Finding My Footing: Discovering God in the (Torturous) Dreaming Process
Finding My Footing:
Discovering God in the (Torturous) Dreaming Process
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How can we find God and feel refreshed or hopeful when we are simultaneously feeling bogged down by the world, frantic in our souls, frustrated with the anxiety that is plaguing us…?
Over the past few months, as my husband and I have been seeking God in a more focused, please-please-please-lead-us kind of way, I have found myself wavering between two psychological and spiritual realities: On the one hand, I find myself in total peace, utterly confident of God’s goodness, His timing, and His provision. On the other hand, I am an anxious mess, having a hard time sleeping, and despising this season of NOT KNOWING 100% what the future holds.
Although the learner/lover-of-study/researcher inside me enjoys learning something (sometimes profoundly) new every single day, the ultra-responsible/lover of certainty/mama inside me is feeling absolutely tortured by still feeling “in limbo” regarding where exactly my family will be in a handful of months. All three kids are on board for “whatever,” but one in particular keeps looking at me with hungry eyes, asking probing questions about our future, desperately hoping for an idea of what to start wrapping her mind and heart around. She’s “up for whatever”, but she has told me time and again that she’d feel a lot less anxious if she knew just which “whatever” is actually on the horizon. (Same here.)
So it’s tough.
It’s been such a helpful, illuminating season in so many ways. Asking ourselves questions about everything from our careers, to our geographical location, to our children’s quality of schooling, to our church community, to our relationships and proximity to various friends and extended family members, to which of our animals we will or won’t be able to take with us if we relocate… these discussions are all really helpful in clarifying what our values really are. Much of what we’ve learned in this process is so valuable I can’t believe we didn’t even know the answers to some of these questions before this. (Like what exactly is included in my husband’s current retirement package, for example.) Some of what we’ve learned is brand new, still-in-process information that will directly affect the neighborhood in which we currently live. It’s something we couldn’t possibly have known before, yet it greatly impacts our future.
I think the craziest thing for me has been this: It’s been astounding how clearly God has been preparing us for each step of the way. For many months now, He has been stirring certain passions, certain dissatisfactions, certain longings in each of us… and we can now see that was His way of helping us develop the fortitude for some rather big-time, unexpected hiccups that have recently reared their heads in our lives. There is a definite sense of reassurance as I ponder God’s sovereign preparation and provision through it all.
He has been so gracious, so kind, so tender to me.
I have most definitely had my moments of acting like a frantic, “take a chill pill” toddler, though. Lots and lots of them, to tell you the truth. Just a few mornings ago, as a matter of fact, I woke up (yet again) filled with angst and fear and frustration at feeling such confusion and uncertainty along this journey. My stomach was literally ill from worry, my momma-guilt was at one of its highest peaks as my daughter yet again was begging me for clarity and vision (which I still don’t have), and I felt like I had had just about enough of this “aimless wandering” crap. Sure, I was getting lots of questions answered and sure, I was discovering more and more about which of our “options” were no longer viable options anymore— but, gosh darn it, I was SO SICK of not knowing where to register my kids for school this fall. I was SO FRUSTRATED by feeling like so many of the things that my heart longs for are in opposition to one another. Or in opposition with what my husband would prefer. Ugh. So, the other morning, I decided to tell God HOW ANGRY I was that He was taking so long to reveal all the pieces of this puzzle.
Apparently, patience is something I might need some inner work on.
In any case, since patience still hadn’t arrived gift-wrapped on my doorstep by the other morning when I was suffering in my inwardly-distressed state, I opened up Psalm 23 and spoke pretty matter-of-factly to the Lord.
As I read the ancient passage, I found myself circling the words and phrases therein that taught me something about God’s character and/or His promises. I got super honest about what my soul was particularly longing for. And I begged (and kinda-sorta demanded) Him to please, without delay, please come and be what I need Him to be. Now.
I NEED God to BE the Good Shepherd Psalm 23 describes. I need Him to act in that leading, guarding, guiding fashion. I NEED Him to provide for me so that I “lack nothing” (as it says in verse 1). I NEED Him to care about my soul’s rest and refreshment (as it implies in verses 2-3). I NEED Him to comfort me as my mind races and as sleep evades me and as fear and anxiety start feeling like they are creeping up to choke me out. I NEED Him to bring my husband and I favor (or “anointing”, like it says in verse 5) in whatever we set our intention towards (i.e. professionally and dwelling-wise). I NEED Him to create a reality wherein I am so filled with His goodness and love that I am overflowing it to those around me.
And, obviously, I always am in desperate need of His presence, grace, and love to be with me… no matter where I go.
After I spent that time in Psalm 23 with God, pouring out my heart in complete honesty and complete desperation, I have to admit: that “peace that passes understanding” actually came upon me. I really did feel more calm at the end. I felt more grounded, more capable of facing my day, more inspired and composed. I felt like I had found my footing once again.
It was rather miraculous.
So I want to encourage you, too: if you are feeling bogged down by the world, frantic in your soul, frustrated with the anxiety that is plaguing you… take some time to turn towards God in it. Open up your Bible (or the Bible app on your phone), find a passage that tells you something about God’s character and His promises (Psalm 23, Isaiah 61, Isaiah 30:18-21, and Luke 15:11-32 are some of my favorites)… and then ask Him to BE and DO what He says He will be and do.
I’m praying for your soul-rest and peace today. Feel free to pray for me as well. 🙂
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
* * *
What about you?
Read through Psalm 23 (above). As you do, circle the words and phrases therein that teach you something about God’s character and/or His promises. What aspects of God’s character (as revealed in this passage) do you most need today? What is something else you could do (or stop doing) that would help you find God in the midst of whatever struggle you are going through?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.