So I had this moment yesterday. I don’t know how to describe it except that something inside of me was so tired of being pushed back down, being questioned, being ignored, being told to wait, that I just imploded. Actually I don’t really even know if it was an implosion or an explosion. Luckily, Aaron was there to listen (after being very confused at my weird mood all day that finally ended with this revelation). He is a saint.
A common occurrence in my short lifetime has been the formation of these crazy little pipe dreams of mine. They have come in different forms along the way. In kindergarten, I cried during a video about the rain forest being chopped down. I went through a phase where I would refuse to eat my chicken because I was sad for the chicken. When I was a little older, I used to pray while I was in the shower that I would be rich when I grew up so that I could pay off all my parents’ debt and buy them a house. I was never quite satisfied with just living and spent a little too much time dreaming. Don’t get me wrong, I kept on top of my school work, stayed out of trouble, did what I was told. But my brain was always very busy and I always felt a little useless and silly; like I was wasting a lot of energy just spinning my wheels.
As I got older, God kept pushing me a little more and started planting more intricate seeds. Obviously this was somewhat related to me nearing the end of high school, starting college, and being forced to consider “real life”. But even then it was ridiculously hard to escape everyone else’s idea of what you need to be successful in real life. I still had my dreams and God was very busy, but I still felt like I had to achieve them in the conventional way: do well in high school so that you have your pick of colleges, find a major that leads to a career that you will not only enjoy but will also provide financial stability and job security. Sure… There is a very nice formula that everyone seems to be following, but what happens when you get farther and farther into it and realize it doesn’t appeal to you?!
So, the “moment.” Unfortunately I have the type of personality where I am never satisfied with what is going on now; I always look to what could be improved and can find the faults in the system pretty quickly. I want everything to get better, to change. I rarely feel like anything is good enough. So yesterday, and with most patriotic holidays, not only do I reflect on the sacrifices of our veterans, or the freedoms we have in our country, etc, I also tend to get a little fire under my butt about what is WRONG with our country and how we need not forget that if we have these freedoms we should use them for good. So all of this stewed all day yesterday, and I was discussing it with Aaron all day long, somewhat cryptically though, until finally I just broke down crying. I said that I get tired of God giving me all these desires to change things and help people when I feel like there is no one around me who feels the same way or notices the same things I do or cares about the outcasts in society more than they want to put them down. I told him I could care less what people think about me or if I have unconventional views but that I just don’t feel like there is anyone who has the same passions as me.
So, Aaron asked me what kinds of ideas I had and I told him some of my more grown up dreams: a transition house for people who need to get off the streets or away from drugs where they can come and stay for a period of time, take free classes in things like typing, math, communication skills, personal finances, etc to get them prepared for caring for themselves and being able to get a job. They would also attend some sort of counseling or meetings or classes just to get some support for whatever they have going on and fully work through it, and also get an honest upfront dose of the Gospel. Or a community center (named Agape House in my head) strictly for women and children where they can go if they are leaving abusive relationships or again struggling to escape drug abuse or alcoholism etc that is a nice respectable place to stay. A place where they can’t be found or lured back by abusive partners and a place they don’t have to be ashamed of because it is called a homeless shelter, or a rehab facility, or an institution. And again, they would be equipped to overcome their struggles, make it on their own, and they would be introduced to the Gospel. I know these places already exist in some form or fashion, but I don’t believe they provide everything they need to provide.
Aaron told me he would support me however he could and that I could write down any ideas I have and we would figure out how to get them started. He might have said 2-3 sentences in the midst of all my incoherent babbling, but he said what I needed. I just need someone to support me and reassure me that it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or saying or thinking.
I really still have trouble describing these feelings, especially as strong as they were yesterday but whenever they have come up in the past as well. It is like hungering for something that already exists inside of you. On what hand that sounds crazy to me. On the other hand it doesn’t sound crazy at all because the Holy Spirit is inside of me and He is probably getting a little impatient with me and my fears and my waffling and my excuses. We have been talking a lot about the Holy Spirit at church on Wednesdays. When Jesus was telling his disciples he had to leave them, he said he HAD to in order to 1) go prepare a place for them and 2) to equip them to do even greater things than what he had been doing. He was going to equip them by giving them the Holy Spirit. Not only was he sending the Holy Spirit, but he assured them that they did not need to be qualified for what God calls them to do. God WILL call them. He will keep calling. But if you wait until you feel ready, you will never get to doing the work God wants you to do while you’re on earth. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. He asks nobodies to follow Him and then miraculously he turns them into his hands, his feet, his mouthpieces. And once you jump on board with God, you can bet that he will not be willing you to do things the way the world does things. You may look crazy. You may look like you are giving up on everything that makes sense. You may have people close to you questioning you or becoming disappointed. But the reality is that the way God wants you to do things is so much more creative, exciting, risky, productive, fruitful, fulfilling… WHY would you want to settle for doing things how everyone else does them just so that you don’t stick out and have a few eyebrows raised at you?
The bible also compares being filled with the Holy Spirit with being filled with alcohol. Why? When you are filled with alcohol, you undoubtedly walk differently, talk differently, think differently. Go ahead and think about it, and maybe laugh a little. But what is he saying then? If I am filled with the Spirit I SHOULD NOT look the same as I did before and I SHOULD NOT look the same as the world. The way that I talk, walk, act, think should distinguish me. People should be able to tell something is funny about me. If they can’t, then why am I walking around calling myself a Christian, actually bearing Christ’s name, and making a fool out of Him? Why was it worth Jesus dying on the cross for people to just wear his name on their sleeve while they turn their backs on Him?
I went into town today to buy dog food. (side story: Aaron and I had a very good time in Vegas and might not have realized how close the dogs were to running out of food when we budgeted our weekend, so they’ve been a little hungry!) I always see this little bookstore on the way to Pets Plus, so I decided to stop there today just to check it out. Well, they have the weirdest hours ever and are only open Fri Sat Sun 10-5! But when I pulled up I noticed this lady standing on the side street by the bookstore. She was still there after I had parked, went to look at the hours and peak in the window, and get back in my car to leave. She wasn’t walking, she didn’t have a car or bike, she wasn’t on the phone. Hm. So I figured, what the heck, I’ll ask her if she needs a ride somewhere. I was worried I might freak her out and have her think I was crazy or something but oh well! So she said that she was waiting for the bus because she works on base at the P/X! (Umm what a relief that she actually needed to go somewhere that I knew where it was!) I think she figured once I heard she was waiting for the bus I would just keep going, I don’t really know. But I told her I still didn’t mind if she would rather have a ride. She was like Really? Am I safe with you? I told her that Yes, all I had in the car was a couple lamp shades. haha. She said something about Well thank you, you are a real blessing to me. I’m going for an interview for another position and now I know I’ll be on time. So she got in the car and said thank you again and introduced herself as Rebecca. I wish I could remember all the transitions, but we asked where each other was from, I found out her neighbor is from FL, she is originally from NY and has been in 29 Palms about 7 years, which also coincides with the time that she got saved. I guess she used to be into drugs and alcohol and some other stuff pretty heavily back in NY. When she moved out here it was too different for her and somehow God got a hold of her and she just knew she had to make a choice. So now she is clean and loving life and just enjoys her coffee and cigarettes! Her daughter lives in 29 palms and so do her 4 grandkids. She was so happy and grateful and kept saying what a blessing I was to her which was so weird to me. Not bad weird, but she really made my day too. I was honored that she trusted me, had a great conversation with a stranger who knew what God could do and I really didn’t know what to say when she kept saying that I had started her day off great and was such a blessing except, Well, good I am glad. I told her some about me moving out from FL with Aaron and she asked some about the dogs since I told her I was on my way to get dog food. It was the most genuine and comfortable conversation I have had with someone in quite a while. I think we will both probably be thinking about each other the rest of the day. I know her name is Rebecca Carter and she works at the P/X so I’m going to try to go visit her.
Anyway, it was just such a simple thing this morning that really made my day and made me grateful that God lets me in on little things like that. It was very humbling and pure and got me motivated! I will be praying for Rebecca whenever I think about her and I want to keep looking for what else God puts in front of me. This isn’t really about me and what I want to do, it is about getting up more courage little by little to let God do what HE wants to do. I could say all kinds of things about this morning… I mean, I could see from the road that the bookstore was closed but I decided to stop anyway. Once I saw Rebecca, I was thinking we wouldn’t have much in common because she was a petite black lady in her 40s or 50s. Once I finally decided to stop, she turned out to be a little ball of sunshine who was thankful to be alive and happy to give God credit for that. I knew where she was going. She works somewhere where I could actually see her again. I have a flexible schedule where I actually had the option of rearranging what I was doing to give her a ride. God used her to give me a kind of motivation and energy that I haven’t had in a while.
Even after all that, I know I have a degree to finish. I know some of these projects I come up with may involve a lot of work, energy, discouragement, money, strain, etc. I know first and foremost my commitment lies with my husband and our home and our kids whenever they come along. I know all of it. Yes, it’s there. I haven’t gone off the deep end, but I have truly and finally begun to let go of being scared, being normal, sticking to the well-beaten path, and letting the world put limits to what God will do with me.
I am just ready to see what comes next!