It all started with waking up. The threads of consciousness, woven and spun into the glory fall, worked their way into me, seeping into the dreams lingering in my mind yet being steadily dispelled by the constancy of activity in the physical domain. Stillness.

I had a thought upon waking up, profound and personally meaningful. Yet the wording and phrasing of the thought escaped the frail grasp of my groggy brain leaving nothing but the impression of a feeling—one of longing and hope but forever more ineffably gone. What’s worse: I was at my laptop with a blank page ready to scribe these musings, yet the words had left.

So here I am, writing what remains of the experience: can I piece together the thoughts leading up to the particular idea? Can I trace my feelings back to their origin?

No; it’s hopeless.

Why does the subconscious taunt me so? Is there a greater good to be realized from the loss of this thought?

Perhaps. The feeling of hope that lingered: this is worth treasuring. This feeling is worth storing up in my heart. The more hope I store in my heart, the more I will speak and act out of hope. The more I speak and act out of hope, the more others around me will be encouraged to do the same. So then, if I change my approach to life based on this positive feeling, then I have been affected by the original idea, even though I cannot understand it, nor express it to another person. I have felt the idea and that’s all I need in order for me to act on it. Maybe soon I will find again the words to phrase it to another, but for now, it remains alive and un-cheapened by the confines of verbal expression. I recall the substance of my idea, unfettered in my spirit. Though I cannot explain the thing that gives me hope, I know that I have it. I hold this hope as in a jar of clay, and the darkness of my mind has not understood it. Thank God that I am being renewed inwardly day by day.

Perhaps my encounter this morning was not with an idea at all, but with the very Spirit of God. Perhaps I awoke not to my own thought, but to the Hope of Glory living in me, strengthening my spirit. Praise the LORD, O my soul!

clouds
The clouds are symbols of hope to me. One day, they will be parted as a scroll to reveal Jesus coming again.

Ok, as I begin this post, I frankly have no idea where it’s going to end up. Sooooo, here goes.

Today began with the word “change” for me. I noticed that in the word “change” is the word “hang” and I realized that so often change feels like your life is hanging in the balance. Right now, my life feels like it’s hanging in the balance. I’m on choir tour with my school, and things started off pretty well, but something today went out of whack. I’m not sure when or how it happened either. I do know this: God kind of warned me that He was going to wreck me. I also know that from the outset of this trip, I was looking forward to talking to all kinds of different people in order to see how God was going to move in different ways. Maybe I’m just short-sighted. It’s day two of four but I feel like I already want it to be over because I am being forced to interact with certain people much sooner than I was anticipating.

In a sense, I guess I’m really complaining about control. I am definitely NOT in control of the situation here. The question is now, “Can I control myself?” If I am going to be completely honest with myself, I knew there was this possibility before tour even started, but I’m not sure I could have done anything to prevent it. Ok, enough complaining. I’m sorry. I do have something more meaningful to share.

I’ve been keeping record of my thoughts lately. Over the last six days, every time I have a thought that is particularly profound in a personal sense (I am blessed to have quite a few), I write it down. I have filled an entire page in six days, and the results are interesting. I am able to read through it and be reminded of lessons that I have learned and perspectives that I desire to maintain. I am also becoming more aware of questions and longings in my heart. Something I have particularly enjoyed though is the ability to stop thinking about ideas that I want to remember. Writing everything down has allowed me to clear my head for my thoughts to continue to flow and lead me to some logical conclusions and some questions that dig even deeper into my original processes.

One of the conclusions I have come to that I believe God lead me to was that if I am in the center of God’s will, I have not missed a single thing that He has planned for my life. If I continually set my face to seek Him, then He will bring me into the best He has for me. Here’s the hard part though: His best is not always what I think should be His best. In the words of a deeply meaningful song: “I want Your best, but what if Your best is brokenness, would I be broken? I want Your best, but what if it’s less than what I ask, and what I’m hoping. What if Your best is here in the waiting—here in the going through the motions?” (What If Your Best by FFH) Ouch God. I just want to cry because I know He is so good, but He is asking me to let go of control—to let go of my death grip on what I want for my life so that He can lead me into something truly needful and enjoyable. I think I forget so easily that if I haven’t developed my relationship with God in this life, then I haven’t done anything eternal. It’s a challenge almost. What if I could aspire to be the most normal, average, unnoticed person? What if I managed to avoid all fame and notoriety in this life completely? What if I pursue the purpose that I believe God has called me to and no one ever cares except God and myself? Can I be okay with that now? Will I reap the benefits of that in eternity? I am in so much emotional turmoil over this right now it’s not even funny. I’m scared and bitter and despairing. I don’t know what to do with this. Here God, I offer this pitiful, pathetic, fearful wreck to You. I fear abandonment. I fear loss. I fear the empty spaces. Yet it is the wide open spaces of the unknown that continually call my name. It is in the unknown that I find freedom to define myself and explore the depths of relationship with God.

Here I am, caught between the best and worst that life has to offer; and the only thing that I can think to do is fall on the floor and weep.

My thoughts over the last six days.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” —Matthew 3:2

To repent is to change your mind, to change the way you think. Anything that we do or say, anything that we allow to set itself up against God, we are called to repent of. We are called to repent of anything that refuses to give God dominion.

I was reading the Psalms today and the writer was pleading with God to bring retribution to the wicked. The wicked in this passage were doing all of these things to unjustly hurt the writer and he was asking God to bring the wicked down to lower than the dust. As I was reading this, I kept thinking to myself how much I would hate to be the wicked. How would it feel to be the ill-favored fatherless of Psalm 109:10-13? I thought about how I would feel utterly dejected and filled with anger to be in their position.

Then it hit me. The wicked need to repent because they have thought patterns that refuse to bow to Christ. The wicked and their children entertain thoughts of hatred and self-pity, and to repent would mean that they must give up those patterns of thought. Ah, Sovereign LORD, I am the wicked!

How many times have I entertained self-pity? How many times have I been angry at myself (depressed) because of my circumstances? How many times have I despairingly surrendered to loneliness? I am the wicked. I have not clung to God’s promises. I have not thanked Him for all things. I have not given Him dominion over my thoughts. Abba, change the way I think. These patterns are so deeply ingrained in me that I don’t know how to repent on my own. As far as I understand it, I give you dominion over my thoughts.

plant
Repentance starts small and grows into righteousness, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.