It never really goes the way you imagine it to go.
I intended on abstaining from sugary, desserty gloriousness and Facebook for lent. That never happened. I was going strong for about four days, when God decided that He wanted to withdraw from me, my comfort. He had plans for me to hand over much more than just a warm slice of winterberry pie à la mode from my favorite local pie shop, or a few status updates proclaiming my deep emotional connection to Thai food, sushi, and the impeccable raw curry cabbage and cauliflower recipe I had freshly discovered. I say, “God decided” because I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice. It was either, be obedient. Or, be obedient. You can take a wild guess at which one I elected.
I gave it all up.
I felt like I was being asked to drink an ocean. But I gave up listening to lies about myself that had been spoken over me all my life: lies about what it looked like to be successful, lies about how flawlessness is the minimal requirement in order to reach out to others or make a difference, and lies about needing to appear “put together” all the time (…whatever that even means). I gave up security. I gave up familiarity. I gave up opportunities. I walked away from relationships I had spent years building and investing in, and time I know I will never get back. I dropped projects I had devoted my heart to and still one hundred and ten percent, believe in. I abandoned hopes, and I surrendered dreams.
Sometimes, God asks us to detach from things in order to unbind us from places where our dependency lies.
But when you separate yourself from things that are so much a part of your daily life and routine, when you back away from things you love and hold on to and care for so dearly, it breaks you. LITERALLY. BREAKS. YOU. Like on communion Sunday when your pastor holds up the whole cracker sheet and says, “This represents the body of Christ…” then proceeds to crack it into miniature servings, “snap… snap… snap…” Itsy bitsy pieces and crumbs everywhere. And now you must take all the energy you’ve put into dealing with all the fractures, and transfer that energy over to picking up those crushed smithereens in attempts to put yourself back together again.
Reality check: It’s impossible for you to fix yourself. You are not as strong as you think you are.
You are not indestructible, and you are too destroyed to even scrape the surface of your brokenness. Understand that, that is okay. The sick-to-your-stomach feeling like someone just roundhouse kicked you in your gut with all their might, and the stinging that you’re experiencing in your heart, that’s normal. It’s not just a cramp. It’s called heartbreak, and that too, is okay. You’re allowed to feel that way. It’s not pleasant at all, but the wreckage is necessary. Believe that pursuing change even when things are good, is necessary. Even if you don’t feel like you’re on the top of the world right now, you will be okay. I promise, it will all be okay.
You’ll never be in the same place again.
Long car rides allow possibility for good life conversations. The ones that fuel your inner beings. The ones that make you warm and fuzzy inside, evoking all the feels. And really, all you’re missing is the hot honey cinnamon latte with the heart-shaped latte art on top. But since you’re driving… I digress. But that’s why car rides are one of my favorite things. I was driving with a friend when we started chatting about our struggles with taking risks in our lives, and having to be obedient to God in ways we never imagined ourselves having to do. The thing is, when you choose to leap from one rock to another, you’ll never be in the same place again. Never. You’ll never be in the same place again because once you actually decide to go, all the elements around you will shift. The environment and surroundings will be different. The foundation will be different. And, the boulder you’ve chosen to hurdle over to could completely contradict the one you’ve previously jumped from—in texture, in shape, in size.
Change has never been my forte. I’m not the greatest fan of it, unless it’s my idea. I only embrace change when it’s the kind of change I want, or if I feel like I have full control of its consequences and results. God is pushing me towards places I need to be. He is showing me that He is a God far bigger than this tiny world. He wants to build in me a faith larger than my own body. It’s been a season of giving things up, of allowing the “self” part of me to collapse into the background. Because only then can I create space in my soul to encircle a new plan and purpose.
Sometimes, God requires of us to remove things from our lives so He can return to us what is rightfully ours in His timing.
This thing is: His plan for my life has always been far grander than the one I envisioned for myself. His hope for my life has always been more spectacular.