Yesterday was a challenging day for me (Josh). Not only was my wife hospitalized for the second time in 6 days, I also made a critical decision to stay with Mel this week as we work through her health conditions. Recently I learned that the word disappointment comes from the root meaning “to miss an appointment”. I will be missing an appointment this week that I had with the survival wilderness school. Of all the things we had planned to do on this trip, this was the one thing I was most excited about. Since this class is held quarterly, I will not be able to “make up” this class during the time we have on our trip.
I’m going to share something about my self with you that few people know about me. It is not a secret, it is just a way that I operate that is not obvious from the outside. When I “feel,” I do so deeply. When I experience an emotion such as anger, fear, sadness or joy, I do so often at the extreme end of the spectrum. I can become so overwhelmed with these emotions that it clouds reason, and, for a moment, I can temporarily believe things that I know are not true. This can be challenging to overcome, in the moment, but I have found a single, helpful activity that produces a positive effect and unexpected byproduct. When I am in the deepest of emotions, when I find myself hiding in the darkest regions of my soul, I find company with a pen and paper and I permit my raw, naked and tender feelings to spill onto the page. This act helps me to accept the, often unwanted, emotions I find blowing and stirring inside myself like a mighty tempest. Though I am not always proud of the thoughts I have during such a storm, once it has passed (and it always does) I am sometimes amazed at what gets left behind on the lined paper of my personal journal.
Yesterday morning and long into the afternoon, I battled through such a storm. At the height of it’s wind I allowed it’s strong force to lift up my pen and transcribe on two pages the fierce torrent that surrounded me. Today I would humbly like to offer it to you.
“This isn’t what I wanted. But who am I to say that? What right do I have to protest my own desire? Does what I want have any value? Does it matter my own desire? I am angry inside, a hidden burning rage of fire that I hide from myself to protect myself and those around me from being burned. I want to hold tightly to what I believe is mine. To what I believe I deserve and am even entitled to. The entitlement of the world around me that destroys our culture, I see inside myself. What I thought was only in those broken around me is actually altogether alive in me as well. I want what I want. Words of a proud and selfish heart. A heart that can’t possibly be humbled in a way to accept the will of God in my life. Even anger burns within me against God. The God who is the lover of my soul is the target of my frustration. God is God and I am not. Painful words for a self-entitled, self-centered individual. I loath myself, wishing I could change myself. There is the trap. “I.” I want to change myself through my own self efforts. I am unwilling to submit myself to God’s will and am unwilling to allow him to change me. Even though I can easily reason that submitting to God is the best, most profitable action I can take. This truth is clear, obvious and evident, yet my heart remains cold and hard, clinging onto what I want. I want control, I want my will to rule supreme in this life. God offers me a never ending waterfall of love and I am too broken to accept this free flowing love, instead I grasp onto my stubborn desires. I wish deeply that I could loosen my white knuckled grip, letting go and free falling into the loving invitation of my Father. How can such brokenness be overcome? Thanks be to God the Father through Jesus Christ who has done this impossible work for me. These words I quote from the Bible. I try to find even a hint of them, hidden somewhere in my heart. If even a small amount of this truth can be found as faith in my heart, then maybe just then, this faith can be cultivated and grown. I understand that God does the growing, but I have some responsibility for the condition of the soil. LORD I pray that you will give me the strength and courage to till the soil of my heart. Uproot in my heart, every overgrown weed that steals every last ounce of nutrition that exists. Help me to submit to your will and embrace your desires for me.”