I am starting to learn a thing or two (finally) about restraint. It has taken 36 years, but I am beginning to see a difference between being authentic and feeling desperate to be heard. I know that is a huge statement to make without digging in to what it really means, but that is not what is on my heart today. Or at least not primarily. Mostly because I am such a
hot mess work in progress in that area right now. So much work remains to be done. I share it, however, because I have been writing a lot lately (in my journal, in my head, in unpublished posts) but struggling with this desire to share that is at war with my desire to take a cue from the mother of our Savior and ponder these things in my heart.
I have felt a very definite push to share some of what I have been learning about prayer lately. Now, normally, I would sit down and write something and just hit publish without thinking. Again... it's what I do. Yet when I sit down to do that, my thoughts are so jumbled. I start feeling like I need to tell my whole life story, and then I get to parts I am not ready to share. And then I get caught up in this whirlwind of questioning how I can share positive parts of my life when I am in the middle of some huge struggles and I start feeling like a phony and basically I dissolve into kinda desperate text messages to my blogging BFF who patiently reminds me that it is okay to keep things private.
In the "plugged-in" world we all call home now, it is so easy to get completely distracted from the very heart of things. When I sit down to write, there is this blinking cursor and huge empty space waiting for words, and I often fill the space before I even begin to focus on what I really want to say. My motivation is honorable when I first sit down, but somewhere along the way I find myself sucked into a pattern of wanting to be known and I forget that my goal is really to direct that focus to my Creator. How easy it is to stray.
This weekend I set up a little prayer closet in our new home. Well, actually it was more like I asked my husband to clear out the amazing amount of stuff from our "junk closet" so that I could claim it for my prayer space. My intentions were pure. I wanted a place free from distractions to really focus on some things I am struggling with right now. As I learn more about the true gift of prayer, I crave it in such an intense way. I just wanted a little nook for focusing my thoughts and prayers.
Then, I decided I should print some inspiration to hang on the walls in this little space. I am a very visual person, and it made sense to me (and still does) to have visual cues for focusing my thoughts. But then I only wanted really pretty things to hang up. And then my printer (which I just replaced) turned out to be broken. And then... I got so caught up in my frustration with my printer and thoughts of decorating this little space that I completely lost any focus on why I wanted it to start with.
Complete and total distraction. I feel like that is how I live (at least) half of my days. In my quiet, small-town life the enemy doesn't have to resort to big events as he roams about looking for someone to devour. He has the weapon of distraction mastered. And that is where this all comes back to the origin... and where I have found comfort in focused prayer. But, as you see, I have filled this space before I can even begin to share about that! Today, however, that was my plan. I needed to share a few basic things before I dive back in to blogging about what God is teaching me. For anyone who wants a concise bullet point list after all this rambling, here it is:
- Words are my jam. Writing is so much easier than speaking for me, and it is also almost always the best way for me to process. However, I am learning to (at least start to) guard my thoughts and my heart from being constantly distracted and I hope to do the same with my writing.
- My life is not pretty. Right now I am battling some giants that are ugly and nasty. However, this is not the time for me to share about those things. So, as I write, I will seek to be authentic but also honor the need for some things to be kept between just me and God.
- I still have a tendency to veer towards being quite loquacious, and you will still have to bear with me as I ramble and get caught up in tangents. I just pray that as I do, my focus will remain true.
, by Branson Merrill