Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When You Say Nothing At All


I haven't written in a long time.

I've had a couple of people ask me why (and by a couple of people, I really mean one person unrelated to me), but regardless, I am not entirely sure why. Today, I read this Relevant article by one of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist  and it sparked something inside of me that called me to the keys.

So here I am. 

Shauna wrote of how we all go through seasons in our faith. And in those seasons she writes about how God sometimes speaks to us in different ways than He used to. How he goes silent where he used to be prolific and how he can start using new languages that we aren't entirely attuned to yet. Or maybe we just miss the memo altogether because we are distracted by The Voice. That could just be me.

Either way, it is pretty obvious if we just take a cue from creation. Seasons sprouting and fading around us show how intrinsic change is to growth. It is comforting to know that God speaks in all kinds of places and spaces. He can speak to us in bold strokes and big ideas–through consistent cushion warming in Sunday services. Or he can speak to us while we are waiting for a milkshake at Dairy Queen or when we are chasing our kids through those anxiety-inducing trampoline places.

Other times–and this is where I think I may be now–He turns down the volume and simply lets us feel Him in random moments: a slice of dusty sunshine, a trill of a spring bird, a kindness from someone in traffic or an understanding smile when you're kids are flipping out in the grocery line.

This season feels like a delicate, pale pink sort of faith for me; a simplicity of life I am enjoying while I'm hobbling in step with him–I think this may be what Paul Tripp refers to as a "God Awareness". He shows up in the most random places for me. A pair of mismatched shoes on my two-year old. My son asking all kinds of questions about theology through things like Star Wars and ninjas. My husband picking up my favorite banana peppers from the store.

You see, life is screaming very loud for my attention and yet I am just not really that interested in what is being offered. Even though I  haven't felt like writing I've still had hundreds of thoughts on marriage, Jesus, motherhood and identity. But the thoughts are still being filtered through who God says I am. I am still transitioning; being sifted like flour over a rolled out piece of sticky dough. The old me and the new me is being refined, newly shaped.

Kind of like when you first write a song, you can see the shape of something waiting to be created but it just isn't speaking loud enough to bloom into becoming. So you let the broken melody hang in the air and know you will come back to it when you know which  notes should come next.

I've had much to say. But when I boil it down inside, it really has been a season of silence that has felt like the best fit for me. A season of quiet conversations with a small group of friends and family that are helping me to unpack this backwards evolution. I've gone from the front stage to the background. I have turned off the spotlight and settled for a reading light. I feel as if I am being reconstructed.

And just like the Don Schlitz song that Alison Krauss made famous goes:

"It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you don't say a thing"

You guys. That's God. He does that.

My mantra as of late is Romans 12:2, and it's the first verse I've put to diligent memory since I don't know. It's super sweet to the silent soul.

Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is. His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world: while some people think that means to not watch movies made after 1954 or to swear off Chardonnay like it's cocaine, I think Jesus would say something different. He loved loving those on the fray. I think somewhere in there that "pattern" that Paul is writing of may resemble the reality of today's hamster wheel; the weary speed walk of killing ourselves for something that isn't worthy of our undying attention. Like shiny stuff or new carpet, and sparkly shoes or brand name tags that are too complicated to throw in the wash. But the beauty is to be found in "the renewing of your mind"...I love that.

Keep on updating your Jesus news feed. Keep on downloading his word. Keep on seeking him, pursuing him, and stretching your faith muscles. It may not look like much is happening. And that's a good thing. Because his will may look very different from yours. Wait it out. He's got good things going on inside that lump of uncooked dough my friend.

We're in this together,

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