A Man Brought Me Psalm 126

I’ve got debt. It mostly represents a buildup of sin from my past – most from before I was even a believer. Before I became a Christian, I tried to save so many people because if I didn’t, who would? So I sunk money, time and resources into people (out of a distorted understanding of what love is) in ways that’s often ended up costing them and me more than either of us could afford financially, but also emotionally and spiritually. Then I became a Christian, but there weren’t major changes to how I viewed money until the last couple months.

I feel like God has been showing me how I had recognized my inability to “work” my way into righteousness in so many other areas of my life, and gratefully accepted His grace. In those areas, I’ve seen God work crazy miracles, redeeming parts of my life I thought were goners. But when it came to finances, I was trying to do it without Him. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but it was the one area in my life where I felt I couldn’t receive grace, because if He helped me financially, I felt like it would be taking resources from someone far more deserving than me.

I had failed to see I was viewing God through the lens of how money in our world works, not how Gods grace works! I DIDN’T “deserve” any of the grace I’d received thus far – why would this area of my life be any different? But I hadn’t been acting that way, I hadn’t surrendered this area of my life and heart to Him and so He couldn’t redeem it, it was not yet time to make that part of my life His testimony, because if He had I wouldn’t have recognized it. I wouldn’t have been able to give Him the glory. And so we’ve spent these years with Him giving my unrepentant heart just enough to get by.

So anyways, I’m working through all of this internally with God and feeling like God is saying that HE is the one who will do this work. I was reminded of the seven year cycle in the Bible in which debts are forgiven, and that my seventh year with God begins this December. I am feeling overwhelmed by this revelation and fearful to write it somewhere, let alone speak it…

So I go to a work meeting with a man at Panera with all this on my heart. As he opens the meeting, he decides to read me a psalm he felt was for me, in this season. Needless to say, I cried:

Psalm 126 NIV

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.

Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.

Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

When Running Gets Me Nowhere

I had this moment tonight where I looked around and thought, “I have no friends here. These are my sister’s friends, not mine.” I don’t *think* this is true…but it feels as if my heart sometimes believes it.

Rachel still feels like everyone’s first choice. She is affectionate and encouraging. She is comfortable with herself and puts others at ease. Meanwhile, I feel like I’m giving everything I have just trying to be present. I want AUTHENTIC connection with others but I don’t seem to be very good at it, and working on that makes me feel even more awkward and difficult. I become inarticulate and clumsy. The leap of the heart that even friendship seems to require doesn’t just feel distant – it sometimes feels impossible.

All I want to do is leave. I want to run away from everything. I didn’t used to be like this., but I lost my resiliency in my developmental years. My relationships, from family to friends to boyfriends, seemed to emphasize just how unacceptable I was, as is. I wasn’t meeting the conditions required to be loved.

I started putting distance between others before they could choose to distance themselves from me. This became a habit of my heart, which whispered to not get too attached because nobody would stay, which then became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not enough? Too much? The common denominator was me. And so to protect the little pieces of my heart that I had left, I would further entrench myself in habits of flight, rejection, withdraw and distance.

I know my problem isn’t being in the shadow of my sister, or standing in comparison to the billions of amazing women out there. My problem isn’t my roommate or my parents or my ex’s or my dog. The problem isn’t men, or culture. The problem is me.

That’s why running won’t help. That is why I have to stay and stand there and be more awkward than not. I must slowly build new habits of sitting in the uncomfortable, of risking rather than rejecting. To notice when I push people away and instead, to draw them closer.

This is not easy work, but it is powerful. I make dozens of choices each day over these past months to do the uncomfortable and it’s slowly changing me. I’m hundreds of small choices in, and know that in the process, new habits are being formed. I am doing it imperfectly. I’m going to take some losses, make some mistakes and probably continue to embarrass myself more than I would like. But years of running hasn’t gotten me anywhere. So it’s time to try staying where I am.

Lazarus and Liberty

I think of You when you wept for Lazarus.

I wonder if You wept, too, for yourself.

The cost of resurrection would be Your death. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that what costs God much cannot be treated cheaply by us.

I am humbled. I am brought low. I am grateful. But I find myself upset, not at You but at me. That the I which I once was is now the barrier which must necessarily be removed.

I feel as if some of my past sin continues to limit my present sanctification. And if it is so… You are justified in doing that. It took your people decades to learn to live imperfectly at Liberty; a lesson I must learn as well.

So maybe it is okay for me to feel as if I am in the Valley of Darkness, a valley shaped by my sin. You tell me that you will lead me through it as my shepherd. And You went ahead of me-through Death and back into Life so I can walk confidently on the path you established.