Wednesday, February 25, 2015

True Love Is Convicting

Whew. Lent. Who knew?
 
So...Lent is messing me up. Mind. Body. Spirit. Heart.
 
First, I gave up fried foods and alcohol. Now let me be clear I eat a lot of fried foods (fried chicken nearly once a week) and I drink a little alcohol (and not just for medicinal purposes, but for that too...I have had a couple of health things previously written on). I also added two additional Lent-specific Bible studies.
 
Kill. Me. Now.
 
I had LITTLE idea what crutches I had in my favorite comfort foods and a glass of wine. Lent is occurring in the midst of some bad weather which causes considerable professional stress as our firm sends crews across the state of Arkansas and Mississippi daily (M-F). Lent is also occurring as my little family struggles through some changes. Lent is also occurring as my business partner and I wrestle through another expansion of our firm. Lent is also occurring in the middle of LIFE.
 
I am not missing the fried foods or the alcohol; I am missing the comfort.
 
At night, if I don't have plans, I head home and throw on my pjs, climb under my favorite quilt, and I read...the Bible, books...and I journal...and I pray...and I question...God. A. Lot.
 
I am frustrated.
 
I have lots of BIG feelings right now that center around just being FRUSTRATED over I know not what. So I keep asking God, "What is THIS?!?!" Why am I so uncomfortable???
 
"Growth," He whispers.
 
*Ugh*
 
*Deep Sigh*
 
 
Last night I curled up in bed and pouted, and I am ashamed to admit it here...but I did. A full on pout-fest. I looked through old photos of Haiti, my tribe, travel, family, friends...and I pouted. Without a piece of fried chicken in sight and no wine to sip, I was forced to suffer through ALL of the emotions. It felt like torture.
 
True love is convicting.
 
Let that sink in.
 
So here is the confession. When I jotted that phrase down in my journal this weekend, I was thinking of a post-IF blog post on how Jesus convicts sinners with his love not his condemnation. I still think that is true, but the funny (and not ha ha) thing is that God has not given me the time to write until now...and between the time I jotted that and now, God has taken it upon himself to "ed-ucate" me on the concepts of "love" and "condemnation" and how they relate to how I treat myself and how I treat others.
 
Grace.
 
I just love people who argue over grace vs. works. Have they ever done either? Let me tell you, grace IS work. Living like Jesus IS work. Loving like Jesus IS work.
 
Whew...diving in here...
 
I read somewhere once that LIFE is in the messy and the awkward and the uncomfortable.
 
It is.
 
In my uncomfortableness in this beautiful, messy, and awkward season of Lent...God is teaching me about some places in me that truly ache. Places I need healing. Places I need to spend time. Places I need to share with others. {As an aside, I am literally wiggling in my seat as I type this...just the subject matter makes me uncomfortable.}
 
Yesterday I learned that I miss Haiti because I miss the lessons in how to be joyful no matter what the circumstances, and I learned that there are some very real people in my everyday life right here in Little Rock, Arkansas, that can teach me about how to be truly joyful. Case in point the waitress at the restaurant I went to yesterday for lunch (ran away to) and made friends with learning all about something called the Daniel Fast that they did at their church in January. I also learned they work two jobs and in-between handle childcare for two grandchildren; one full-time while their sole parent is stationed overseas. She was COMPLETELY joyful. I was jealous as hell of her.
 
Today my business partner and I snuck away to a hidden dive for lunch. We did it so we could apologize to each other for words spoken in stress late last week. God gave us the space at that little table to teach us some new lessons on grace. In moments of stress, we are now going to always take one step back into a pool of grace (I wish you could see my hands as I try and show this to you) and operate and speak from there. It is another step of growth for two very human leaders who have a company, a team, and a dream that is outstripping every bit of air cover we grasp at...it is humbling and scary and it means we have to be vulnerable with each other...Every. Day. We are stepping into the uncomfortable Every. Day.
 
This morning I texted a member of my tribe and said I need to do life with you...more...deeper. I love my tribe. I love doing life with my tribe. I simply need more. Two years ago what I have now would have felt constrictive/oppressive/suffocating, and today I want...if not...NEED more. Wow. God can work miracles. This alone is proof.
 
I want more time to write/teach/study Jesus. Some days I feel like my professional life is interfering with my prayer/meditation time. Someone check on me. I don't know the girl typing this. I don't know what to do with all of those feelings and dreams. What is this??
 
...and that is just the aching places that have surfaced in the past few days. Lent is 40 days (46 if you include Sundays).
 
40 Days!!!
 
True love IS convicting.
 
I am coveting my comforts (i.e., crutches) to God and tithing additional time to God...and in my coveting and tithing he is revealing the deep aches I hide even from myself and he is beautifully and tenderly meeting me there. It is equal parts messy and beautiful. I am a daughter looking to my good good Father for wisdom and healing and grace. He is giving it to me in heaping spoonfuls. One right after another.
 
#Lent2015
 
*I am a first timer to Lent so I have zero idea if this type of heavy introspection is normal or just another Heatherism. I would love to hear your own #LentStories as we all walk through this Lent season together.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)