I suppose it would be slightly misleading to suggest that my experiences traveling abroad began blissfully, so this post is a back track to a couple of weeks before I embarked on my quest across the Atlantic.
My reasons for traveling abroad were to experience a different culture and to see what it’s like to rely on the Lord as my guide in a foreign country. Well, in order to be in-tune to the Lord’s voice there is usually some junk to sift through in the chambers of my selfish heart. That is where this journey began, on my front porch in Fort Worth, Texas, sipping a cup of hot coffee accompanied by my journal, Bible, and old Golden Retriever.
I arose every morning to write to one I missed dearly and seek the Lord for encouragement and strength. I had been trying so hard to self-talk my way into hope which, by the way, doesn’t work. Finally, one cool morning my strong facade broke and liquid love streamlined from my eyes. I woke up feeling empty and hollow. Ugh, another day of playing pretend. Pretend to be happy, pretend to be busy, pretend to be having fun, pretend to be relaxed or tired but all the while very aware of the emptiness carved out inside.
Pause: If you find yourself feeling like this from time to time, you aren’t alone. Real life is messy and confusing and every day is not peaches and rainbows. So if you identify, this post is especially for you. Resume
I was not the strong, brave heart everyone was convinced of, including myself. I threw up my hands in surrender and confessed the emptiness to the one who knows me best.
“Jesus I know You see me, I know You understand these feelings in my heart better than even I do. Would you meet me where I am? Would you get on Your hands and knees in search of a love You couldn’t live without?” –my journal
It was then I realized this first sign of beauty, surrender. Surrender is the moist soil ready to yield the most ravishing of fruit. It’s not a comfortable place. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson puts it like this, “We pray as if God’s chief objective is to make us comfortable. It isn’t. God’s chief objective is His glory.” Yet, here I sit asking the Lord to take me to a place of utter reliance on Him, but all the while hoping for comfort during the process.
Surrender isn’t comfortable, not in the slightest. It goes against all our human instincts. We want to close our fists and control our lives; yet this is what He asks, palms open and lifted. My first sign of beauty came in the uncomfortable, even aching, form of surrender. What an essential place to start, deep deep within.