Thursday, July 25, 2013

Holy Imagination

I started writing a blog post, but the topic felt old. I’m still struggling with all of the new and all of the changes. I’m still not adjusting as well or as quickly as I wish I was. I’m still struggling with feelings of fear and failure. But, I have written about all of this before and I don’t think that I really have anything new to say right now. I just need to keep leaning into my Beloved God.
So, I decided to share with you one of my favorite holy imaginations that I have with God right now.
I’m a little girl again. Big enough to run around, jump and sing, but not too big to crawl into my Abba’s lap when I’m feeling scared, tired or hurt. He cradles me in His big, strong arms and I can hear his faithful heart beat if I lean into His chest. I can see my knobby knees, bare feet and wiggling toes. They are dirty and sometimes knees have gotten scraped and toes have gotten stubbed. First, Father God quiets me. He stills the flow of anxious thoughts and slows the rapid pace of my heart. Then Jesus comes and cleans me up. I watch His hands lovingly wash away the dirt and gently tend the hurts. Holy Spirit is there too, like a shiny blanket of love that surrounds me, protects me and comforts me.
This is my favorite moment, when I finally lift my gaze and find His eyes of fire. There is light so bright all around Him. His eyes are blazing, but inviting. God holds my gaze and I believe that He loves me. I feel seen, known and cherished. I feel safe, accepted and celebrated. I can release my sins sincerely and unashamedly and let His forgiveness flow right into me. I enjoy Him, enjoying me and it is sheer delight. Every care fades away as I receive His love for me. I know that this is what I was made for and that this is how I want to spend forever: loving God and letting Him love me.
When I open up my eyes and reconnect with my circumstances, life feels more possible because of my increased intimacy with God. I have more joy and peace because I am more aware that He is the God who is with me.
I don’t know how you are feeling and what circumstances you are facing, but I pray Ephesians 3:16-19 over you:
That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #821: The blog title is What to Do When You May or May Not be a Control Freak – July 18, 2013. And yes, it is very good and helpful.
·         #822: Camping
·         #823: Bold prayers
·         #824: Talking with God during my morning commute
·         #825: Rest
·         #826: How getting sick is always an opportunity to re-evaluate my priorities
·         #827: I get to sample wedding cakes
·         #828: Getting to know my new coworkers
·         #829: God is a good leader
·         #830: Helping people experience God’s love in a way that changes them
·         #831: A new shift cable for my car
·         #832: Reuniting with close friends after a long absence
·         #833: It’s OK for me to be unproductive sometimes
·         #834: A good cry and sharing scared feelings
·         #835: 65 days to my wedding
·         #836: Writing still feels fun even though I don’t have it mastered, which is intimidating

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My trip to IHOP-KC and remembering who I am

I have been increasingly stressed about my job in the past month. I started dreading going and feeling really anxious. I would send up panicked prayers all the way there, sometimes there were tears and I started living for my days off.

At first, I denied that there was a problem and blamed my feelings and behavior on the fact that my life was crazy. But, my sister has been married for almost 3 weeks now. I’m settling in to my new office nicely, wedding planning is actually happening and we are making good progress. But, I still feel stressed about work. I have my second canker sore in a month, my stomach has been hurting and I had a migraine on Monday afternoon.
Ben and I traveled to Kansas City this weekend to attend a friend’s wedding and spend some time at the International House of Prayer there. It ended up being a Fire in the Night reunion of sorts. We were able to have long conversations with my lovely friend Jessi, be encouraged by receiving prophetic prayer and connect meaningfully with God through prayer and worship. It was a wonderfully refreshing weekend.
But, I didn’t come back cured from my work problem and that has been distressing me this week. What’s wrong with me, I’m wondering. Why don’t I like my job anymore? The last time I felt this way was before I left my job in Chicago. I had been counseling a lot in my own strength and I burned myself right out. I took a six month sabbatical and spent half of that time at IHOP-KC. It was there that I realized that I was an intercessor first and a counselor second. It was after that realization that God restored to me my desire to help people make changes in their lives. It was in that context that God invited me into His work of counseling. It was when I was praying in the night that I learned to contend for people so that they would be able to receive counseling.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten all about these things until this weekend refreshed them. Unfortunately, I think that I have retreated into some old habits. I have been trying to counsel in my own strength and feeling like a failure because I have all of these really challenging clients and there is absolutely nothing that I can do to help them. I have been feeling powerless and decided that avoiding work was the best way to deal with these feelings. I have been complaining about how hard my job feels and whining that I just want to feel comfortable and happy at work. I have wanted God to send me easier clients who will respect my limits and be extremely responsive to my work.
God has graciously allowed me to run into my human frailties once again. I am sobered by my limitations and running back to the place of strong dependence on Him in my work. I am recommitting to being an intercessor and worshipper first. I am settling myself back into seeing my life as all about enjoying relationship with God and my job being an area where I enjoy God with other people that He happens to be working on and in. I’m paying more attention to the heavy burdens that I allow myself to carry when I make myself responsible for their healing instead of entrusting them to God. I am asking God to direct my practice, from my foundation through intimacy with Him to who I work with and how many clients I see. I’m sad that it only took me 18 months to return to unhealthy habits, but so grateful to God for lovingly confronting me and leading me back to paths of life.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #805: My new office is really cozy and has a beautiful view of trees
·         #806: Super wedding planning Wednesdays
·         #807: Most of my invitations were mailed out today
·         #808: Dinner with a good friend who is also a wise colleague
·         #809: Early morning runs with Karyn and our yellow dog
·         #810: Visiting the Nightwatch and how my heart came alive
·         #811: Remembering what God did during my season at IHOP-KC
·         #812: Being at IHOP-KC with Ben
·         #813: I am still blogging after almost two years
·         #814: Celebrating my core group leader Jiun and her marriage
·         #815: How good it feels to break down and have a cry in the prayer room
·         #816: God’s kindness never fails, even though mine often does
·         #817: Courage to bravely say true things
·         #818: Limits (I don’t like setting them, but they are so helpful and healthy)
·         #819: Letting other people help me
·         #820: Accepting a rebuke with grace, instead of self-hatred