This summer has been rough to say the least. A downward spiral with blessings along the way. Little flashes of hope and reminders that God’s scheme is so beyond anything that I could fathom.
I’ve been praying, discerning, hoping and praying some more. I’ve been trying to find a new dream, a new purpose, at least a plan of some sort. Because that’s what we need in life, right? A plan?
God has been reminding me along this journey to relax and know that he is present in my life, even when I desperately don’t feel him. He’s kindly used the folks that he has strategically placed in my life to reveal those messages to me.
I hit a wall mid-summer when I realized that the purpose behind everything I did was I was seeking community. I felt loneliness beyond belief. So alone. I wanted friends. I wanted a community of believers that would challenge, encourage and live life with me. That was my focus in all I did. Community.
I sought community when I should have sought God.
Expectations of community disappoint.
God never does.
And then something amazing happened this weekend.
After months of learning humility, absorbing mass amounts of mercy and grace, and struggling with fear and anxiety and loneliness and frustration and boredom… I found peace, in emptiness.
Let me explain.
Struggling is exhausting, even when done in a God-seeking fashion. I’ve been exhausted. Sick and tired of so many things [I made a list of all of them…] including trying to make new friends, trying to figure out what I’m passionate about, work, always having to be involved in as many ministries as possible, trying jobs and failing, moving, starting over, etc. Exhaustion beats me up until I am nothing, and when I’m nothing, I feel I have nothing to offer.
This past Sunday, the service I volunteer with was changing things up a bit. I was planning on heading to church early to help at the training for college students to join our Guest Experience team [yay recruits!] To add to that, there were a few changes being added to enhance the 608 worship experience. Being exhausted and feeling I had nothing to offer, I was worried about the changes. I knew I had to give these worry-fears to God. I prayed probably one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever prayed – however I did not realize this until 1. Later that night, I immersed myself in the worship service, like seriously let go of everything, and 2. Realized that God had answered my prayer and epically worked through my state of emptiness.
This was my prayer,
I don’t feel special in any way, shape or form.
I know I am.
I know you love me.
But I don’t feel it.
I need you.
Sometimes there’s nothing more beautiful than pure honesty.
You can have it all Lord. Every part of my world. Take this life and breathe on. This heart that is now yours [Bethel Music].
These lyrics brought forth the truth. If I am emptied of all that I am, I am fully open to receiving all that He is.
On this night that I feared I had nothing to give, and a night I expected nothing in return, God blessed me abundantly! Life-giving conversations with strangers who quickly are becoming friends showed me his open door to community – not one I’m trying to pry open, but one he is opening wide for me to walk through.
God also gave to me an opportunity to share a smile and hope. It’s amazing how easy it is to recognize other passengers on the strugglebus when I, myself, am a passenger as well. It also is amazingly easy to encourage them. In this case, I just said what I needed to hear, and testified to how God has helped me to survive the long bus ride. On a night when I felt empty, God filled me so I could pour into the life of another. How cool is that?!
Empty, yet fuller than I’ve ever been. The problem is I think I need a dream, but the truth is when I’m empty of all dreams, desires, hopes and wishes, then I’m right where God wants me. Ready for anything he has planned. I don’t need to seek out community, future plans or dreams. I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t even have to feel it. All I need to do is seek God, and be emptied. Live a life empty, yet full.