In My Boat…

I pulled back my covers and climbed into my bed.

Usually I am falling asleep to the sound of Gilmore Girls repeating on Netflix but tonight I was just laying there.

Exhausted.
Tired.
Weary.
In silence.

In the silence I felt anxious. I felt like I was being swallowed. I felt like everything was foggy, no direction, no destination, just space.
I couldn’t pin point my anxious feelings either. It just felt heavy. I felt heavy.

And as I was making my bed the next day, I looked above my headboard of my twin size bed (yes, I am still a child) and saw a verse that KT had given me as a house warming gift almost a year and a half ago.

Do not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

I grew up in a not-so-typical broken home. Heavy, paralyzing, suffocating depression hit my mom when I was nine after my dad lost his job. Our family, we broke.
There were so many trials, dark places, and triggers that I still need healing from.
It was that type of darkness that you don’t know how to describe to people because they might think you’re crazy.
Ever since that year, and difficult years to come, uncertainty has been the thing that I can’t handle. It makes me hurt, it makes me frustrated, it makes me fear, it makes me impatient, it makes me question, it makes me want and fight for control even in ways I wouldn’t see as controlling.

When I was little and my dad would say “maybe” to my questions or “we will see”, I would say “yes or no?”. I wanted the picture black and white, no grey area, and I wanted it to process immediately. The shaky in-between, the messy in the meantime, meant that there were moments for devastation, for heart break, for unruly and cruel decisions that could leave me more hurt than I already was. There was potential for me to break again and I didn’t want to remember that pain by it being present.

What took me back to reflecting on this was listening to Lysa Terkeurst talk about the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44) and Jesus walking on water (Mark 6:45-52) as one completely intertwined event in the Bible. She made a point we tend to study those two occasions entirely separate and when she put it together I realized something.

When feeding the five thousand, the disciples were doubtful.

Then, when in the middle of a storm on a boat, they saw a man coming to them on the water and they were terrified.

She defines the word terrified in these verses as “setting in motion what needs to remain still”.

…He came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified.
Mark 6:48b-50

The disciples cried out in fear and doubt because they were setting in motion a moment that Jesus wanted to walk into with them. Both moments of immense trust.

They wanted to send the people away to get something to eat instead of trying to feed them themselves.

They got ahead of themselves while on the water, they cried out in an effort to save themselves, instead of remaining still and trusting. They needed to be still because what were they going to do? What were they going to accomplish by being terrified?
Nothing.
How were they going to take control of the storm or of the man walking on the water?
They weren’t.
Because Jesus wanted to accomplish it for them. He wanted them to see just how it would be if they trusted Him enough to not shift their eyes. He saw them struggling and was coming to their rescue.

Yet their impatience and fear and doubt made them terrified and stripped them of perfect peace.
Uncertainty makes me terrified. And then the same thing happens…I set in motion what needs to remain still. I try to figure it out. I can’t sit still because sitting still means more time for my mind to wander into “what could happen?”, “what if?”. It means that I don’t have control but even worse I have to acknowledge it. I get ahead of myself and I try to cure and heal and makeshift and convince all on my own even though that’s not my job nor in my power.
In the midst of being terrified and trying to take control, I miss Jesus.
I miss His miracles in my mess and His good in the difficulty.
Yes, it’s there. Even when things seem to be slowly spiraling or externally exploding.
I struggled to believe His goodness is there, some days I still do. Like as recent as yesterday.

But I know God is still good even when I’m not.
I know God is still in control even when I am not.
I know God still loves me even when I am terrible at loving Him.

“But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.’ And

he got into the boat with them

and the wind ceased.”

Mark 6:50-51

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I can’t make my own way. I can’t control things to pieces or over analyze them into false realities without feeling the repercussions of trying to be my own savior.
Sometimes I want that…sometimes I don’t want to trust God because I want to be able to trust myself. I want to be able to draw my own conclusions and bring clarity to what is unclear.
I try to fight the storm on my own and save myself in my little tiny row boat that if I built myself should never be on the water in the first place.

But then He shows up, even when I feel like I’m long past saving.

Even when I’m questioning or doubting or fearful.
If I keep my eyes fixed, I realize that He’s climbed into my boat.
I realize He is sitting right across from me offering comfort and hope when I feel hopeless and weak.
I realize that I really don’t have to fight my own battles or terrifying storms and I don’t have to be terrified.
I know that He intercedes on my behalf and the belief I have in a Man who came and lived and died and rose is utterly astounding, but it’s so real.
I realize that I don’t have to know because He does. He brings clarity even if the clarity is that He is all knowing and all powerful. I might never have all the answers but that’s ok because of Where I place my trust.

I wouldn’t want be in any boat without Him, and I wouldn’t want to put my trust in anything else.

Even on the days where that feels impossible.

So if you are feeling far or distant, like you’ve prayed and seen nothing or worse (seen the opposite) I wish I could sit across from you and tell you that I’m right there with you. I would empathize with you in this lost and broken world. I would say yes, I see that too in the places where it hurts to try and understand but friend, there are things we won’t understand until we are in heaven. And that’s ok.

I would tell you that your distrust, your doubt, your questioning will fade. I pray that it will, and right now it’s ok. It’s a part of a bigger story.

I would also tell you, we are so small. We are so small because we have a big God, even on the days that we don’t believe it and I hope that after you breathe a little bit and get past the anger or hurt that you would even just believe it a little bit too. Even if it is faint.

I would tell you that He can handle your doubt and your questioning and that He will use it for His glory even if that seems uncanny for you right now.

I would tell you it’s ok to be in a place that you feel like you don’t know up from down.

I would tell you it’s ok to have good and bad days.

I pray that you would look up, and that you would see Jesus sitting across from you in whatever season or trial or everyday desire that looks like for you. I pray that you would let Him meet you where you are, just like I am trying to do. I pray that you would give yourself grace when that idea seems ridiculous. 

Just whisper, Jesus, I trust You, even if I don’t feel like it. Help me to trust You.

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