I am a VISUAL THINKER. And I say that in all caps because usually that means that my thoughts are really LOUD and BIG and TAKE UP A LOT OF SPACE. It usually means that when I get in my head, I am in there for a while, on a JOURNEY, an epic one with pits and falls and mountains and valleys and danger and excitement and also perhaps a hobbit or even a wizard thrown in for good measure. It’s easy for me to get lost in there.
This can be troublesome for pretty much everyone but me.
Because this means, when I am in Laura Land, galloping about and really getting into some good unexplored territory in my head, I really struggle with paying attention to anything else. I will listen to you. I will nod and answer and really and truly mean whatever I say. But I’m not there. I’m UP HERE, in my head. And I am not even aware enough of the problem to know that there IS a problem, so I don’t even bother to dig myself out to be fully present.
I am, LITERALLY, full of myself.
My husband is so lucky.
This also means that sometimes, it’s hard for me to see something from another person’s point of view, not because I don’t want to, but just because my head is VERY LOUD. I can get wrapped up in my own stuff. And I can get lost in my own map and forget that other people are on this journey with me.
Every once in a while, I need a snap, a jolt of sorts to bring my back to reality where other people are hurting or wondering or journeying.
This happened recently, and while I won’t go into details because it’s not my story to tell, it made me really think about how we do this life thing together. How we are all trying so hard to make our story mean SOMETHING, and how that is SO HARD to do when your story is so completely intertwined and dependent on OTHER people’s stories.
I find that the times when I am the most relaxed about my own journey is when I have taken deliberate actions to disown it. Which sounds all sorts of backwards. But I think sometimes we forget that so much of our story is out of our hands. The setting, the characters, sometimes even the drama or excitement— a lot of that is handed to us upon birth. We don’t get to choose the childhood we have. We don’t get to choose how other people affect our story. And that can really… really suck sometimes.
But even outside of that, as a Christian, I have to constantly war with myself. This life, which this culture is constantly telling me is MINE and MINE ALONE to create, is not my life. The purpose of me being on this planet is not my own comfort or fulfillment at the end of the day. My purpose is to show up, to be present in the places where God has led me, so should HE choose to act, should HE choose to move, that I am ready. I can make plans all I want, but ultimately, it will be His will that will steer the course of my life.
And that is REALLY HARD for me sometimes. I am a go with the flow type of person by nature, and it’s still hard, so I can only imagine how hard this must be for people who seek control in all things. Control is safety. Control is a map, that will tell you where you are going and exactly how long it will take you there.
Giving control to God means setting fire to that map, putting on a blindfold, and walking out, sometimes in the direction where you are PRETTY SURE there is a cliff out there waiting.
But I find, amidst the terror that can sometimes accompany that kind of abandonment of self, there is such a great calmness. I am not responsible in making sure plans come to fruition. I am not responsible for deciding where and with whom I am best suited. I am not responsible for any of the heavy lifting. I get to just show up and trust that God has me where he needs me and that the gifts he has blessed me with are meant for these moments. And that is so freeing. Of course we still plan make sure our general health and safety are taken into account, but even those are ultimately out of our hands. And we can spend our days worrying about them, or we can trust that even our discomforts and illnesses and possibly untimely endings would be used to shock the world with a jolt of Jesus. Because that’s what this world needs.
I am uncomfortable at this moment writing this, to be honest. I know that this is not how most people think, and I am quite certain that there will be more than one person who reads this and tsk’s under their breath about how naive I am. But I don’t believe it’s naivety. Or blind trust. Or just ignorance.
I believe, to the core of my being, that we, especially if you have made that decision to run into the arms of Jesus… WE have so much power within us. We are imbued with a quiet force, the force which breathed life into this world… he has breathed into us. And we spend so much of our time shutting that power down. We spend so m much time trying to syphon into the direction that WE want to go, and into the things that WE have chosen. Imagine if we just let it GO. Let it live where it needs to live in order to blossom and actually CHANGE people’s lives?
The world could not touch you. And I don’t mean that you won’t get hurt, or misused, or stepped on. But you, your message, your Jesus, you could not be stopped.
What a big, scary, amazing, terrifying way to live.
But really, it’s the only way we were meant to live.