Thursday, July 31, 2008

Taking Advantage Of The Everlasting Arms

I was driving home from work last night and feeling unsettled. It had been a rough day; had a couple of bad exchanges with coworkers, it seemed like nothing was set up the way it should have been for meals, and I was totally discouraged. I was in one of those moods where I'm frustrated, tired, and kind of mad at myself. You know what I mean?

I had some music playing in my car, but I was having a hard time listening to it. It was that song by Sanctus Real called, “I’m Not Alright”. The first part of the song says “If weakness is a wound that no one wants to speak of, then cool is just how far we have to fall. I am not immune. I only want to be loved, but I feel safe behind the firewall. Can I lose my need to impress? If you want the truth, I need to confess…” And then into the chorus of “I’m not alright”

Well, as I was listening, started feeling like I needed to talk to God. I started to tell Him, “I want to be loved, but I feel safest all bottled up to myself. God, I’m feeling really blaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh right now.”

He was like, ‘Sam, you need to rest with me.'

“Yeah, about that - I don’t really know how to make myself rest with You.”

And then I saw this image of a young child who is fussing and fussing. I could tell that there was really something wrong, but every time the parent tried to pick the baby up, the baby would just keep fussing, or worse, scream louder. It was heart breaking. The parent was trying to help the baby, but the baby wasn’t accepting comfort. It was like the baby didn’t trust the parent.

If you ignore a baby’s cries when it’s small, the baby learns that it’s not ok to have problems. That if she tries to let others know that she’s unhappy, uncomfortable, scared, tired, hungry, no one cares.

I know the baby represented an attitude in me. I know in a “I can support this with scripture” way that God wants to help me, but I struggle with trusting Him. One of the first things God taught me when I rededicated my life to Him was, “When you’re unhappy, Sam, CRY.” Now I'm learning that I need to accept comfort once I’ve cried. To do that, I have to face a mindset that I have: I can tell God my problems, but that doesn’t mean that He’s going to help me!

Philipians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Sam, you need to look for my arms. When you’re crying, look around for my arms. I’m going to comfort you, if you’ll let me.”

Hmm. “Well, God, I’m kind of driving right now…soooo.” And then I realized what a beautiful evening it was. It was the sort of skyline that you had to see to believe, and there was a lovely breeze. It was a very (dare I say it?) soooothing sort of evening. And then to top it all off, I started to hear the intro to a particular Klaus Kuhn song in my head.

“Ok, God.” I flipped my ipod over to my Klaus Kuhn folder and began to listen to the song "Psalm 23". As the first strains filled the car, I could feel all the muscles in my neck start to loosen and, better yet, I started to feel peace way down deep. Then, I saw that baby slumped on her dad’s shoulder, finally relaxed. Finally at peace. Finally comforted.

(Note: I’m not a supporter of repeatedly confessing that I’m broken inside. I like POSITIVE confessions – but sometimes, when I’m with very close friends or talking to God there is a need to be factual in a soul baring sort of way. It’s a balance that each person has to walk for themselves, and it’s not as difficult to judge as it sounds.)