My Heart is an Ugly, Ugly Place
I have some confessing to do.
I am harboring bitterness in my heart right now. I can’t blame on it on my depression. My depression doesn’t cause me to sin. My choices cause me to sin. And with each day that I let go by with my insides rotting, the harder it is becoming to fake it on the outside.
One of the things I am discovering in my counseling is just how selfish I am. As I dissect my motives and my decisions, the more blatantly obvious it is becoming. While I am one of the first people to do something for someone, and willingly to obey God when He asks me to do something uncomfortable or to make a sacrifice, when all is said and done… I want to know what is in it for me. I question God’s intentions and whether what He asked of me was what was best for me.
I have a history of self-protection. Whether it is from taking care of myself when I was little or a defense mechanism from one too many broken hearts, my reaction to difficult things is almost always to protect myself.
Case in point and what brought all of this to head… was my trip to Portland. I planned that trip over 6 months ago with the intention to use that time for relaxation… for rejuvenation… for a true vacation. But God had other plans. With absolute certainty, I knew that God had orchestrated a divine appointment for me to be there for Jenni and her family as she aided to the Resnick’s. And I considered it an honor to have helped them and to have been used in that way. And in every way a person can be drained… I was, yet He renewed me with each new morning.
And while in that moment I was obedient to what He had me face and had me do, the moment I got home I was immediately pissed off.
Pardon my word choice, but I think it is important to explain my thought process.
I was so angry that I was robbed of my plan. My plan for vacation and relaxation. I mean, I didn’t get to do almost any of what I had planned to do or see. And it certainly wasn’t a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. I mean, didn’t God know I needed that? That I needed a time to relax and get away? Did He even care that I was absolutely depleted?
In reading from Psalm 139 and I was struck by verses 7-12 (which I’ve read and heard a million times before of course) that says:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Of course God knew what I wanted out of trip to Portland. The relaxation… the rejuvenation… the vacation. But His plan was different… better. He reminded me of my purpose. That life isn’t about what I need or what I want… but what He needs and what He wants. He created opportunity for me to use my gifts and an opportunity to love people. An opportunity to really get to know my friends on a more intimate, real level… that if we had just done all the fun stuff, we surely would have missed. He is wherever I am. Even in the dark–He is with me. And yet I still consistently doubt His best.
One of the challenges I’ve been given and am giving myself is, “am I willing to sacrifice my desire to self-protect? And do I trust God enough to protect me?”
The idea of fully surrendering my will and my need to self-project is one of the scariest things I’ve ever entertained. Yet, I know I need to do it. The longer I stay in this cycle and the bitterness grows… the worse off I am going to be. The more rotten my insides will become and less He is going to be able to use me.
I don’t enjoy writing posts like this.
I don’t enjoy revealing the ugly parts of my heart.
But I know there’s grace on the other side.