us a way.  And He will use it and us to bring glory and honor to Himself.  Because that is what it is all about, amen?

Peter.  Put away your sword.

Rachel.  Put away your notebook.  

So I am.  No more notebooks.  For now.   I am trusting that Jesus is who he says he is.  I am checking in to my everyday life and investing all my energy into living in the unknown.   And wow.  It is totally unknown.  But I want to draw strength as I wait up on the Lord.  I don't want my anxious thoughts, my best laid plans, or my need for control to dry up the joy that the Lord has set before me.  

I'm done feeding my fear.  

He is risen indeed.  

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