I’m going to mod podge a few journal entries together, mostly unedited, but I’ll give you some context first: For the past two or three years, I’ve asked God for a word to focus on for the year. It’s a pretty common Christian thing to do. Last year I thought and wanted my word was “humble” but it was really “abide.” I didn’t want it to be “abide” because “abide and rest in my love” was the word the year before. I wanted to work on something new even though I had yet to grasped the concept. Also for context, I started off this year with a fast from food. I was planning to do it for 7 days (maybe we’ll take later about my all or nothing attitude) but I scaled it down to 5. Circumstantially I only fasted for 2. I’ll have more to say at the end but for now, let’s go to the journal entries:
We’re about 24 hours into the fast and I’m ready to quit. But I don’t want to quit just because it’s hard. That’s not the point. I feel bad, uncomfortable. And when I want comfort I often seek it in food, but maybe I should seek You first, eh? Not a maybe. A should. I should turn to You first not because you’re petty but because you are the Great Comforter. The God of all comfort (check out 2 Cor. 1). Father of compassion. You comfort me in all my troubles. In all suffering. An overflow of Christ’s suffering to produce patient endurance. That I might rely not on myself but on You. Isn’t that what I said when preparing for this fast? That it would remind me of my reliance on You? That it would force me to seek you for strength and kindness and energy. All the things. Because You are the thing that sustains me. Not breath or food or sleep. You. I want to earnestly seek You. To set the stage for this year with You at the focus … I am seen by You and so are my desires. I trust you with them. Lord, I trust you with the things I hold dear. What do you have for me? Abundance. All your promises are yes and I say amen. Lord do you have a word for me this year? Peace. Trust. Abundance. I will find my peace when I fully trust in You. You do not give as the world gives. You give peace in abundance. More than I could ever ask or imagine. Trust that when I give it will be abundantly. There is no restriction to my love. Trust in me.
They were talking on the podcast today about whether comfort is a drug. I do crave comfort a lot. I find it most desirable. It’s why I don’t often go overnight or winter camping. It’s why I don’t like fasting. It’s why interoception and somatic signals make me anxious. It’s why being anxious makes me feel anxious. What if my word for this year was uncomfortable? More church small talk. More resting in my feelings. More saying what I really feel to my family. More difficult workouts. More human interactions. It would probably be good for me. And what if in the uncomfortable I find trust, peace, and abundance. I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions this year because I feel I can’t make plans when I don’t know what the year will look like. But isn’t that the downfall of making resolutions? Making goals on things I can’t control. What If I made goals on the things I could control? Like spending time with God, doing more yoga, finding a counselor. I can’t control my acne but I can control whether I eat dairy. I can’t control my PCOS but I can control the exercise I do. I can’t control whether I travel but I can control whether I go on adventures. I can’t control getting a job but I can control how I use my time. I can’t control whether camp runs but I can control serving others. I think the word for this year is uncomfortable. Waiting is uncomfortable. Less schedule is uncomfortable. But that’s okay. Beauty can come from discomfort and so can growth. I want growth.
Who is coming out of the desert leaning on her lover? (Song of Songs 8:5)
The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and give you strength…your people will rebuild on the ruins of the city and raise up on old foundations. (Isaiah 58:11-12)
“Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be.” – A.W. Tozer
Who have I been leaning on coming out of the desert? Myself. numbing entertainment. Life-sucking scrolling. How do I wish it was? I wish I was leaning on Jesus. Spending more time with Jesus than anything else. Turning my worries into prayers and my prayers into conversations. I want to do away with past regrets and mistakes. But what if the new city is built on the rubble of the old foundations? It’s only unstable if I keep trying to bring the rubble up to the top. Who is coming out of the desert leaning on her lover? I hope it’s me. I hope that this year I grow in my faith. I’m so good at praying but so bad at believing in God. But won’t He do it? He has planned and purposed it and so it will be. So it will stand. Who can thwart Him? Nothing and no one. What great peace. What great release. It’s only peaceful if I trust Him to be good. If I trust him to be good to me. Suffering produces growth. Shaking the tree makes the rotten fruit fall to the ground. That’s what I want. To rejoice in suffering because it produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint. I want character and hope in the one thing that does not disappoint.
And there you have it. Some of my writings in this, the year of our Lord, 2021. Conclusion? I’m going to try to lean into uncomfort this year. I going to do things that make me uncomfortable because (in my life) 98% of the time uncomfortable doesn’t mean unsafe. As I do the uncomfortable things I’m going to seek the peace of trusting Jesus to be good to be and to give good gifts in abundance. I will spend less time on mindless things and watching other people’s lives from afar, no matter how harmless it appears. Hopefully at the end of this year, whether it felt like a desert or a well-watered garden, I will come out of it leaning on Jesus.