I wrote a book today. (day 12)

Dinner tonight was delicious and amazing.  Mahi Mahi, polenta, roasted tomato vinaigrette, and asparagus.

Warning: this post is ridiculously long and quite heavy.  But it ends with hope.  I think.  Today’s writing is strictly therapeutic.

I lay down to take a nap this afternoon and dreamed I was sinking my teeth into a fat piece of Julian Brother’s Pizza.  Ha!  Upon waking, I promptly got out of bed and popped some natural popcorn, pouring melted soy butter over top.  It helped.  I wasn’t really napping long anyway – more just laying there praying, crying out to God for help.

Why, Lord? Why the debate in my head about good enough? Why the comparing? Why the fuss?  Why do I allow hurtful thoughts to linger?  I want to be healed of this nasty ritual.  I want to let it go, speak to it once and for all, and win this battle.

I’ve always been uneasy about talking in front of people.  I’ve gotten better in past years – but it’s still challenging for me.  It feels unnatural and slightly very scary every time I open my mouth – even if you can’t tell because I’m smiling or laughing.  Part of the smile and laughter is the exhilaration that comes from doing something totally outside my comfort zone.  After the laughter dies down though, and when we’ve all gone home – it starts: the fretting and analyzing every word I said that day.  It’s not healthy.  It’s not of God.

My fears and nerves are caught in a nasty cyclical pattern: fear and nerves causing me to stumble over words and lose my focus on Jesus.  Losing focus on Jesus causes more anguish and regret and fear.  My favorite times in life have been when I can shut out everything else – fear included – and just see Jesus in my head.  Then the words flow from a place of beauty and come out just right.  Why can I not stay in that place?  Why is it so difficult?

Praying with others has been an unusually difficult challenge for me lately too. Just the past couple weeks  (about the time our prayer room at church started) I will find myself praying with someone – feeling mostly good but slightly nervous about what I am praying – and then as they pray I begin to doubt or criticize my own prayer.  I surely wasn’t praying just right or good enough, or slow enough . . .  Why can’t I be more at peace like that person?  Why don’t my words pour out as fluently and eloquently as that person?  What they were saying was probably way more righteous and God-breathed than what I was saying. I want to replace this envy and doubt. To come away from prayer and discussion times with an appreciation for the beauty of our diversity, feeling accepted just as I am by my Lord.  I am blessed to hear the small, simple prayers of others.  I should be just as happy to hear my own.  As youth leader I’ve encouraged so many young people to just jump in – don’t be afraid to pray out-loud.  No one’s perfect.  But I get it.

As I pray or speak aloud, haunting memories and liars visit me and tell me I’m not good enough and should probably just shut my mouth.

rambling fool.  stutterer.  sinner.

These are such ugly thoughts I entertain, I can hardly stand to read them here – but here I am, just Amy, quivering, awkward  and needlessly ashamed. Enough! I tired of it.  Fed up.  I know this: if we were all the same, talked the same, prayed the same, the world would be so unbearably boring.   The life that fears has not been made perfect in love.  I want that perfecting love to flip my life – and still my heart.  To know and accept that I was created in his image and have been reborn into His likeness.

It is good for me to want to control my tongue in a way that pleases my Lord; I want my words to be fully representative of who He is and pleasing to His ears. It is my desire to be so overflowing with God’s word that it is spilling out of my mouth every time it opens. These things are all good.  However, this anguish over past words is not good.  Better to just repent over words that were truly spouted off in knowing wrongness. And move on.

Still here I am in this whirlwind. I am tired of life feeling blustery and unbalanced… like it’s all about to topple over.  I want to have that unsurpassed peace of the Father. In every situation, my hope is to be confident and sure of Him – and when I truly have my trust in him, I will find peace.  Why am I not there yet?  What am I missing?

Please don’t think these past few paragraphs encompass all of how my heart feels today.  Oddly enough, part of me is downright optimistic or at least feeling a little courageous about all this. I am in awe of my all-knowing, brilliant creator who knit me together. (Knitting is no joke. It takes time and care.)  I have a faith that can move mountains, and an amazing family that walks with me toward the throne of grace daily.   I am not exaggerating when I say His blessings and His favor toward me are palpable. I am grateful for all of it.   And I want that sense of security and appreciation to spill over into every area of my life, and drown out my fears, wounds and regrets.

Lord are my eyes not set enough on you? You are all I want to see.  Your plans. Your Love. Your purpose in it all..

This is not the land was promised me
Even as far as my eyes can see
I’m so wound up, Lord. I can’t even breathe
And I don’t want words
I just want some peace

Some Peace.

‘Cause it’s been so long
Since I’ve felt right
All the rote, rehearsal, proof
You’d think that I’d have learned

This is not the land was promised me
Gotta get out of bed, get something to read
And I gotta feed my brother, not my eyes
If not, then I’ll be all I despise.

Break me.

– Excerpt from the song Not The Land by Caedmon’s call.

As I sit here typing, my husband is reading You are Special by Max Lucado to our daughter… that story of the Wemmicks giving eachother dots and stars…dots if you don’t have enough talent, stars if you are noteworthy in some area. It’s about not caring what others think because all we need to know is that God thinks we’re special.   It ends with little Punchinello, covered in dots, beginning to see his dots fall off as a result of spending time with the woodcarver who made him.   Father, as I spend time with you, help me not to dwell on my frailties and imperfections. Help me to dwell instead on your strength, promises and goodness. Oh to be transformed by the renewing of my mind!  To be able to see His good and perfect will for me!

Selah.

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