One morning in meditation I focused on the phrase “I am capable”. I began to hear the lyrics to a Crowder song float through my head… “Oh, the cross meant to kill is my victory…” My mind began to combine the two into one phrase or one thought: I am capable because the cross meant to kill is my victory… This led to a final impression during the meditation: That which is meant to destroy me, can also be used to propel me forward.
I think anyone reading this blog knows that I have really been going through it since my return to Memphis. I have known some others who like myself left, got sober and later returned to only find themselves back in treatment. I even had people warn me to stay away, but my path took me here. At the time, I just thought they were weak or not working their program, but Memphis is proving to be the biggest test of my sober life. I love that my family is here, but I don’t really love anything else about this town, or the south for that matter. It’s not like I live against the grain here or anything… I just find that I do better or feel more comfortable in very open and creative environments. It’s like my introverted soul needs that accepting energy in order to breathe.
After the meditation, I decided to jot down the things that I perceive to be crippling my life:
My job – the happy hours, the coworkers, the work itself or lack thereof.
My severe social anxiety
My indecision paralysis
My health issues
My depression/Fear of my future
My question to myself has been how in the world do each of the above items propel me forward? How can each of them be used to propel me forward?
In typical Jesus fashion my answer came in the form of a parable regarding life on the trail. I feel most free when I am exploring a new trail and it occurred to me that I never remember the end of a trail… I never remember the moment I finished. I only remember the sights, sounds and discoveries made while exploring. I recall the pressure moments when I had to find a way around, over, under or through something in order to continue on the trail. I recall a creek discovered, the baby deer we got footage of, the large snapping turtle that walked across our path or the moment we decided to veer off the main path which led us to a private waterfall. I never recall the beginning or the end… only all the stuff in the middle, the experiences, the moments of awe and the moments of sheer terror and it is these moments that form and mold me into the person I am today. It’s not a defining moment, but rather a slow progression that happens without my even being aware of it so long as I continue navigating to the best of my ability and trusting that my savior and friend will help me if I get stuck.
I guess that’s the answer to my question. How does each of my life crippling factors propel me forward? They just do so long as I stay committed to putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next right thing over and over again while staying committed to doing life with my savior and friend, Jesus.
I mean I have seen it happen in my own life. My first year of sobriety in Los Angeles was insane. I couldn’t even take myself to the grocery store I was so freaked out…. But somehow I finally managed to go grocery shopping, attend all my meetings, get a good job, make friends, find a church home, start adventuring, take commitments at meetings, take commitments at church, learned to rock climb, learned to paint, learned to SUP, learned the neurology of addiction and most importantly I have learned what it means to do life with Jesus because when you can’t even go to the grocery store because you are paralyzed with fear… you really learn what it means to lean in, trust and walk hand in hand with the Creator of the universe. (P.S. it was my sobriety that led me to several new loves in my life including hiking/adventuring, photography, live show production and public speaking! Not bad for someone that was so scared and timid she couldn’t even go to the grocery store!)
Walking hand in hand with my higher power is what I am doing right now. I am being tested beyond belief, maybe slightly loosing my mind some days, but I am staying sober and not taking on any new addictions – thank you! Slowly, but surely I am getting back on track with my creative pursuits. I feel uncomfortable, I feel unstable… I feel like nothing in my life is making sense right now, in fact, I feel like I am walking on a dead end road and maybe I am for that matter…. but I know that all of this stuff that is meant to destroy me… meant to be my downfall… is actually going to be what propels me forward into a new existence, a new reality or perhaps onto a new path. It’s not about the beginning or the end; it’s about where the journey takes you and who you become as a result of saying yes to the adventure.
Praise be to God who blesses us according to our ability to accept His gifts and administer them appropriately.
Sounds great doesn’t it? But if you look deeper you will realize that wanting something and being ready for something are two very different things. I personally believe that God has a giant storehouse of blessings for each of us. Unfortunately, most of us only receive a minute portion of those blessings due to the simple fact that we are not ready for the majority of what He wants to do in our lives.
A wise Rabbi once said, “God will give you the small things to see if He can trust you with the big things. You’re responsibility with those small things is to show God that you can be trusted with the big gifts He has planned for you.” It’s scary really, to think of the possibility that many of the things we are begging God for are being withheld for our own good since we are not ready for them. What’s even harder to conceptualize is that we should be grateful for this. After all, what good is getting everything we’ve ever wanted if we are not ready and fully equipped to handle it?
I cannot offer a one size fits all way to prepare for God’s blessings, as we are each on our own path with our own obstacles. What I can say is this: every single one of us is fully capable of tuning in to hear God speak to us and I have no doubt that He speaks much more often than most of us realize.
Sometimes it is a small voice in the back of our minds, other times it is a strong gut reaction, or a desire for a specific cause. God has equipped each of us with a certain set of talents, skills and interests and it is usually within these three that we find our purpose, that one thing in life that propels us forward no matter what happens to be going on around us.
If you have not found that one thing that propels you forward, then I urge you to have the courage to explore your talents, skills and interests…even the ones that do not earn you “cool” points. If also urge you to simply ask God to make your purpose known to you. I have no doubt that He will answer you…It may take a while, especially if you are not ready…but never stop seeking…If there is one thing I do know it is that He will answer you, no matter where you are on your journey. It’s funny, so many Christians seem to think that acknowledging that God exists and that Yeshua is His Son is the end of the journey, when in all actuality, it is only the beginning.
This Thanksgiving let’s all choose to be Thankful for both the blessings we have been given and those blessings that God intends to give us somewhere down the road once we are ready for them. Let’s also make a point to start asking God to direct our steps equipping us with what we need in order to accept all He has to offer us. A few prayers I say aloud every day on the way to work are:
The Prayer of Jabez
“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause any pain!”
May Your will be done in my life and on this planet, completely uncontested, just as it is done in Heaven.
My Father, My King, Have mercy on me, even though I have no worthy deeds, answer me and save me.
I wish each of you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving regardless of where you are on your journey.