in the wilderness.

It’s 1:38am and I am wide awake.

 I don’t know if it’s from sickness or exhaustion or mental anguish, but I am just worn out. Yet I cannot for the life of me sleep. I toss, I turn, I watch Chopped on Netflix until my eyes cross. But sleep just isn’t coming easily for me this week.

I feel like the past few months of my life have been so wrecked with major life decisions, that I’ve found myself a bit lost in the midst of them all. I thought I had it all figured out, then I didn’t. So what else don’t I have figured out? What else am I getting wrong?

 I go to bed every night playing the fun “what if?” game, where these scenarios that will never happen play in my head, sending me anxiously spiraling into panic. I clamor for something stable, something familiar.

I haven’t had much stability in my life since August. Everything’s been constantly changing, moving, shifting itself into unrecognition since then. I’ve been questioning and second guessing and doubting every decision I’ve made before and after leaving student teaching. And now, I worry about future plans and spring semester and money until it all overwhelms me into thinking that maybe I didn’t make the right decision. I know I did, deep down. But everything else falling apart around it doesn’t help me feel it.

I’ve been reading Out of Sorts, and have gotten to a part in the book where I keep re-reading and re-reading Sarah’s words, hoping they soak into my heart and my head somehow.

“Lean into your questions and your doubts until you find that God is out here in the wilderness too.”

“I have good news for you, brokenhearted one: God is here in the wandering.”

She’s talking about church and being the church in this part of the book. But somehow, right now it applies to just my life in general.

I sometimes think the best place for me to really see and feel God working is in the wandering. In this place where I’m really unsure about what’s next or what I’m doing or if I’m getting it right. I think this is where He is most visible: in these moments of doubt, where I struggle and fall flat on my face.

It’s in those moments where He pulls me back onto my feet.

Where He says, “watch what I can do.”

Where he works on His time, and not my own. Even when I like my timetable better.

Even when I’m in this wilderness, where I’m surrounded by nothing but my own thoughts and doubts. Even when I’m brokenhearted by life crushing me ten ways to Sunday, and I don’t know when I’ll ever feel like myself again. Even then, I still find Him. And He finds me, trying to do things on my own, wanting to do things my way and failing epically. When I’m waiting rather impatiently for mountains to move and things to change: He says He’s there, and He’s proven time and time again that He is.

He takes my wandering heart and questioning brain and promises there’s more than this. 

He meets me in the middle of my mess. In the wilderness I’m surrounded by on all sides– filled with doubt and fear and questions and darkness– and provides me an out. A light in the darkness, a comfort for the fear. A peace for the questions, with the hope of understanding them someday.

He hasn’t left me yet. He’s pulling me off my knees in the midst of this wandering wilderness I’m in. And He promises me His hand to walk with me as we figure out my next steps together.

Despite the world spinning madly about me, and the wilderness caving in on all sides around me, He is keeping me stable despite the uncertainty in my heart.  I know that He delights in answering my impossible desires– and knowing that even if I can’t logically believe that He can do what I need and want Him to do, that His doings go beyond what I can logically see or do or believe. Logic is no match for what He can do for me.

If there’s one thing this year has taught me, it’s to hold on to Him. Cling to him for stability when the world goes unsteady–because it always will. But He won’t. He’s a stronghold, and He promises to always be with me–especially when the world lets me down. It’s not the world I should cling to: not my plans, my wants, my people. It’s Him. He’s the calm in the chaos that the world is guaranteed to provide. He offers me something to hang on to when I’m at the end of my rope.

Though the past few months and the decisions I’ve had to make have brought me some of the hardest moments, they’ve also shown me what it truly means to depend on Him. To trust and have faith that He knows what He’s doing better than I do. To believe that I’m going to make it through the next 10 seconds, the next minute, even when I don’t feel like I can.

Even when I’ve screwed everything up and things feel impossible, He says nothing is impossible for Him, and I just need to show up and watch what He can do if I trust Him. I’m just along for the ride– it’s all Him.

Everything always points me back to Him.

You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,
    and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder.
 It is the most amazing feeling to know how deeply You know me, inside and out;
    the realization of it is so great that I cannot comprehend it.

Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?

 Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

 If I go up into heaven, You are there.

If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.
 If I ride on the wings of morning,
    if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,
 Even then You will be there to guide me;
    Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.

(Psalm 139 6-10, Voice)

   You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?

(Psalm 56:8, NASB)


“Cause when I fall to sing, you’re the One who pulls me up again”

“when I’m misunderstood, Your love understands me”

2 thoughts on “in the wilderness.

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