The Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, downtown Chicago was big and overwhelming. I felt relieved when I saw that it was closed down for the day because of wind. I thought that was funny…things close down due to wind in the windy city? Ruthie, my three year old daughter, was not happy. Inside I was relieved to know that I didn’t have to go up there and pretend to be brave like I’ve had to do all week.
I used to go to big cities for work. Drive in them. Hunt down big office buildings. Put on a costume of success and sales and business. Those days were gone though. I was now a stay at home mom. Navigating traffic and wanting to protect my children had left me tired. I was ready to go back to my small town in Missouri. I loved Chicago but I wanted the simple life once again. I wanted small. I wanted easy. I wanted cheap. Was I forsaking my adventurous self for the sake of small, easy and cheap?
For a moment I took it in…like I did so many years ago when I was youg, wild and free. I lost myself. For a moment I was alone on Navy Pier. The weather was a welcomed 75 and overcast as opposed to the 100 + degree drought we had all summer. The wind kicked through my hear as if doing a rain dance. The cherry snowcone refreshed me. In spite of being boxed in by scycrapers, it was one of those moments where I felt…simply happy and clear. As clear as the blue waters of Lake Michigan crashing onto the pier.
I was jerked out of the moment when Ruthie requested a ride on the Thomas Train, a more welcomed diversion than the Ferris Wheel.
I remember though…that happy clear feeling I had on Navy Pier. There was a connection I made with me from the past. The connection reminded me of life before kids…courageous, confident, bold.
Sometimes I think I may not be the same way for my family as I was for a job.
I remember being in a hotel room in Seattle. My first travelling sales trip alone. Rain. Scary traffic. Big highways. Didn’t want to go out in it. I knew it would be so much easier to stay in the room. My desire for safety and ease grew stronger than the guilt. Finally it was overcome…I ventured out. Before leaving the hotel parking lot there was rain on the map. Post-it note directions smeared. Unpreparedness. Last minute phone calls. Feelings of inadequateness. I can feel it now in my throat as I remember.
I don’t want to be incapacitated. For homeschool or ministry or kids or being a wife.
Maybe I’ve forgotten what I’m capable of. Maybe I… we as a family need to experience bigger things and God getting us through them. Because sometimes I think unrealistic thoughts about small things.
Yesterday my hour-long planning got jumbled up and ruined. All of my work had coffee spilled on it. Like the directions in Seattle…smeared. Nothing to go on. I could feel that same feeling in my throat. But my words were…”I can’t handle this.”
Yes…those were my words and I must admit they can be my words to myself…in my head in messed up jumbled up spilled out times.
But new words are filling my mind. Words combatting the lies. Lies that can keep me incapacitated like the ones on the rainy scary day in Seattle.
“Amy—THESE are now the big things in your life. You used to drive around big cities and you didn’t think you could handle it but the Lord was with you and you knew it. You were aware of His help and drew on it. Don’t forget—the world of sales and success was not easy. And now…now THESE things are the big things. Being a pastor’s wife and thinking properly through it. Being a mom in a car on vacation…in the car for 6 hours with whiny kids. Planning and carrying out first grade with a three year old in tow. Loving a husband. This is it. Bigger and harder than ever. Draw on Him. Glorify Him. Where is your sense of adventure?”
There is a road that is longer than the road that leads one back from Chicago to the middle of Missouri. It’s the long road of learning to be strong again…but in new circumstances and in new ways.
I remember the driving home from Chicago. I rolled my eyes in the car and I did utter things in weak moments. I also found times where I stopped myself. And this is being strong now for me. Stopping myself. Being strong to me now means taking heart and waiting.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).
Isn’t that a crazy thing? Being strong and courageous equals…waiting…stopping.
I do want this. This drawing on Him for everything. Admitting I can’t in and of myself. It is an adventure. THIS is it. My life. Right now.
When tempted to forget who I am and whose I am, I hold onto a dear verse in scripture.
“…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
The ladies in my church are going through a study…and it is rocking my world!
Last week I saw that so many of the obstacles to living an abundant life in Christ really come down to issues of trusting in myself instead of the Lord. I believe that is called….mmmm….pride?
After reflecting on this, I realized that He who is in me is not only greater than he who is in the world…but He is also greater than…ME!
I am reminded that my sin and other challenges often are a result of my OWN thinking and doing. What a relief to my soul to remember this simple truth. HE is greater than ME. He CAN overcome my faulty thinking. He CAN get me through the moments when I feel I am in a dark deep pit with no other solution than to scream my way out.
I don’t have to live from my flesh. I can live from the Spirit of Christ living in me.
This is joy. The mind-blowing outrageous astounding truth that He lives in me and that I can live my life from Him.
But it’s always sounded so pie-in-the-skyish to me. Living from Him…not from the flesh. How does that really play out? Isn’t this just another Christian speak thing? How does this really play out?
I know why it is so hard to comprehend for us. Because we want so bad to do something. We want to bring it back to us…doing. But the more I try to practice it the more I see that it is simply not doing anything…except perhaps pray. Here is what it looks like to me:
1. Stop doing whatever it is I am doing that I know is not right. Don’t DO anything.
2.Yield to God. Allow myself to remember His truths and replace my current thoughts with His.
3. Pray-about the situation…for deliverance from the desire to act out in my own way.
4. Praise-find something to thank Him for.
If I do the above three…really do them…I will be living from the spirit of Christ in me rather than myself.
This is the truest joy of life.
HE IS GREATER. I HAVE HIM. LIVING FROM HIS SPIRIT IN ME.