I’m drawing a blank.
Maybe I’m distracted by my deliciously, oh-so-warm cup of tomato soup here at Panera or maybe by the thought that at some point tonight the staff here are going to want to go home and they will have to kick me out – out into the arctic cold tundra of Minnesota. I’ll probably press my face to the glass and give them my best puppy dog eyes until my nose freezes to the glass and they’ll need to call the police to de-ice my face from the premise. At which point they will issue me a citation and tell me that I am never, ever, under no circumstances welcome at Panera again. I will then shamefully walk the 10 steps to my vehicle, my tears of heart-broken regret streaming down my face as the sad realization dawns on me that I had my last, best cup of tomato soup.
Like I said, complete blank.
But it’s Monday, which for me means Write Nite. I actually have it written on my calendar that way, it’s retro-cool (says the wanna-be-author who just wrote a paragraph about tomato soup). Monday is Write Nite, which means my husband kicks me out of the house and I’m supposed to write something deep about the character of God. In God’s defense, he has spoken some pretty profound words into my life this week but none of that seems to translate to my computer tonight. So it’s just Monday. . . and I showed up.
God told me to write. I’m here. . . the words are not. I could write about being thankful and seeing the blessings in the everyday commonness of life. I could write about staying present in the moment, not wishing away the time we have. I could write about seeing God in a bowl of tomato soup. None of that feels right.
It’s a dark place to be faithful when there are no feelings, no “go get ’em tiger” from your family or friends, not even a whisper of direction from the Holy Spirit. Not quite a dark night of the soul but maybe a shadow of it. It can make you doubt your ability to hear God clearly and sometimes your own sanity. So, what is God doing in these moments of quiet? What are we supposed to be learning?
God wants his kids to have the confidence that they can make sound decisions based on what he has told us. Its not often that we are caught up in the trap of doubting God but it is a constant battle of doubting ourselves. We are stuck on a hamster wheel of questioning whether or not we ever heard God in the first place. I mean of course we did, didn’t we?
God taught us to look both ways at the crosswalk before we walk, but we are now teenagers paralyzed with the fear that maybe that’s not what he taught us after all and we stay on the sidewalk afraid to cross.
Joyce Meyer shared a story about her own personal struggle of being too afraid to take a chance on hearing and acting on what God had told her and as she was praying God told her, “if you miss me, I’ll find you”. I remember hearing that as an awkward brace-faced teenager trying to walk by faith but stumbling on my own shoelaces of self-doubt. It was as if God was giving me the freedom to fail and the promise that even if I did – it would be okay. His love wouldn’t fail me. Paul says it this way:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39-
He will catch us if we fall, but the worst thing we could do is stay clinging to the sidewalk afraid to take the chance of acting on what he’s spoken to us. It’s time for us to grow up and embrace the freedom God is giving us. And seriously, what an amazing expression of his confidence in us. He believes in us. He believes that we do and can hear his voice. He believes that we are mature enough to act on what he’s told us – without him having to repeat himself over and over again.
It’s time we crossed the street.