I’m not sure how it started, but I think it happened long before I was aware of it. Slow shifts away from truth toward lies, listening to quiet voices that didn’t come from the Shepherd. Digging into the past instead of seeing the present or future. And then one day, I realized I had lost sight of the land entirely. I was at sea with no compass, cloudy skies, and little energy to row home, especially since I didn’t know the direction of home.
There are a few areas where I’ve never done well. For instance, I lean toward the idea of God as a little bit angry. A little bit frustrated with me. More wrath and less compassion. I know that’s not the right view, but knowing a thing and being saturated with a thing–yeah, I knew it, but I couldn’t figure out how to believe it, trust it, bank on it. The default setting was “God might not be happy with you right now because…”
That’s a terrible foundation. It breeds fear. Doubt. And Satan had an absolute field day with it. He was the quiet voice saying “Do more. Try harder. Don’t slow down and work through this, because even questioning it isn’t right. God needs you to obey. Sure, he loves his own, but exactly what evidence do you have that you’re one of those? The road is narrow. What makes you think you found it?”
But I pushed on. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t entirely sure of the outcome, but I could obey. Except obeying out of fear and doubt is exhausting. There is no time to rest and relax. That yoke Jesus says is light–it isn’t light if you don’t wear it right. It chafes. Blisters. Pain.
A few months ago, the spiritual battle in my life came to a head. There was no event, no trigger. It was a slow drift to sea. For some reason, I started to dwell in the past. Failures. Betrayals. Relationships gone wrong. Areas of sin that have plagued me for decades. Wrong thinking. All of it played over and over and over. I couldn’t get away from it. I was driving myself crazy. I read more Bible, but I still wasn’t seeing it, wasn’t seeing God right. I didn’t feel loved. I didn’t feel protected. I felt adrift.
To make things worse, I’m getting older. That age where you can look back and suffer regrets. It’s too late to do a few things I always hoped to do. My parenting years are almost done, and some of my children are wandering, and you don’t get do-overs. Some of my dreams need to be released because they’re never going to happen. I have a chronic illness (Diabetes Type One) that darkens my life a little bit and speaks of an uncertain future. And all of those things together–they gave Satan a lot of fodder. They gave my sinful self a lot of fodder. It was toxic fodder with fungus, though, and I chewed and chewed until I was sick.
Which leads to a new touch, a new start, a year of being reestablished. God sweeping in and sending a wind toward the shore. And yes, this post is a cliffhanger, because it’s a story. I hate cliffhangers, and I apologize, but the story takes time, and it’s still unfolding as I write it, so you’ll have to wait, along with me, for the whole outcome. But I promise, it gets better. I mean, it had to, right? But for now, drifting at sea, chewing toxic cud, and needing, more than anything in this world, a rescue by a knight or a prince or a shepherd who knew me and loved me and wouldn’t get angry with me for being who I am… That’s how the story began. Once upon a time.