Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A High Price to Pay

At 36,000 feet, you can clearly see what's not visible from the ground. Miles above the surface of the planet, everything looks different, and with no effort on your part, perspective shifts and your eyes see what was once hidden.

Difficulties are kind of like being 36,000 feet in the air.

You need to understand that I hate to fly. Hate. It. I have to be medicated and nearly crush my husband's hand during takeoff and make people around me nervous that I'm going to lose my mind. I once nearly hyperventilated on a flight from Miami, and on my last flight from Chicago, my shirt was stained with sweat rings. There is no place I hate worse than the cabin of an airplane. My most fervent prayers have been as my flights taxi towards takeoff. I pray that the rivets will hold, the crew ate a nutritious breakfast, the fuel is untainted, the tires were manufactured properly, fellow passengers have only the best intentions... No area is untouched by my prayer life when it comes to planes.

So the beauty of those pictures? There's a high price to pay for them.

There's a high price to pay for all beauty in life, though, isn't there?

No one invites difficulties or welcomes them with open arms. We pray against them and do what we can to avoid them. We want smooth sailing, life to continue as we know it, and comfort to surround us. What we think we want is safety and familiarity - the absence of hardships. What I've learned, though, and what God continues to show me is that safety and familiarity - the absence of hardships - lead only to complacency and a distorted perception of life.

We need the valleys of life to see the 36,000 foot view. The logic of God makes no sense to our humanity.

It has been in the pit - and because of it - that I have even begun to understand the glory of my redemption. It has been through the worst that I have been able to smile at the best. When life has been smooth sailing here on the surface of this planet, I have lost my desperation for my Savior and my reverence for his role. The hardest days of my life have lifted me beyond what ordinary eyes can see and have shown me the view from Up There, if only for a moment. From the depths of a depraved world, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

To see with eyes like Christ, you might have to suffer as He did. To gain his perspective, you might need to share his pain.

And to see from 36,000 feet, you'll probably need to fly on a plane.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Your Permission Slip

Sometimes we adults need permission just like children, so here's my permission slip for your grown-up heart.

It's ok to feel what you're feeling right now.

I've been struggling lately with a lot of big feelings, and rather than lean into them and learn what they're trying to teach me, I've been running from them. Ignoring them. Denying that they're there.

But in the darkness and silence, those few minutes alone in an empty car, they cry out to me. They call my name and catch my breath and demand to be noticed. So I'm trying. It's so much easier for me, the one who flees rather than fights, to shut them out and pretend them away. But all that has left me with is unresolved sadness, unreconciled hurt, and unmet longings.

So here I am, trying to listen to what my heart needs me to hear. And I'm giving you permission to do the same. I'm also giving you permission to tell God what you feel. Yes, He knows, but I'm learning that He wants us to trust Him enough to take it to Him. All of it. Those big feelings, where you feel alone and afraid and like He loves everyone but you? Take them. Those feelings that say you'll never be good enough; those feelings that say He won't do for you what He has done for others? Take them. Those feelings that say "I'm spinning my wheels and I'm on a never-ending treadmill and my life is adding up to one big nothing?" Take them. He can handle them - and handle them, He can. When we stuff them down and pretend they're not there and smile like everything's ok? That's not handling them.

Honesty is the first step. Don't ask me how I know.

So. You, with the welling tears and the heart beating fast? Feel those feelings. Give their darkness some light. Give their secret places some visibility. Give yourself some relief. Feel them, then heal.

You have my permission.