Anybody remember this post? Yeah, me neither.
Apparently, I wrote it in mid-October of last year and then promptly forgot about it.
Which is weird, right? I had what I felt was a real spiritual encounter, a full-on revelation from God.
I’d assumed that such a mind-blowing declaration of sobering truth would be accompanied by thunder and lightning and the appearance of a magical star over my house…
… you know, so Oprah could find me and make me famous.
I made this incredibly personal confession very publicly, self-identifying as a… a… ugh, I can’t even say it… a Christian.
It was really hard for me. It felt so horrifically uncomfortable.
I even expected a phone call or two from pissed off friends asking why I’d hoodwinked them into thinking I was a normal person when I was, in fact… the “C” word.
But I’d truly felt like it was something God had asked me to do, so I did it. And I’d expected some sort of monetary or social reward for my obedience.
Instead, after I wrote the post, all I found was… nothing.
Actually, a lot happened: my boo completed his three-month yoga training in California and rejoined the kids and me in Texas.
There, we loaded up all of our belongings and returned to Montana – from whence we came, just 11 months earlier – to replant our flag and try to really make it this time.
Not just survive.
Throughout all of it, I kept blogging, continued my copywriting work, mothered my kids, wifed my husband (how is wife not a verb?)
Nothing super drastic happened, really. I just kept living my life.
Which felt odd.
Does God not make house calls anymore?
Needless to say, the fire of my so-called “spiritual awakening” went cold freakishly fast.
So, I just did what I was used to doing – striving to be somebody, working for widespread recognition, dreaming of being relevant someday.
Yesterday, I went to church.
Got there in time to get a good parking space (for once). It’s amazing the difference that even 5 minutes makes in getting your car closer to the building (and, therefore, closer to God).
I met up with a friend, we dropped our kids off at class. We exchanged pleasantries.
Apparently, neither of us had showered – although her excuse of having frozen pipes in this one-degree weather was far better than my spending Saturday night stuffing myself full of so many marijuana edibles, I couldn’t support my own weight.
They had put me in such a state that I literally had to crawl up the stairs to my room, where, with an extreme force of effort, I slithered up onto the bed like a snail.
I waited there, patiently, in and out of sleep for what felt like hours but was (according to my husband) a matter of minutes… until I finally had the capacity to wash my face and brush my teeth.
(Never will I EVER go to bed without my retainer fitted over clean teeth. It’s not in my nature).
I still felt a bit out of sorts the next morning, as I drowned myself in decaf coffee and at least had the good sense to wash my armpits over the sink before starting the day.
And there I sat, in church. Hearing a message about hope and placing our trust in God as the only unchanging being we can really count on…
And it hit me.
I try to put my trust in absolutely everything and everyone else before I finally turn to God.
I mean, He’s invisible, so… there’s that…
… a fact that keeps my 3-year old daughter up at night: is God in here?? Is He watching me right now?? Tell Him to go away!
Admittedly, it is a little creepy that we train our kids to watch out for strangers, except for the invisible ones with magical powers hiding in their rooms at night.
Honestly, I understand her frustration.
There’s this mysterious Being we’re unable to see, yet we’re asked to trust Him entirely…
Having no idea if we’ll get what we want out of the deal.
What if He’s not looking out for my best interests and all of the things I need: money, accolades, relevance? What if I’m not even on His radar?
I mean, there’s a lot going on down here. Wars. Famine. Road rage. Bad coffee.
I’m just trying my best to be obliging here – give God a little help by worrying endlessly about my own status in the world.
I often picture God operating much like the IRS: it’s an overtaxed system (pun intended), and if I work out a solution on my own, that’s one less thing He’s gotta deal with…
Does He even really have time to care about my petty little concerns (that feel awfully big and important to me)?
The thing is, He says He does.
He says He decks out every flower more bad-assedly than kings. Or Post Malone. And they don’t even do anything to deserve it.
He says He even gives a shit about making sure birds are fed. And birds are gross, man.
And He asks us not to be anxious about anything…
… our status in the world…
… our inability to fly to Santorini on a moment’s notice…
… our lack of Kardashian-level finances…
… our complete inability to make something important of ourselves…
… but to just exist.
You know what we’re supposed to do?
Love people and be thankful. Yep. That’s it.
We’re allowed to ask for things, of course. But always in a spirit of gratitude. Then, we’re supposed to “let the peace of God guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
It’s just like Brene Brown’s research suggests: willful gratitude is the only way to combat fear and worry.
(God must be a big fan).
And did you catch that word: “let?” LET the peace of God guard our hearts and minds…
Not FORCE. Not MAKE.
LET. Which, of course, implies that it’s available at all times, as long as we’ll simply LET it in… stop actively blocking it out with fear, worry and all the other bullshit.
And what about that other word: “guard?” Let the peace of God GUARD our hearts and minds…
Which suggests that God’s peace protects us from something. Hmm. Maybe the inevitable emptiness, general anger and self-loathing that informs our daily actions when we live in a place of fear and frustration?
But, I dunno. I’m just spit-balling here. That’s definitely not me… (bangs head on table).
So, to recap: God asks us to spend our time focusing on cultivating gratitude and loving people, and He’ll literally take care of everything else while giving us an enduring sense of peace and hope.
You mean I don’t have to DO anything?
That can’t be right… I’ve got a lotta goals here. Lots of tasks that aren’t going to do themselves (that’s what she said).
How do I know I’m gonna get my Return On Investment?
This sounds like one of those too-good-to-be-true spammy sales pages…
That’s right! God will take care of ALL of your needs – and all you have to do is LOVE PEOPLE and LIVE WITH GRATITUDE! Plus, He’ll give you the peace of mind you’ve been searching for… but only if you act fast!
These are some big, hairy, mysterious truths we’re dealing with here… it’s a lot to take in.
I honestly wouldn’t blame you for balking.
Hell, I don’t really believe it myself.
I mean, I say that I do.
But then I just keep plugging away at my own problems, circling the Drain of Despair in an endless loop of striving… struggling… feeling frustrated… then striving and struggling again.
It’s more comfortable solving my own problems. Easier? No. I’d much rather have this peace of mind God promises.
But then I’d have nothing to complain about.
Doing nothing and just being is far more taxing than The Hustle.
And it certainly doesn’t earn you brownie points and the admiration of your peers in quite the same way.
Here, we value movement. We value action. We value risk and reward.
Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure how to operate within any other paradigm… I can’t function any other way.
But I’ll tell you what else I can’t do: keep striving toward this amorphous vision of “success.”
I’ve always been open about the fact that I feel like I should be doing more with my life; I should be Somebody by now. Or, at the very least, be a lot closer to jumping a tax bracket.
But swimming in circles isn’t carrying me all that far. And worrying the stink off shit doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere, either.
So, what’ve I got to lose?
It might be nice to give up the reins for a little while. And a sense of peace and calm would be a terrific change from the terror and disappointment of feeling five steps behind where I should be…
… as an entrepreneur…
… as a mom…
… as a partner…
… as an adult human.
But it’s still a mighty big shift from my current state of making assumptions about everyone’s expectations and then trying to live up to them. Every second. Every day.
Do I know where to start?
Psssh. Not really. (And pass the bong, please – I’m freaking out, dude).
I’m as lost as you are.
But for now, I guess I’ll just ask for directions… with gratitude?
Hey God… it’s me… um, thanks for everything…
… what’s next?
Dig this? Sharing is the highest form of flattery. Or is that following the blog? Well, maybe do both to make sure all the bases are covered.