God has been doing some weird / hard / cool stuff over the last few weeks, and as I've been digesting all that He has been opening up in my heart, I have also been praying about what and how to share what I am learning in this space. So this next bit is probably going to be a little messy, but this is me in my brokenness hoping to potentially encourage you in yours.
It all started two weeks ago when I finished reading and then watched the movie "Me Before You" (disclaimer: I enjoyed the story and, while it was sad and I wish it could have ended differently, I accept it for what it is: a fictional story written by a human being. And most of my thoughts about it can be summed up here.). The book had me in tears over the sadness of the story, but the movie did something different to me. I still cried, of course, but not for the same reasons. I found myself a hot mess because of the deep, profound thing that it did in my heart. It forced me to get real and honest before God; honest about my dreams and desires and the things that have caused me to not trust Him fully. So upon leaving the theatre, I drove aimlessly around Nashville with tears streaming down my face, having it out with my Father.
For a really long time, I have lived in a place of defense and not allowed myself to really want or long or pray for that things that my heart actually wants, all as a result of fear and disbelief. Fear that it won't happen, or that I'll be let down, and just not believing that He is as powerful as He says He is or that He will actually give me the desires of my heart.
On that drive, I also realized that I was guilty of doing what I always do: I had built up high walls to protect myself, ensuring that no one could get in. But those same walls meant to keep me "safe" were confining me: to fear, a life of mediocrity, few deep relationships, and a damaging attitude of independence. And any sunlight that tried to creep in was being blocked by these self-inflicted walls, which meant that things were slowly dying. Dreams, desires, and the things that wanted to take root in my heart simply couldn't because of a lack of nourishment.
It was then that I realized I had become my own greatest limitation. This self-described "wild heart" that longs for adventure, that wants to live fully and boldly, that wants to fully trust my Father to fulfill all of its desires and provide for all if its needs was suffocating. It was gasping for air with no reprieve, and I was the only one at fault.
The thing is, I have and continue to believe that God does often give other people the desires of their hearts; I've seen it happen as a result of theirs and others prayer and petition! But for some reason, I have a hard time believing it for myself. Deep in the shade of my walls, feelings of unworthiness have taken root, and have obviously damaged much of my belief in who God says that I am in light of who He is. Then there is my fierce independence, a trait that I have, quite unfortunately, taken much pride in for many years. I was forced to grow up a younger age than most, to fend for myself and fight for anything that I needed or wanted. So that's what I have done for as long as I can remember: strived and fought, all because I didn't think there was someone else who could or would do it on my behalf. But as I sat in church the other night, I very clearly felt Him say to me, "I AM your Warrior. I fight on Your behalf every single day... and I am always victorious." This hit me in a place I didn't even know was so broken. This "independent woman" mentality was slowly killing my trust in my Father, because instead of turning to Him or believing His promises or praying for His provision, I have been going into combat alone. It's no wonder I have come back from each battle bloody and bruised, because I was never meant to go at it on my own. My walls were not only confining me, but also isolating me, to the point that I wasn't even letting my Father into the hard and dying places.
As soon as I got home, I wrote the following in my journal:
My warrior Father, my King, destroy these walls. Brick by brick or in a sudden and powerful downfall, I don't care which. However you choose to do it, I trust You. I want out of this "safe place" - a place that has damaged me for far too long - and I want in on the wildness and uncertainty of running with You. No more defenses. No more safe-guards. No more trying to take care of it all alone. I want daring and danger and sword fights and adventure. I want absolutely all that You've got planned for this life. No mediocrity. No settling for less than Your best. I want supernatural living. I want to live fully dependent on You. I want to see Your world and fall in love with Your people. I also want to just fall in love - with a man of character and honor and godliness. Rugged. Risk-taking. Loving. Like Jesus. (That last bit was hard for me to admit, guys.)
I know that so much of these prayers coming to any kind of fruition first has to do with my intimacy with You. I've been dragging for too long, letting the days go by and not seeking closeness with You... but that is all that I want right now. Father, draw me near to Your heartbeat. Help me relearn what it looks like to converse with You, to be still and listen, to sit in Your presence, to see You in the mundane, and to love others out of Your abundant love for me. Draw me in, Father, deeper and deeper and deeper still. More of You and less of me. More bold prayers and less defenses. More believing and less fear.
I share all of this for two reasons: for confession, and for accountability. And I have shared this messiness with you because it's real. This is where I'm at right now, as I type on a balmy June night from the dim light of my desk lamp. I am opened up before my God and before you, a broken human being just trying to figure out what I believe and who I am and what He is trying to teach me in this season. And being opened up hurts. It requires going to the places you'd rather not, the places you've forgotten about or purposefully avoided in the past, the places that expose the festering wounds and the ugliness of sin. But I am finding that when you choose to go there, hand-in-hand with Jesus, beautiful things begin to happen.
So go there, friend. Get real and raw and honest before God; He can take it, this I know. Tell Him what you really want out of the life He has given to you, and pray for those things in boldness and belief. Grow closer in intimacy and relationship with Him, and I believe you will find that your dreams and desires line up with His purposes for you. From one messy human to another, I hope that you will seek Him and trust Him in all seasons, but especially in the ones that hurt. I am with you. But more importantly, He is with you, and He is for you.