What do you do when you don’t want to see?
I honestly hadn’t thought about it. I hadn’t considered that there’d come a moment when I didn’t want to see. It’s one thing to be unaware…to not see because your eyes haven’t yet been opened to things. And that was a challenge I anticipated this year. But it’s another to have open eyes which you choose to close because you don’t want to see.
The introvert in me can become quite selfish in relationships. It reaches a breaking point at which it chooses to see no one but itself. It doesn’t want to see that there are other people who need connection even if it doesn’t. In those moments, I often choose not to see. I choose not to see because I don’t want to see. Seeing is particularly hard & messy in those moments. Seeing is exhausting in those moments. Seeing feels like taking one step forward only to take 4 giant leaps backwards.
This past week was one of me not wanting to see. Of more often than not choosing to close my opened eyes because seeing just felt too hard & I was tired of hard. Then I got a note from a dear friend. And I saw. I saw that I’d been refusing to see. Sometimes it takes being seen to make you realize you’ve been choosing not to see & I am grateful for friends who do just that for me – who remind me that I am seen even if I think I’m not…even if I try not to be.
Do you ever not want to see? What do you do in those moments?
It was January 16, 2006. It was a Monday – like today…January 16, 2012. It was the first day of classes for the 2nd semester of my Junior year of college. But I wasn’t in class. I was on a Midwest flight from Milwaukee home to Minneapolis for my grandfather’s funeral.
As I walked through the airport that day I wasn’t sure I was going to make it all the way. I can remember praying in my head, “Lord, just don’t let me fall. If I fall I won’t be able to get back up.”
I landed in Minneapolis late that afternoon & can vividly remember my dad saying “I guess there really is something wrong” as he had to help me climb up into his large pick up truck.
The previous week I had gone back & forth on phone calls with my doctors explaining to them that I had suddenly grown very weak. I could barely walk on a flat surface. Hills were extremely difficult. Stairs were nearly impossible. Even standing up from a chair was quite the tricky process. I convinced them I wasn’t paralyzed & they talked of CT scans, mammograms, & muscle biopsies to be sure there was nothing cancerous going on & to take a look at my muscle tissue.
Six years later I’m on a flight from my home in Nashville to Minneapolis. This time for a visit to my doctor at the Mayo Clinic. A visit where I have no doubt I’ll get a good report. Because while I still have some symptoms & still live with pain on a daily basis, six years later I’ve been to China & back. I’ve climbed the Great Wall. I have been able to go camping again. I walk on a regular basis, up & down hills…I even throw in a little jogging here & there. I climb two flights of stairs without any hesitation to get to my room these days. I don’t think twice about going out with friends. All that to say, God has worked some incredible healing.
And perhaps the best part is the heart healing He worked through the physical brokenness before He worked physical healing. God has no doubt used the journey of the last 6 years to shape me & mold me into the person I am today.
I watched a TED talk the other day about the difference between our experiencing-selfs & our remembering-selfs. An experience may be incredibly painful for our experiencing-self but because of a happy ending or worthwhile lesson our remembering-selfs don’t see it that way. And while my experiencing self in no way wishes to go back & relive the journey of the last 6 years, my remembering self reflects on them almost fondly & with deep gratitude. Because 6 years later I see that not only is there physical healing but the journey to physical healing was directly related to the journey to heart healing.
Father, thank you for loving me enough to break me so that You could make me whole.
What brokenness has God used in your life to make you whole?
Thinking back to the early months of 2006 certainly puts life into perspective for me again. These days I often think “5 years ago or 3 years ago I couldn’t have done ___________.” And I hope those thoughts continue to cross my mind. Because the minute I stop thinking those things is probably the minute I’m starting to take a few too many things for granted. (full post here.)
It has now been 6 years. And as backwards as it may sound, I’m grateful for the daily physical struggle because it is a constance reminder of what a powerfully healing God we serve…a reminder that He is in control…and a reminder to savor the ordinary, everyday gifts in life.
May you enjoy the ongoing adventure that is life this weekend.
That’s what weekends are made for.
“Chase your dreams”
Chances are someone has said that to you more than once & this time of year seems to be a popular one to start chasing.
But when was the last time you heard the word “chase” used in a positive context other than “chase your dreams?”
Chasing down a runaway toddler. Chasing girls. A high speed chase.
Chase usually implies that the object running really does not want to be caught & that the chaser is exhausted. It’s not typically a labor of love but rather something done out of obligation.
In a conversation with a friend the other day I began to wonder why, then, we tell people to “chase their dreams.” When I hear that I envision someone desperately trying to grasp at whatever “next thing” may get them somewhere, get them noticed. Long term relationships don’t often start with a chase. No, they start with a pursuit.
Pursue your dream…I like the sounds of that. It implies a love & affection in the motivation. A calling of sorts. A purpose. If I were your dream I’d want to be pursued, not chased. Wouldn’t you?
But here’s the catch: A chase is a sprint. A pursuit is a marathon. Pursuit takes time. You have to “woo” the object of your pursuit. There may be no less frustration in either case but if you’re pursuing your dream your love of it gets you through the frustration. And that pursuit is much more likely to turn into a long term relationship than a chase.
Pursue your dreams this year. And then come back & tell me how it goes.
Awake my soul! – Psalm 57:8
I read that simple little three word phrase…one I’m sure I’ve read many times before…back in December & for the first time my soul felt it – really felt it as it screamed “yes! that’s what I want. I want to be awake!”
I want to be awake to life. To the celebration, the pain, the love, the hurt, the laughter, the tears, & most importantly to the joy & beauty in all of it.
Yes, to be awake to ALL of life. To have a soul that is awake to ALL of life.
I think it was in that moment that I realized if focusing on surrender for 11 months had done anything for my soul it had woken it up. From slumber. From mediocrity. From fear. From comfort. From my plan…my dreams. From the box that I try to confine my limitless God to – the God who created the universe & writes my story. Yes, I had surrendered to Him & in doing so my soul had been awakened to the larger than life story He was writing for me.
And that’s exactly where I needed to be in order to focus on seeing in 2012. I needed to be awake. Because you can’t see if you’re sleeping.
Seeing requires waking up. Waking up flows from surrender. Another piece of the puzzle…or maybe it’s a spoke of the wheel…falls into place.
Are you awake to life?