Saturday, March 3, 2012

pits and promises.

Have you ever been in the pit?

Pneumonia was kind of the pits, but I got over it and also learned how to spell the word “pneumonia.”  Once I began feeling better, though, I was flying high!  Back to work, back to life, back to lots of relational ministry.  I started eating better which has made me feel a lot better in general.  I had more energy and even picked up a sewing machine along the way that has supported some new crafty hobbies.  I was determined to make my newly roommate-free home a place I look forward to instead of dread.  It was going quite well for awhile.  I was taking seriously the challenge to not wish away this precious stage of solitude in my life.

Yeah...just like most things, that came to an end.  For nearly a week, I struggled hugely.  I thought living alone again wasn't going to affect me.  I was wrong and I was in a pit.

Don't get me wrong.  It's not awful.  There are a lot of great things to living solo.  I enjoy it a fair amount of the time.  Even when I had a roommate, I got a lot of alone time because she traveled a lot.  So I've already adopted hobbies.  Quite the list actually: harmonica, writing/recording music, crafting, sewing, reading, writing, decorating, movies/Netflix, thrifting, coffee shops, photography, exploring the Cities, volleyball, Spanish, napping, working too much...the list goes on.  I like all of these things and tend to cycle back through them from time to time.  But I started realizing what they were: busted efforts to make my life not suck.  Things to the lick the lonely and beat the boring.  And honestly, I don't think any of these things are bad.  I'll probably still keep doing most all of them (while giving a strong effort not to add to the list).  As great as each of these things can be, though, they aren't relationship.  And boy, has it been made evident to me lately, how much I've been designed for relationship!

So this morning, I wake up to a text from a college friend who happened to be in town asking if I could meet her at Starbucks.  I hustle to get there.  On my way there, my mind was busy thanking God for this random visit with a good friend.  It was helping me see God providing for my need of relationship in the midst of a drier time in my life.  Our conversation goes real, quickly.  We both share how we're in lonely stages of life.  As I drove back home, I was flung deeper into the pit.  I've missed her.  I've missed lots of my dearest friends that live far away.  I went to a coffee shop for the afternoon.  I was tired of being alone for two solid days on the weekends.  I was getting frustrated and pouty.  Having experienced this chain of thinking before and not really wanting to go down that road, I held up a mental stop sign.  Time to shut down the social media and opened up my Bible.  I needed some promises.

I opened to Isaiah 41 and read this verse:
“But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from Abraham my friend,
I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’
For I have chose you and will not throw you away.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Promise #1 for me today:  I'm not getting thrown away.  God did choose me for something.  God is with me and is my strength and help.  He captured my attention.  I flipped the pages some more and ended up in Isaiah 49:16:   

“I have your name written on the palms of my hands.”

Promise #2: God loves me enough to get my name tattooed on His hand.  He can’t forget me—it’s right there!

Verse 19 went on to talk about the return of Israel from exile and I loved the promises for the lonely and desolate that God made:
“even the most desolate parts of your abandoned land will soon be crowded with your people.”

Promise #3: Loneliness won’t last forever.  Community will return.

Then to Numbers 23:19 says:
“God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried through?”

Promise #4:  God is not like us.  God is good at keeping promises.

And Jeremiah 33:3:
“Ask and I will tell you the remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.”

Promise #5: Ohh…I like this one.  God has awesome secret plans about the future and He will let us in on them if we ask.  It’s like getting to peek behind door #2.

Isaiah 58:10:
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”

Promise #6: God is going to guide me.  He will be the one who provides me with restoration, not hobbies or relationships, but Him alone.  The Word is life.  He doesn’t just want to sustain me either, but make me ever-flowing!

Finally Jeremiah 3:9:
“Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth!  The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.”

Promise #7:  God does good things for His people.  The world will come to know His goodness by us telling how faithful our God is to us.

I could have written several pages of Scripture that God pointed out to me today, but the major theme that rang loud and clear for me today was promises.  Sometimes we are in the pit.  There isn’t much that’s awesome about that.  God, on the other hand, is completely awesome.  The plans are good for us, friends.  He hasn’t forgotten us or thrown us away.  His promise is that the pit won’t last forever and promises to spend precious time in there with us.  He’s excited to bless us so that we can tell the world how awesome our God is!

I left the coffee shop feeling physically lighter and less tense, with a peaceful smile on my face.  Everything isn’t perfect, but my God’s promises are.  They are for you, too…even if your waiting room looks more like a pit.

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