Do Not Grow Weary

It’s amazing how life experience can illuminate the truth…

You felt forced to believe one thing for so long. It was so crippling. And then finally something inside you popped like a tendon forced at a funny angle. It felt crippling because it WAS crippling. Not quite right. Not quite true. Pop! Then release from the pressure. Suddenly it’s like everything around you is speaking a new language. Same words. New message. What was a chain is now a set of wings into freedom and hope.

This happened to me today with this little verse: “Let us not grow weary in doing good.”

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I always took it to mean, “When you’re doing good things, you have to knuckle down and force yourself not to get burned out!”

Today it hit me like a breath of fresh air…

“Let us not grow weary…”
Just… let’s not.
Let’s not go there.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good.”

Don’t do good things until you’re blue in the face.
Don’t do great things until you’re so tired you could cry.
Don’t force your own hand to the good plow until it bleeds.
Don’t become weary…

Why?

Because, “…at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”

Oh yeah. Duh. Right. We LITERALLY cannot force the harvest.

No amount of brow sweat and palm blisters and wailing at the heavens can make the rain come… the sun shine… the seasons shift like ancient mill stones revolving in the palm of the universe to bring life out of broken seeds.

We can work ourselves to the bone, fretting over every little thing… muscling out the perfect garden. And then a tsunami wipes it out.

Or we can work in a quiet, steady, balanced way. Giving what we have. Portioning out for the harvest the right measure of our dedication tempered with trust. And then? Well, we don’t know “What Then” do we? We don’t know what the fruit of the harvest will be. It’s a bit beyond our absolute control.

The outcome is always organic.
Whenever Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God it was in organic metaphors. Farming. Fishing. Seeds. Sheep. BUT… no matter what the end is, no matter the harvest… we won’t be miserable ass hats burned out, washed up, run ragged. We will be calm and happy people, resting in the Sovereignty of God like a pillow on which we can lay our heads.

Just…. Don’t become weary in the middle of doing good things. Don’t do that. Staaahp it! When you feel that back aching, bone numbing, brain hurting, head heavying coming, take your own hand very gently and lead yourself back toward the light. This light: That a good harvest has been promised at the right time. And that’s a promise you can rest in.

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Embracing Well-Being in Woundedness

Anxiety is a million bees, butterflies, and eels in your head, your chest, your belly. Stinging, battering, and squirming inside even on the calmest, most beautiful mornings.

With warm mug in hand and a cool breeze coming in the open window. With beautiful children leaning against your round belly and bird song in your happy ear. With a smile on your lips and a song in your heart… your body still feels like it is being picked into small pieces by something restless and mean spirited. Something with a beak. Something a bit poison. And somehow you know in your head that it is You. Made of you, anyway. Part and parcel with your own chemical makeup. And your Stuff is sparking dangerously like crossed wires in the rain.

Anxiety is waking up in your favorite place on earth, joyful and grateful. Calm in mind, praising the good goodness from the deep spaces of your spirit. But tortured in body. It is feeling the sensation of fear (like that horrible sucking-in-instant when you miss a step on the stairs) without any actual fear to dispel. The gasp goes on and on and on without ever releasing.

You can’t win against it… because there is nothing to defeat. You are boxing at air. There is no problem to resolve, no higher standard to achieve, no faith issue to correct, no extra to extra on top of all the everything. There is just IT. The evil twin in your chest who moans and aches and slips from your throat to your chest to your back… anywhere! anything to slow you down! Begging you never to go out and see the light of freedom.

No wonder we anxious folk are always casting around for something to do, something to fix, someone to love, something to learn, something to mark on the calendar or put on the shelf. It feels like we can do something to make the Angry Insides happy.

The hope of healing is a dangerous thing for Anxious folk. The sort of healing promised by charismatics. Faith healing! The laying on of hands and oil and power. It’s promise is that we could march out of managing our injury and into a life liberated! There is nothing an Anxious person craves more. But the promise can be toxic. It makes us feel that we should feel wrong about the Feeling Wrong that lives inside. That it, in itself, is somehow a burden we have held onto through our own lack of will or faith or belief or whatever.

 

In truth, the greatest act of Christian healing may be to make a careful home here in the land of angry bees and eels.

The greatest step toward the Great Physician may be settling in to living with our own weirdness, as if living with a special needs child… enduringly, faithfully, and a bit tenderly when we can swing it.

Maybe healing is simply knowing that the weather in these parts is stormy. Fog thick as pea soup some days. Rain lashing at the windows and thunder rattling the foundation. But nevertheless, permitting a sense of well being. Well being in woundedness. A waiting heart, calm above the internal storm.

The Bible offers us this promise: “Strength will rise as we wait on the Lord.”

No one told us how long we would have to wait. We are just told that our strength will rise in the process. I have found that to be true.

I am deeply convinced that what we do while we wait before the Lord is as important as the healing we are waiting for. It is just as healing. Not only of our own hearts, but of wounded hearts around us along the way. Reaching out hands of hope to one another is holy work.

This Homemakery in the madness… This hunkering down in the London fog of the soul… This is Surrender to Sovereignty. This is full confidence that God wastes NOTHING. That each fiber of the tapestry serves a beautiful purpose in telling the story and binding us to our brothers and sisters in love. That the yokes we bear and the yokes we break are ALL deeply purposeful.

And somehow… somewhere along the line… somehow in this journey of making a home in our tumultuous interior town, we have found a peace.

Peace. The healing we sought all along! Peace like a river. There is the outer peace that people see, like a shell… and then the layer of bees… and then… There! buried under the bees, there is another peace. A new peace. A bright Core Peace that burns brightly and will not be snuffed out. That slowly overwhelms shadows.

This is the light we go to “when all around my soul gives way.”

Portraits of God – Part 1

I met God. And he was quiet and spelled his name with small block letters.

He lived, at the time, in the warm corners of used book stores where all the mingled, crinkled ideas of the ages go to rest in uncurrated harmony. All in all those pages. And he was happy. That’s the thing that struck me most. And when you leave him, you leave with a lighter heart.

He had a well worn scarf over his shoulders. Knit up in an ambitious lace pattern full of errors. A mantle of praise from unschooled fingers trying their best. And he loves it. You can tell.

I asked him… out of all the stories in all the volumes, what was his favorite? And he said, “I am” and laughed the kind of warm laugh that you believe in.