Unwavering? Unwavering faith? My faith wavers all the time, and that doesn’t mean that it’s not good enough.
me, self-talking off yet another ledge
Among my favorite exchanges in “The Color Purple” are those between characters Celie and Shug Avery. According to Shug, “Miss Celie’s Blues” is something Celie “scratched out of” her head. I get that. Artists need midwives. My sisterfriends routinely birth things in me that I could never manifest alone. Creation requires collaboration, unless God is doing it. He is God all by Himself.
I am grateful, y’all, and I pray you will be too. Regularly. Habitually. Talking with my Gayle the other day, “she scratched this out of my head when I was ailing.” She does that. We’re in similar places for different reasons. Struggling. Life has kicked me and those I love, battered us, routinely grinding us into dust. I tried enduring it in Grace. I tried remaining faithful, humble and patient, Lord knows I tried. I have had enough. I’m DONE. I’m OUT.
I believe, I pray, that DONE represents a new, deeper, more raw but more intimate level of faith. I am either too stubborn, too well indoctrinated, or too scared to do anything but believe. I am DONE with what used to work because it doesn’t anymore. Lord, help me. #3WordPrayers
Right now, I confess that this wavering faith, my current rhythm, these pitiful, often embittered prayers are no longer enough. This is not working. It doesn’t bring me joy, and I don’t want to be here anymore. While I am asking God to change my heart, I understand that I should not ask Him to change my circumstances just yet. (No, I have not lost my mind.)
I am DONE. I want out. This mountain of pain, despair, disappointment and discouragement sits so heavy that some days I simply feel like I cannot breathe. It’s time to move this mountain off my chest, but I mustn’t forget to remember what it feels like.
While here, I pray painfully honest prayers. Fervently, painfully honest prayers. The Word in James 5 teaches us that
supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working.
James 5:16 (ASV)
While I seek to be righteous, it’s a tall order. It’s also nowhere near where I am right now. What worries me more is what about all of us struggling that may never achieve righteousness? Who may never feel worthy? What about the fervent, impassioned, desperate prayers of the weakened, weary, and thoroughly pissed-off? (oh yes, she did.)
Just then, a fellow traveler shared these words of scripture with me…
IF you are right with God, He strengthens you for the journey; the Eternal will be pleased with your life. And even though you trip up, you will not fall on your face because He holds you by the hand."
Psalms 37:23-24 The Voice Bible
Finally, a few of those prayers, my hard and angry prayers, were answered. I have been intentional, even through my discouragement, earnest in making every effort to be honest with God. He knows my heart. If I am seeking deeper connection, it has to cost more. My sacrifice, my worship must be greater, and I won’t always get it right.
However, there is this--the lesson this experience taught me. God is still good. In the face of all things overwhelming, if you seek Him, surrendered, still, He will meet you there. Not on your terms. Not according to your schedule. You will be angry. You will be discouraged. Your faith will nearly fail you (I am being honest). However, do not lost hope. Remain stubborn in your pursuit of Grace. Chase Grace and fight for your joy like your life depends upon it…because it does. I will feel discouraged again. I will be disappointed again. But in this moment, Lord, thank You for your steadfast love for me. Thank You for answering the sad, sorry, piteous prayers of the pissed-off. Thank You for confirming that You love us just where we are, even when we cannot properly love ourselves. That is my cue to remember the depth of Your Love. I am reminded that nobody, none of us, deserve Grace. That is the point. In believing God, believing in a way that will not accept defeat, even when it makes perfect sense, we acknowledge that we are vulnerable, and being vulnerable, that we are brave.
I am frail. I am flawed, and in the words of Jill Scott, I am
I am made in the image of God to whom I am known, known since He knitted me together in my mother’s womb. He knew I’d be here, that I’d be DONE, that I’d stumble (often), AND that He would carry me. I am trusting that. I am that stubborn. I am that determined.
A final word….it ain’t over, and so I leave you with this….
“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.
Isaiah 46:3-4 (NLT)