Friday, July 12, 2013

A Familiar Place

It feels a bit strange to have a picture of crayons at the top of this post rather than something from the natural world like usual. But the name of this blog is Speak 2 Me, and the Lord definitely spoke to me where these crayons were concerned. So a crayon picture it is!
I had been doing a cleaning/de-cluttering project and decided to clean out our crayon bucket on a whim. I dumped out the container with a sense of purpose. This time I would only keep crayons that were totally intact. I began sorting. Unbroken crayons with at least some point went back into the bucket, and all the others went into a giant pile. The above picture is just a portion of the several hundred that I culled that day.
I loved how tidy the remaining crayons looked in their now roomy container. I let out a contented sigh and prepared to throw the others away... but a funny thing happened. I found my hands hovering in the air above the crayons in a sort of paralyzed way. All of a sudden I was thinking of how many different ways I could use these broken crayons: creating pictures by painting with the melted crayons, making candles, decorating t-shirts, coloring backgrounds of pictures by laying them on their sides, melting them into mega crayons, etc... In that moment, I decided to wait to throw them away until later.
I can hardly believe it, but I walked around that pile of crayons for the better part of four or five hours. Each time I paused to pitch them, I became deeply distressed and just could not bring myself to do it. I got online and read articles about how many crayons end up in landfills and I battled with the thought that a responsible person would not just waste all of those crayons. There must be something I could do besides throwing them away!
Yet the thought of keeping them filled me with dread. I'd still be swimming in clutter and they'd zap my mental energy. Every time we attempted to use the crayons we'd have to pick our way through the mangled ones just to get to a reliable one. I'd have more to clean up. Still, I reasoned that I could scoop up the "bad" crayons and store them in a baggie until I was ready to use them for some creative pursuit. But I'd then have to store them somewhere! And for how long? I thought of how they could be there for years longer and how I'd likely condemn myself each time I looked at them, realizing how I still had not done anything with them yet. No, I did not need that.
After going through this entire mental process, I purposed to just throw them away. I snatched the trash can, grabbed a handful of crayons... and stopped again, conflicted. Unbelievably, my heart hammered away in my chest and I felt the effects of anxiety. Finally there was that still, small voice cluing me in that something bigger was actually going on
Don't you realize why you're struggling so to throw them away? It's really not about the crayons at all. You are afraid that you will not have what you need. It all boils down to you not believing that I will provide. And maybe, just maybe, you think that this is all you deserve to have.
Well, He really had me there! Somewhere along the way I have begun to mistake the Lord's chosen method of providing for me for something that it isn't. In my heart, I think that I have believed that I must be lacking... or else things would surely be different, right? It seems silly, I know, but I struggle not to equate stability with the Lord's favor. I look around and see others who don't seem to have a care in the world and I wonder if they are doing something very right to be so "blessed." I will myself to be content and remind myself that there are entire people groups who have so much less than me - and it doesn't necessarily mean that God is against them.
When the crayon incident occurred, I was very shaken. I kept chiding myself about how ridiculous I was behaving. Really, like the God of the universe was not capable of providing more crayons for my family should we ever desperately need them. Had He not provided much more on so many occasions? Just think of it!!! If I had such a hard time where something as minor as the crayons were concerned, how was I ever to trust Him in the bigger things?
I have found myself on a very slippery slope for the past few months. No matter the time spent sitting at the Lord's feet, I have lost ground in the area of believing His love for me. Circumstances have a way of clouding your vision and ushering in confusion. What seemed so clear just yesterday doesn't appear quite the same in today's light. This whole walking by faith not by sight thing can be tough! Life's waters rise and I am weary.
So far I have been able to outpace the clutches of that monster, Legalism, though he repeatedly tries to snare me. Maybe God will love you more if you eat the right foods... listen to the right music... serve more... die more to self... think the right thoughts... and on and on. I daily go to war against the thoughts that try to wiggle their way into my heart in order to take up residence and become beliefs that wrap around my ankles causing me to stumble during my race. It is exhausting! I'd say nearly impossible, but it's a good thing that all things are possible with my God.
Lord, thank You for being the Lifter of my head when I feel weary. Thank You for always pursuing me with Your unfailing love, though I am slow to accept it at times. Thank You for Your protection and provision. You are so gracious and generous to me! Thank You that I can never do anything to make You love me more or less. You are unchanging, the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
I am blessed by Your gentle reminder (once again) that I am not fully trusting You to take care of me. I'm so sorry to be walking down this same road yet again! Forgive me. Help me as I fight the urge to do this or that in a subconscious effort to make myself more lovable to You. Please gift me with the ability to truly rejoice with those who rejoice without slipping into analyzing why You are blessing them while choosing a more difficult path for me. I am Yours to do with as You please. In the beautiful name of Jesus I pray, amen.