Some of my favorite chapters in books are the ones where the author is telling the nitty-gritty, the really hard parts of life. Even in fiction books, I enjoy the storylines where obstacles are present and must be overcome. It’s not that I want others to be miserable. It’s because those are life-chapters I can relate to. They’re speaking my language, if you know what I mean.
I used to think that when I went on the mission field and had a chance to share stories about life and ministry, I wouldn’t just share carnival-like stories, painting a peppy picture of only the lively, convivial aspects to missionary service. No, I would want to share the hurdles, the feelings of timidity, the doubts that come along with it all. Yes that is what I will do, I thought to myself all those months ago!
But, truth be told, it’s just plain hard to do. Not just the living, but the telling too.
Creating fears, rumors, & questions among people I love.
Inadequate verbs and adjectives to describe heart-things, soul-things.
Worst of all, giving those naysayers – the ones who told us not to come (in one way or another) – fodder for self-righteous conversations…”I told you so!” echoes in my mind.
Or even creating the impression that things are really awful, that God is not “in this”.
How did those other authors do it? This telling-the-truth, with honesty and courage?
Peeling back to the weakness of ministering here is not as simple as I thought it would be. (It’s much more fun to share stories of hippos and chameleons and new cultural excitements!)
Yet this conviction clings to me still – about the truth being told. I want my family and friends to journey with me for REAL, not just for FUN.
There was a little baby lizard in my toilet the other day. It was a speedy little guy – desperately splashing and thrashing to grip the sides of the porcelain bowl! It simply couldn’t climb out of the slippery-sided basin. Finally, I scooped it out with a soup ladle, and ushered it back into the cozy 105-degree heat outside.
I’ve found I need a good “scooping” every now and then, too.
I’m often drowning. Not every day, but lately…often.
Depending on the day, it might be a slippery bowl of lies, doubts, blame, or fears.
What are we doing here?
Whose idea was this?
How is this strategic for our future?
I’m 40 years old! Shouldn’t I know the big picture by now?
My peers seem so settled in, safe. What are we thinking?
I just want to teach the Bible! Not cook for 18 teenagers! Arg!
Someone! Please scoop me up and help me out of here!
In our family, when we need a good “scooping” (so to speak), we pick the nearest person, grab their hands, look them in the eye and tell them we need some truth. “I’m overwhelmed, I need some truth!” And we all know what to do…start talking Truth and then start talking to God. We each just do the best we can in the moment, telling the Truth of God’s Healing Word. It’s never perfect and might be paraphrased to the best of our memory. But the Truth gets out there and, well, starts the scooping…
For me, lately, these are among the Truths lifting, saving, re-directing my heart.
Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
James 4:13 “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.”
Matthew 6:25-29 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
The truth of Scripture, along with some words of encouragement and some specified prayer, scoop me out to dry land.
So that is how it is! I discipline my mind around the Truth again today.
Put on those irritating-but-necessary blinders so I won’t look left or right at another person’s journey. And now I’ll take in a deep breath of this hot, dry, land we now call home. And start a new day!
I hope you are having victory in your own drowning moments of life! If you need some scooping, let me know and I’ll send some Truth your way, and I’ll talk to God for you too!
“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.” -CS Lewis, God in the Dock