Monday, August 29, 2011
I Was "Altared" This Week
I was offered a chilled water as I signed in.
The lights in auditorium were turned very low with candles burning at the four corners. A sense of peace immediately overcame me, although I'd felt harried just moments before entering.
The candles burned at the four areas for Encounters. Encounter God, Encounter Family, Encounter Community and Encounter World.
I went around first reading the plaques set up at each place first. At the first (Encounter God) there was a cross, not set up, but laying on the ground as of ready for the next person to be put there. On top there were a lot of loose nails. Old flat looking nails.
Encounter Family was a living room setting and commitment cards to be filled out.
Encounter Community was a center with two coffee shop looking tables and cups (also coffee with different cups for your refreshment).
Encounter World (or maybe it was Globe) didn't get much attention from me as I felt a desire to sit and pray. I'd asked God to lead me when I got in there.
So I sat in the pew and prayed. I let my mind wander over the four different areas and I opened my heart. I realized that in the last few years, I've struggled. I've struggled with rejection, abandonment, disappointment, bitterness, and hurt so deep I thought my heart would never heal. And I built a lot of walls. Walls to keep people out. Once it became apparent to me that I needed to let people in or I would be ineffective, I moved the walls around my heart and only let people in so far.
I don't want to be hurt again and I figured if I didn't let anyone see the real me, then they can't really hurt me. And trust? You have to prove to me first that you are trustworthy or you won't get my trust. If you say you will do something, I won't believe it or expect it until you do it. But you won't know that. Because with that offer, I'll respond appropriately and appreciatively. But when you don't follow through (and sadly a LOT of people don't) I am not disappointed or hurt because I didn't have expect or have hope.
The word I keep hearing in my heart and have all year is TRUST and I thought that was God wanting me to trust others. I gave it a try and they still just didn't come through. So the walls go back up and I push people away. And I ask God why (the ever famous question, huh?) did He want for me to go through pain like that again?
I felt a need to go to the Encounter God station and I knelt on one of the pillows there. I knew that the breakdown and "lost" feeling I was experiencing in my life had to do with a breakdown of faith. And that all roads started with God.
As I prayed there many things popped up. The walls I thought I'd built just for people, I'd tried to keep God out too, because of all that had happened in such a short amount of time and the things that kept assailing me, I no longer trusted Him to take care of me. I'm notorious for being extremely self-sufficient. I'm guessing God gets as frustrated as my husband and kids do over this trait. (I'm thinking it goes back to my lifehood "lie" that I will be abandoned so I guess instead of depending on someone, I will just do it myself to prove I don't need anyone. It's not true. EVERYONE needs God. And someone with skin on helps too. I helps to have someone to talk to. It's very lonely when you are self-sufficient all the time.)
As a result of putting up walls and not even trusting God to come through for me, I'd done some other things. The calling God put in my heart was suffering. I couldn't understand why God would call me to do something that is so time consuming then not protect my time to get it done. I tried in various ways to set aside at the very least 30 minutes a day to pursue my writing. I don't have support in this endeavor from my family (they see it as a hobby at best and as a waste of time at worst). But this is where God has been leading me for years. So my time to write is whatever little bit of time I can sneak in without anyone knowing I'm writing. It's not conducive to a great flow, at least for the first draft.
But I was not using those little snippets of time because I wanted a stretch where I could loose myself in the story and maybe it would come a little easier.
But as I knelt there I realized that since I couldn't get the time I thought I needed for the task, I had set my calling aside as well.
It felt like God was asking, "Why should I give you stretches of time when you fritter away the time you DO have?" I realized I had wanted my way (and the way of others who have family support) or no way.
I'm such a Martha it sometimes takes quite a smack upside the head to see what God is patiently trying to show me.
For now, my books are to be written with the stolen bits of time I can wrangle out of my busy life. I am to MAKE those stolen bits of time work.
And another admonishment. With my diminishing trust in the One who never fails us....I also let my daily communication with Him slide away into oblivion. So it's His turn to ask Why? There is really no excuse or reason for this. None.
All these realizations were staggering to me. Changes HAD to be made. The one I fear the most is letting down the walls ALL the way because I really do not want to be hurt again. But I am not supposed to be isolated in my heart alone. And that is exactly where I have been for the last several months. Hiding.
God never gave up on me. He kept putting me out there. Pulling me out of my comfort zone (or my hiding place). Getting me where He needed me to open my eyes to the real truth.
So I took a nail and kept it until Sunday.
Yesterday morning during the altar call, I took my nail and went to the cross and hammered it into the wood as a sign of my commitment.
For me, I realize that I can't affect the world until I affect the community, and that is not going to happen until I have my family relationships straight, but none of that can happen until I get back in intimate communion with God.
Have you given up your time with your Father? Why not make a commitment to regain that time? It will be the best thing you've done since becoming a part of the Body of Christ.
APOLOGY: I know it seemed like I fell off the face of the earth, and I thought I had too except I was so busy I knew I was still on there somewhere. :) I will endeavor to keep a better schedule with this blog.