I wish I could tell you that it’s usually the good days that make me feel like I want to put words to a page. But I would be lying to you. It’s been a tough go-around, pals. I have found myself crumbling under the weight of monstrous insecurity, the kind that sits on your shoulders and makes your whole being ache with doubt. I have found myself leaning into fear and away from trust. I have found myself longing for a different life, a different self. A different number of breaths strung together. I’ve questioned my worth, wondered if the Wheeler that people see is the one I want them to see, or the one I’ve tried my best to keep tucked away. Worst of all, I’ve found myself looking at God and saying, “Why are you withholding things from me?” Pride, rearing its ugly head in the form of entitlement and ungratefulness. But this is not how I want to live. My roommate caught me in a pensive mood yesterday and asked what I was thinking about. The only reply I could adequately express: “I think I need to be more grateful.” And this is true. Gratefulness is one of the major themes we see in God’s word. Tired? Be grateful! Lonely? Be grateful! Sad? Be grateful! “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22. But what about when my spirit is already crushed? What about when I can only think of things like “coffee” and “this day” to thank God for? (Not bad things to be thankful for, by the way.) This is where I get stuck. I think many of you are there with me. There’s a song you may have heard me mention lately – “Doubting Doubts” by Citizens & Saints. This is the part that strikes me every listen:
“I’m His kid no matter what I’m feeling. I’m doubting doubts. I just cannot help believing – I am loved no matter what.” Honestly, I do not believe this. I just don’t. I don’t know how to internalize unmerited love. And you know what? I think I need to stop trying so hard. I was sitting with the Lord today, just listening. And I heard a still small voice that said that He is sweet to us when we let Him be. I think I just need to let Him be sweet to me. So I’m re-learning the art of slowing down, of letting Him call me away, of quieting my little world to remember that it is much more important for me to be part of His. And He will slowly, gently, steadily, over the course of my entire time on this planet, knead me into the Wheeler He created me to be. I’m already righteous. I’m just maturing into that version of me. (Read The Cure, people.) Insecurity is ravaging, like an infection. If left untreated, it will slowly kill all your life and leave you devastated and raw. It can be soothed, though. It can be healed, closed up, smattered with ointment. It’s treatable. But the love of Jesus? It is a raging, scorching, fire during a shriveling drought. Nothing can stop it once it gets started. It will destroy every wrong thing you’ve ever thought. It cannot be quenched. The havoc it will wreak on everything you know is irreversible. It will hurt, so bad you’ll blister. (Google “Eustace and the Dragon.” Do it.) But you’ll never be the same. And you won’t wanna be. Just like you can’t stop this Fire, you can’t start it on your own. He’s got to do the prep work, too. He’s going to burn you up, alright, but in His timing. He has a way of doing that. It’s just like the fires that are set on the Konza each spring. There is more purpose in that scorching than we even know. And when He’s done, you’ll shoot up like the grass in early, early spring – still brown at first sight, but if you look close enough, you can see the green shoots at the bottom. Life. Now you’re living from and not for. You’ll be living, alright. From who He has made you to be. Not for the person you need to become. From the love He’s lavished out. Not for the approval of others. From the inside out – true joy springs forth. Not for the appearance of happiness. Another song I’ve been playing on repeat: “Mountain to Valley” by Housefires II. “Desires You have placed in me, faithfully You will complete.” I’m trying real hard to believe this, even on the tough days. Psalm 139 helps a bit. And I feel the truth of it deep down, in a place that’s hard to reach, on days like today – breathing in 75 degree Kansas air in February. The desires that matter are the ones that I have to really dig out sometimes. Many of my wants on the surface aren’t getting to the root of it. All of our true desires come from one massive, giant, core craving – to be with God. And we are promised that one without a doubt. He is the fullness, the all-consuming blaze. He is the satisfaction we have been waiting for. Don’t wait another second. You have all of God you’re ever gonna get, right here in this moment. Nothing else is enough – not even you, not even all the good things in the world you could think up about yourself. Not even your best effort to be better, to be more like He wants you to be. Let Him be sweet to you. Let Him burn you right up where you stand. Nothing else is enough.