It’s one week and one day into Lent, and it’s the middle of the day. A Thursday. I’m lying on my couch, snuggling under a blanket, dozing on and off. I am not sick, nor am I sad. In fact, I am full of joy, happiness. I am content.
My car is in the shop and the estimate is more than I hoped it’d be. I take the news well. In fact, I accept the news that the car is breaking without a blink of an eye. I even try to muster up some dismay or panic, but it doesn’t happen. When I speak of it to friends, I am hardly able to pretend that I’m upset. I give up on it. I am at peace.
At peace with my car being broken.
I am a control freak. I am a planner. I have my lists and I take great satisfaction in marking things off when done. I like things to be taken care of a certain way – dishes, clothes, driving, the weather – my way. And when things don’t go my way, I grumble under my breath and then proceed to re-do everything my way (if only I could control the weather).
My car is broken. It’s okay. The fixing will cost me. That’s okay, too.
Who AM I?
That’s what I think about while I lay on the couch. But not fully. In the one week and one day since I decided to participate in Lent, I’ve read through ten books of the New Testament in addition to a Bible in a Year plan. My heart is heavy with God’s love for me. My head swims in knowledge. I recently completed my first ever read-through of the Bible, and I learned so much, but now it’s all new. Again. Because isn’t there always something new to see?
For Lent, I’m fasting from the outside world, more or less. I’m not locked away and I’m not avoiding people, but I’m less available. What began as a fast from social networking led to a leave of absence on my blog, which led to my hardly looking around online, which led to drawing into myself. But not really myself – into God.
I doze off and wake to the short beep of my phone. A text from my daughter. I respond, then close my eyes again. The sleepiness has passed for now. I wonder how I fell asleep and realize I was chewing on God’s Word. I remember once wondering what it actually meant to meditate on His word. I know now. I really, really know.
At peace in His love, I rested. Despite howling wind and bright sun streaming through my windows, despite the hour of the day, I rested. Be still, He tells me. I am often reminded of these two words. It’s because my Father knows me so well, that I am a runner, that I am a go-er, that I run ahead of Him so often, I need to be still.
Being still is not my strength. I am physically a move-about person. I am a fidgeter, a woman who must do something while watching TV, who can’t just sit. When I read, one hand holds a book while the other twirls hair or taps out a beat. I am not a be-stiller!
I am learning. I do not feel guilty for lying on the couch when not sick. I feel at peace with being still in the middle of the day. I am obeying, slowing my life down without the panic that usually arises in the stillness.
As I doze off and come to again, I am reminded of a conversation with a beautiful friend of mine. I tell her how I think Satan messes with me and makes me fall asleep at night when I’m not even sure I’ve finished praying. I ask her opinion on that.
“Or maybe,” she says, “You are so at peace with God, that’s why you fall asleep.”
A voice of reason.
Could it be that rather than the very negative, it’s instead a very positive? I fall asleep in prayer because I’m in conversation with God. I fall asleep in His loving and comforting arms.
Peace. I could usually find it at night but when during my days?
Today. This week. This month. This year.
God has me in His loving and comforting arms every single second and I just never realized it. So used to the negative in life finding me, despite my positive outlook, I am surprised to keep finding peace. I even question it: Am I just depressed? Doesn’t depression mean you don’t feel even the negative sometimes?
But I know I’m not. I know I’m happy. I know God has me.
For most of my life, as long as I can remember, I’ve known God has me. I’ve just never really gotten it. I believed He was there and I believed He did things for a reason, or allowed them to happen, but I never knew His words, His plans for me, His love for me. All I knew is that He meant something for me. Why else did I survive? How many times does one knock on Death’s door before one wonders how she’s still alive?
Despite my faith in at least that much, that God had me, I still expected to die before turning 30. I found myself in a rush to get whatever it is that I was supposed to do done before I left. Except, I had no idea what He wanted me to do. I tortured myself with the question: What’s my purpose?
I wonder, did He ever tell me to be still before? I know He probably did, but I was too busy trying to figure things out on my own, I didn’t hear Him. I didn’t hear. Or maybe, I didn’t listen. I kept trudging forward. My way, my way, my way! Get out of my way! I have stuff to do!
I brushed God aside.
I read books about God. I rarely read His book. I talked at Him every night, but I was never still to hear His reply. I sent up my requests, be them ever so humble (I don’t want to die. Lord, let me live at least until my children are grown.), and He let me fall asleep in His arms all the same, me full of myself, Him full of His love for me.
Too eager to please this world. Too eager to be accepted by everyone else. Not a bad person, but a lost one. Holding onto a past full of ugliness and pain, being a victim and crying at random, wondering why I can’t be fixed, knowing everything I’ve been through happened for a reason, but what do I do with it? Too busy to wait for an answer, desiring the quickness of response I get when I search online. I want to know now, I need to know now, why not now, God, can You hear me?
And off I sprinted. Like the acquaintance you run into on the street who says, “How are you?” but is already down the sidewalk before you can respond, that was me, talking to God, begging but running off too impatient to get to the next thing.
Yes, Father, yes.
I pull the blanket up closer to my chin, stare out the window at the treetops brushing green strokes across the blue sky, and I listen.
Current Word Count: 5,000