I won't lie to you.
This week has been agonizing.
Pathetically, emotionally agonizing.
If you knew, you'd laugh. Or sigh. Or roll your eyes and say, "Wow, Becky."
Hang on, I'll elaborate. And you'll wish you hadn't asked. Or stumbled upon this blog.
P.S. I apologize in advance for the jumbled mess that this will probably end up being. It's been that kind of week.
Last week was our Missions Conference. Powerful stuff. Awesome services and an awesome move of God each night. And throughout the days. I've said it once and I'll say it again. My walk with God has never been stronger than it has been since I've been here. Last week seemed to be no exception. If anything, it was an affirmation.
Except for one nagging thing.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians that he dealt with a thorn in the flesh. He never tells you what his thorn in the flesh was, but you can speculate and he seems to get the point across that whatever it was that was nagging at him pretty much just plain sucked. Such is the case here.
Throughout last week, I received such a burden. Received may not be the right term. I got things reaffirmed.
For those of you not in the loop who don't know this, back when I started looking into AIM, there were other options that I had looked into. My first choice, to be completely honest, and my parents can back this up because they were there when I looked into it, was the Peace Corps. The only thing that kept me from signing on for 27 months in a foreign land at that second was the fact that I didn't have a four-year degree, which is "preferred" (AKA- pretty much required) for the extremely competitive program. So, I did AIM and learned that 27 months would most likely have killed me at the time.
I want to go places. A bunch of places. I want to do things. I want to help build houses. I want to help the hungry. I want to go to the third-world countries. I want to go to Africa. Like, now. I've had an obsession with other countries since I was little and my uncle was in the Marines. He used to bring me back coins and postcards. I actually have a Pepsi from Saudi Arabia (which has never been opened) sitting on my desk right now that he brought me back when I was 6.
God pretty much gave me the okay for this stuff. He has no problem telling me directly. I've known since I was 15 that I wanted to help people in poverty. I got a taste of it this summer. And I got addicted to it. I just want to do more.
So, God speaks to me. Reaffirms the call to go save the world, one humanitarian act at a time.
I'm on spiritual cloud nine.
But, like I said. Stupid thorn in the flesh.
But, maybe that's not a fair analogy. Paul asked for his thorn to be removed. Three times, actually. So, maybe mine's not a thorn like Paul's.
It's more of an issue, I guess. Stuff I've dealt with for years, indirectly. Not the same exact situation, but the same basic scenario replayed over and over. It wears on you after a while and makes you want to scream sometimes. And sometimes, God tells you to let go of it, for goodness sake.
But you don't exactly want to get rid of it. Sure, it hurts. It has its bad points. But at the same time, it's not REALLY hurting anyone, right? Except for you. Even more so this time, because God told you to let it go and you're not. Because we all know that ignoring that makes things so much easier, right?
Like I said, God has no problem talking to me directly.
But sometimes, he doesn't. Sometimes, he'll just kind of say something and nudge you. Like, "Heeeeyyyyy.....ummm...yeah, by the way....."
"You need to give me everything." God tells me.
"Okay, God. I'm giving you my life and my future. I'm not singing 'Please Don't Send Me to Africa'. I'm kind of singing the opposite. Send me wherever you want me. Give me the means to go, and I'll leave tomorrow if that's what you want."
And yet again.
"You need to give me EVERYTHING."
God knows when you're holding back. God knows when you say that you've put a situation in his hands and yet you still want to manipulate the outcome (unsuccessfully) by your own means. God knows when you say, "Okay, God. Your will be done, but please let it be this, this, and this."
It's not wrong to pray for an outcome. But sometimes when you leave something at the feet of Jesus, you need to lay it down and quit poking it.
And God will let you know this.
The only problem is that sometimes giving God everything goes against your very nature. Your instincts.
Sometimes, when the realization hits you that "Hey, stupid, this is what God wants. Please get it through your numb skull.", you'll sit on the floor of your dorm room and weep. You'll sob like a baby. You'll vow to yourself that you'll get over it.
And then the next day comes. And you're still a wreck. And you cry more.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
Over the course of this time, you get very good at hiding things. You get very good at putting on the mask. You can fool most people, sometimes even yourself, into thinking that you're okay. Sometimes, only your extremely perceptive friends can look at you and tell you, "You're smiling on the outside, but you're acting like a zombie. You're broken and it's okay to admit it." Even when you know you can't admit it.
Sometimes, you look in the mirror and tell yourself to stop the pity party right now. Because there are earthquakes in Chile going on and your problem is incredibly tiny and stupid. Because it is. But it's not.
And then one day, you may wake up and discover that it's been almost a week since you've decided to cave and give it all up to God. You may not have any peace about that situation. You still don't get why God can't throw you a rope and let you cross it. You don't get why you can't have what you want and still do what God wants. But at the same time, it the middle of a storm, you've found an odd kind of peace. It's not anything big. But it's sufficient. You know that God has a purpose. You know that everything works out in the end.
You remember being in elementary school and playing with your friend's rock polisher contraption. You would put ugly, disgusting rocks from the playground in that thing. The polisher would chip them away and make them new. They went in ugly, were put through the tumbler, violently transformed, and came out as something beautiful. But they had to go through a seemingly destructive situation first.
You still hurt. You still want God to let you take matters into your own hands. But God has given you a vision. God knows where he wants you. And you let him take control.
Your world is not okay. You are not okay. But God is there, even when you're not okay.
And sometimes, you realize that that's enough.
Actually, it's more than enough.