Sometimes the cyclone of activity around me fuels energy, productivity and gratitude. Other times it paralyzes me. I crumble beneath its force, feeling fully inadequate to stand, much less make any progress.
Not long ago I wrote about being over-committed and loving it. This week I’m not loving it. In fact, I’ve ricocheted to the opposite response: shutting down.
I’ve avoided certain people. I’ve dropped commitments. I’ve missed deadlines. I’ve withdrawn.
Some, you know, the Christians who are way more sanctified than I am, the ones who have all the answers, will tell me that this is indicative of a poor spiritual life. They’ll say it’s because I haven’t prioritized my “quiet times” properly or that I have unconfessed sin (likely pride and self-reliance). They’ll tell me I need to pray more and depend on God rather than my own strength and abilities.
They may be right.
I may just be tired.
Or maybe I’ve been rained on a little too long.
I have snot on my shirt.
I noticed the smear of mucus across my breast while walking into a coffee shop. It encapsulates my morning … many of my mornings, actually, and most of my days.
It was a rough morning, one that involved many tears, a broken heart (or two), and tardy slips for my kids who arrived at school a few minutes too late. After praying with them and encouraging them to let our living God roar inside of them today, I headed off to the grocery store where I ran into a bundle of other moms, all sans make-up, rushing from one thing to another and hoping to have enough food in the fridge to last the weekend. My flip-flopped feet sloshed through puddles as I loaded bags into the car.
Once home, the clock informed me I had only fifteen minutes before an appointment at the coffee shop. Carrying a bag on each shoulder and keys in my hand, I walked up the front step, glancing just briefly at the rain-drenched dogwood in our front yard.
I love this tree. Every spring it reminds me of God’s grace, of His fathomless love for me and my silly, unspoken prayers.
My camera called to me. I snatched it up and hurried-quick to snap a few pictures before emptying the rest of the van onto my kitchen floor and the perishables into their proper places. Minutes later, car parked and meter fed, I walked through the posh village square toward the coffee shop … which is when and where I noticed the dried snot on my shirt.
Sighing, I buttoned my sweater to cover it, but not before thanking God that I have such a rich life.
I have two beautiful children who are willing to cry on me and trust me with their hurts. I have a home that is dry and full and friends who don’t care that I have snot on my shirt or go to the grocery store in wet flip-flops and no make-up.
It’s okay to be rained on.
Inside the coffee shop my friend and I talked about a lot of things and, between the lines of conversation, God reminded me that it’s okay to be rained on. It’s okay to be weary and tired and discouraged. There can be great beauty in that.
Over lunch I emptied my SD card, viewing those hastily shot photos for the first time. Yeah … God is right, as He always is. No filter … no editing … There is great beauty in the rain.
We aren’t called to be perfect and sunny all the time. Sometimes our colors shine most vividly on the cloudy days, on the wet days, in the midst of storms.
I don’t want to say we should never filter our frustrations. We should … but only to an extent. There is great value in vulnerability … in honesty … in raw reality. Unfiltered. Unedited. Real. And in that — yes, even that — we can praise our God. Not because we delight in our circumstances, but because we delight in HIM.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.”
TALK TO ME: When you feel weary, what helps you most to persevere? What keeps you from sinking?