Friday, June 2, 2017

The Land of "I Just"

I just need more time.

I just need a break.

I just need silence.

I just need to finish this one last thing.

I just need for him to get it.

I just need for them to listen the first time.

I just need her to pick up after herself.

I just need a moment to think.

I just need to finish this parenting book so I will have a plan.

I just need to feel seen.

When we sit down and think about it, we have an endless number of phrases that begin with the words "I just need….," don’t we? They are our mental list of unmet desires that, when fulfilled, we believe will magically bring strength and order, smoothness and calm to our days.

It struck me yesterday how many things I am subconsciously waiting on. I'm waiting for summer, when my kids will have more down time and miraculously stop fighting with each other. (Since when has more time together resulted in less fighting??! Umm, never.) I'm waiting for tomorrow to have the hard conversation because I don’t want to face it today. I'm waiting for the next appointment with the expert where I'm sure the solution to all our problems will finally made known. I'm waiting until another day to play with my kids because right now the to-do list is endless. I'm waiting for tomorrow to rise early because today I'm too tired. I’m waiting for someday in the future to address my selfishness because this week I can’t face the music. I'm waiting for the invitation instead of taking the initiative and doing the inviting.

Where are you right now, my friend? Where do you find yourself waiting? What needs are on your “I just” list? Are you waiting for that break to come, waiting for the quiet, waiting for the disciplining principles you read about in that parenting book to actually start working? Are you yearning forward for something to materialize?

How often do the days flying by and we miss them because we’re holding back and trying to make the pieces fit before we join in? Meanwhile, the ship has sailed and those aboard appear to be having a mighty fine time and we’re here watching from the shore, waiting to partake because our needs aren’t yet met.

Our reasoning seems sound. Firmly we state our case, backed with all the evidence. Endlessly we defend our honor, listing all the explanations. If we just had time, rest, clean houses, obedient children and perfect communication with our husbands, everything would be fine!!

Our anxious thoughts and desire for control (the "I just needs") are leaving us emptier than when we began. We feel like more of a failure than when we started because exactly nothing is getting checked off our list. One step forward drags us three steps back. All the people seem intent on sabotaging.

More time, increased control, improved organization – all these things we feel we need - may build positive momentum toward solving our problems, at least initially. But will they fix them indefinitely? Certainly not. The fluidness of this life, of our people, ever-changing and growing and challenging, guarantee that what worked today will not work again tomorrow.

But maybe that's just it – all these longings we have for something other than what is - is simply God’s way of continuously reminding us that He is standing by at the ready, waiting to permeate our being, if only we would only reach out and ask. I’ve heard it said before that one can’t become filled without first becoming empty. I hate this answer.

I've been reading a book called "You Are Free" by Rebekah Lyons. In it, she writes:

"How many of us try to manage our stress with some method of numbing ourselves? The problem with pain management is exactly that: we are managing. What if we are called to acknowledge our pain, to confess our inability to beat it?"

I just need you, Father.

Plain and simple.

Inhaling. Communion with Him and deep companionship.

I breathe you in, Lord. Fill me. I need your words. I need your strength. I need your joy. I just need you.

Exhaling. The fretting and the toiling released. I’ve been trying to do it all again and I'm over it. I don't want to miss today because I'm busy cramming a square peg in a round hole.

Help me to remember the simplicity of your ways.

The surrender. Handing over the reigns.

All I need is you Lord.

The words of Psalm 139 rise to my awareness.

You have searched me and known me.

I feel confused. So often I don't even know myself. I don't know what makes me tick but you know it all because you made me. You designed my innermost being. And you don't make mistakes.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you understand my thoughts from afar.

When life doesn't allow me the luxury of taking the time to process and tease out my true thoughts and feelings, you get it. I make sense to you and I can rest in this.

I am an open book to you. 

You know each word on every page. There are no surprises. I can bare my soul, unashamed. Before I even whisper a word, you know.

I am never out of your sight.

What a comfort! When I feel lost in the crowd, I look up and realize your loving gaze is locked on me.

I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too.

There are times when I feel alone and I miss your presence. I wonder why you aren’t in my midst and I look behind me to see if you are hiding in the distant forest that I have journeyed through. You aren't there and I am confused. But as I focus in and pay attention, I become aware of a presence directly behind me, a comforting warmth pressing against my back, holding me up when I falter. You have been here the whole time. You never left my side. My gaze was simply focused too far away; you would never allow that much distance between us. 

You hem me in behind and before.

You have been so close to me all along. You envelope me securely.

And you lay your hand upon me.

Your gentle touch slows and calms me. I am comforted by the reminder that you are here and you are pleased with me.

Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day.

What terrifies me does not threaten you in the slightest. There is no darkness when you are near.

The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

This is not the rat race I often mistake it for. Each day has been purposefully ordained. There is ample opportunity for service, for worship and for loving. My life has meaning and significance.

You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

You get me. You really, truly get me. When I can't discern truth amidst the emotional hurricane raging through my brain, you understand and I am comforted.

Do these words bring solace to your weary soul? This is our God. He is our loving, caring Heavenly Father and He delights in us and longs to walk with us intimately. Instead of wasting away our hours waiting for our “I justs” to be fulfilled, what if we instead breathed in the presence of our God?

Lyons writes:

"Waiting is a critical part of your anointing. It prepares you, strengthens you, equips and trains you to step up when the moment comes."

Lord, we confess how often our minds wander. How quick we are to get lost in the waiting. When we stray and catch ourselves thinking “I just need _____ ,” would you please stop us and remind us that all me need is you, Father? Would you slow us down to breath you in? To inhale your presence? To meditate on your pursuit of us? May we be acutely aware of your equipping?

In these moments where we are waiting, longing for the fulfillment of our needs, would you speak to us and remind us of your intimate closeness? Would you hem us in so tightly with the reminder of your companionship that there isn't room for anything else? 

This is our prayer, God.

All we need is you.

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posted by kelsie