Am I the only one who thinks this way? A ghost of mine that I just can't seem to let sleep is the fear that I'm missing something. Across any domain, in any circumstance, I wonder if I'm seeing the full picture. It quite literally haunts me. As my fingers search the pages of my old and not so old journals, I see the word "compassless" describe me over and over. I see prayers written with unrecorded answers and I see the wisdom of my hindsight--and I wonder where that discernment was when I needed it.
Is something wrong with me?
I remember to be kind to myself. I know exactly when I met this ghost and what the handshake did to me. I went through a complete theological overhaul in college. I went from believing that God was mean to believing God was Love. I went from believing it was me against God to believing it was me & God. I went from believing that romance was something God tolerated to believing that He is the ultimate Wooer. I went from believing that I was a sinner by nature to believing that I am a new creation by nature--a Righteous One before God. I went from cold, confused, and fearful faith to fiery experience. This growth freed me but also sent a shiver down my spine. I looked behind me and I saw the ghost take shape. I looked behind me and I told myself, "Had I known, my heart wouldn't have endured all that pain." (But who am I to say).
I asked myself, "If I went so long ignorant to my shieldlessness, can I be sure I am ignorant no longer?"
Will I put myself through needless pain again?
I think I will. And I'm learning to stand brave before that fact.
It's only pain.
With my new sea-legs finally strong, I did not throw a grand tantrum to God Almighty when this icy ghost congealed quite definitively before me. I just turned away because I did not have the answer. And sometimes I feel like I still don't.
I was born in Glendale, Ohio on June 23, 1995. I wouldn't stop crying until someone sat with me on our porch swing and I chased geese at the pond near our little red house. My grandma and I collected beans from a big bean tree on our stroller walks and I often left her breathless when I crawled out and took a sprint of my own. I was educated under Christian values and remember looking down at my little shoes in chapel when I accepted Jesus into my life. I remember looking up and smiling. I've lived in New Jersey and California and visited London, Paris, Edinburg in Scotland, and Jerusalem in Israel. I've made and kept good friends, lived under still-and-forever-married parents, and have always tried to do the right thing by me and by everyone around me. I went to a public university, still in Ohio, and I'm marrying a sold out and passionate pastor's kid.
And I get insecure that our dreams are somehow not what God actually wants for us.
I get insecure and I feel the ghost's ice when I wonder if I'm missing something that I have no way of finding out except by aging and watching my life.
I've watched and been apart of capitalistic ministries and homegrown grassroots ministries. I've not walked among the poorest of the poor or the maltreated and abused. I've not heard the secret churches in China worship and I've not watched the Spirit move thousands to repentance in a polytheistic culture. How my soul craves those experiences. But I have felt God in my dorm. I have felt God in Oxford. I have felt God when my grandma prays for me--when I'm next to her and when I'm not. I know my God.
And His Spirit reminds me that I have skin that acts as a beautiful boundary and home for the rest of me. I have a heartbeat that needs to stay steady. I have feet and muscles that only move so fast. I have a brain that can imagine and I have a spirit that conjures adventure. I have eyes that can see but only what is in front of me. I have arms fit to hold one, maybe two, in an embrace. I have a mouth to speak the best words of love it knows in the languages it's been trained in.
I have boundaries. And I am undone when I believe that God somehow did not create them nor will He honor them in my earthly life.
As if He did not choose which century I would be born into. As if He did not gift me to my parents, Amy and Derek. As if He did not choose America for me. As if He did not approve of my education. As if He did not craft my body and call it good. As if He did not bend my heart towards completing the mission He carefully stowed away within me.
The mission, the purpose, the calling that the 21st century US desperately needs fulfilled.
I have boundaries. And I am set free when I believe that God knows that I am finite and that He made me just so.
I cannot do everything. I cannot be everyone's calling just because I am aware of all the brokenness in the world.
My peace continues and my ghost dissipates as the Spirit reminds me of one more important thing.
I am eternal.
I come from an endless history of humans succeeding and failing. I come from the heart of my everlasting God who loves that He made me. I house the Holy Spirit who gives me wisdom beyond my education, beyond my brain's capacity, and beyond my culture. My body can create and hold a new human life who will see parts of the world and of God and of me that I would have missed without him. My earthly birth and death are merely gateways from one existence to the next.
My compass is His Spirit. And He guides me as I step, not often before, and I must come to peace with how we speak with one another. My boundaries were His choice and His revelation to me His joy.
I have boundaries, I am eternal.
I have an unfailing compass, I am always in process.
Taylor, you're doing a good job. You've done a good job. Your missteps have become new beginnings and that pattern will never cease. There is much you do not see, but it is your trust in God, before your discerning heart, that lights your way. What if you saw your boundaries as your path and your infinite God as the abundance you find and build along the way? Your ghost would sleep at last and you would grow how you are meant to. Your dreams and Jordan's dreams are influenced by the confines of what you know, but that does not mean they are not from God. That does not mean He is not passionately behind you, beside you, and before you. That does not mean you must go deeper in prayer, deeper in stillness, and deeper in His Spirit to discover some direction He will not readily tell you.
There is no striving in His love, dearheart.
Let your mind change. Let your heart grow. Let your path be fluid. Let mystery be your friend,
not your ghost.
What I've learned about what it means to be transformed into the image of Christ, be reconciled to Him, myself, & others, and how to be His disciple.