As I'm sure you're aware, right now my mind is a jumble of things. Opposing things. Church this morning was great - the children were reasonably well behaved (given that we were sitting on the front row!) and the talk was excellent. Has made me want to go and read the rest of the book of Colossians as soon as I can get some peace and quiet. The music was uplifting; so good that at the end of the final hymn there was a spontaneous ripple of applause. I love that. Sometimes it feels so natural to clap in appreciation; of the music, of the sound, in appreciation of you and the way we can celebrate together. I chatted with some very wise people afterwards and came home to a Sunday roast lunch cooked by Grandma.
Those are all the positives.
This afternoon I desperately wanted a nap. I had a job to do on the computer and it went horribly wrong so I needed to sit patiently while my computer-expert husband sorted it out for me and I'm never very good at that. Very ungracious, I suspect. Bryan and I tried to put up a picture on the wall this afternoon only to find that our nails are not masonry nails and so now we have no picture, a number of bent nails and a hole in the wall that requires covering with a picture...and also two disgruntled people who hate to admit that they can mess up something as simple as putting up a picture.
The children have no doubt felt my disgruntlement and have been cross and argumentative all afternoon and Bryan is back to London full time this week (as he's taking so much time off for Katy's op next week), so no doubt that has cast a shadow over today as well. Started out so well...
That's the superficial dimension. So much else is going on in my head as well on different levels. I am reading several books at the moment on subjects ranging from listening to you, prayer, spiritual warfare and the gifts of the spirit. Believe it or not, they're fitting together quite nicely and I'm amazed at the number of overlaps and the same Bible references. I am frustrated with how little time I can spend reading at the moment; and I'm also feeling that I should try a journal. I write this, and I have a book where I write down answered prayers, good things that happen, things I want to remember, meaningful conversations etc - I call it my Happy Book; but it's not a journal. I want to try to write more of what I want to pray about in a way that I can read back and see progress. I want to try to listen to you more. For the first time in my entire life, Christian and not, I find myself longing to learn how to listen to you. Not just talk at you - listen to you and hear you.
It's the school summer holidays and quiet time to read or write or reflect (or even think) is almost non-existant. Only those ten minutes between climbing into bed and nodding off...most frustrating. I'm waiting, waiting...
I read in the Bible that you spoke to your people in the Old and the New Testaments; you appeared to them, you sent angels, you spoke aloud to them and in dreams and visions. You inspired them to do great things. I look at characters like Abraham, Noah, Moses, Elijah, Paul, Peter and I find myself believing that they existed, but that they were a different sort of creature. They were people, but they were special people. Not like me. They were Your Chosen Ones.
Now, here's the bit that doesn't add up:
I believe that the Bible is true.
I believe that the promises in the Bible are not just for the folks that were alive right then.
I believe that you can take an ordinary person and help them do extraordinary things.
I believe that Moses and Elijah and the others were ordinary people (because the Bible tells me they were) and that you helped them do extraordinary things.
I believe that you are the same God of the Bible and you have not changed.
I believe that you are still able and willing to do amazing things just as you were then.
I believe that I am an ordinary person.
I find it hard to believe that you would help me to do extraordinary things.
Why? According to your word, Heaven is full of normal people who did extraordinary things. One day I might be able to have a chat with Abraham and ask what was in his mind as he prepared to sacrifice his son. I might be able to ask Elijah how come he did all those courageous things then ran away from Jezebel when she was narked with him. I don't have a problem believing that I will be there. I just have a problem in believing that you might have something big for me.
So here I am feeling as if I need to qualify that by saying that of course I don't imagine that I'd be likely to go and part the Red Sea or command armies or even stand up in front of a hall full of people and preach your gospel. I feel presumptuous to even equate myself with these Biblical Greats. But there it is.
If no-one ever believes it and shies away; if everyone smiles wryly and shrugs and leaves it to someone else, if everyone makes it a joke, who will do your thing? If nobody ever...let's stop with the everyone thing... if I never believe that I can do anything, then I'll never try. If I assume that you'd pass over me in an instant when you want something done, then I might miss out on my chance to do it. If I always assume that you'd be asking someone else, someone Chosen, I wouldn't be listening if you did come and tap on my shoulder. And I do want to be of use to you.
So here's what I want to do. Please feel free to change this as you will. I'm hoping that you'll put me on the right track because I'm sort of working on enthusiasm and little else at the moment.
I need to work on emptying my mind of all the rubbish that has accumulated over the years. I've been working on this and made a start but there's lots left. Then there's my need always to try to work things out myself instead of letting go and letting you handle it. Then I need some help still with the mental and emotional energy I spend worrying and being anxious about things - I need to learn to trust you more. I need to understand more about spiritual battles and how to protect myself. I need you to show me my spiritual gifts and I need to learn how to use them. I need to find a time and a space that I can know is special and dedicated to you and I need the discipline to visit and stay a while. I need to learn to listen and hear. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
If I make space in my head I reckon that there would be more room for you. If my head were less chaotic and more peaceful, then I might actually be able to hear you. At the moment the background noise level is so loud that you could be standing right next to me and cupping your hand round my ear to shout and I don't even realise it.
Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. Am I? I have a feeling that I'm not. I have a feeling that I can't possibly do any harm by working on these things and I might even do something right. It's a huge thing; a lifetime's thing, maybe, or maybe it's not; maybe it's a revelation from you and you can help me with it all. I don't know. I admit, I don't know.
There's so much I don't know. It's a good job that I can't grasp it how far away I am because I'm sure it would depress me. What doesn't depress me though is that you know, and it doesn't stop you from loving me. It doesn't stop you from having a plan for me.
I feel excited. I feel a sense of anticipation. I have felt this since this year began and although it's occasionally been swamped by other things, I still feel it. I don't expect to be Moses or David or St Paul, but I'm excited about being me, for once. I'm excited because I am your daughter and you are pleased with me. You have a plan. I want to be all I can be.