The lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O lord, do not abandon those who search for you.
I read a story the other day about someone who bought a seven dollar pen only because he kept losing pens and was sick of not caring.
It makes it more difficult to lose—because you’ve invested more.
Feelings of commitment and loss get stronger when we put more into anything—into that friendship, that goal, an idea, a dream, even the discouraging or tragic spaces of our lives. When we invest our attention into these moments—we become even more sensitive to the weight of them—and they start to matter more.
I wonder about the areas of our lives that we have written off because we keep losing track of them. Something didn’t work out. Someone didn’t follow through. We are tired of trying. I also wonder about the areas of our lives—that if we invested more—we’d stay in them longer to breakthrough—to essentially “not losing our pen” again.
Sometimes, hurt and shame keep us from making greater investments.
Lately I’ve been imagining pain like waves of the ocean. Usually, I equate the ebb and flow of the waves with something refreshing. Like God’s love washing over us. But that image only works if the waves are tame.
Have you ever walked into the ocean on a day when the weather has ticked those waves off to the point of angst? They’re heavy. They’re relentless. They show no favoritism. They break. And they can break you. The last place I want to be after a hurricane is neck deep in the ocean.
But that’s because I’m not an experienced surfer (who chases that type of wave), I am unprepared for that, I haven’t invested in anything that would make me stronger in that scenario. I haven’t completely learned how to trust the ocean in BOTH riptides and respite.
Watching surfers “duck dive” under large waves to avoid the brunt of the massive water as it curls up over their heads helps me with this image. I tried it one day when I was almost completely worn down to giving up. Instead of trying to stiffen my body in defiance (as if stiffening it and pushing my head up an inch higher would actually change the power of the wave)—I’d dive under the wave, directly into its massive heaviness. Under that water, through the heavy, we feel the relief of fears slipping past us spilling onto the shore. And we are still whole. We emerge on the other side feeling positive because we’re still breathing and the next wave doesn’t look so scary because we found a way to get through the last one without numbing out to it or running away.
We all have a choice in this life, to feel or to numb out.
We all have the choice to see the ocean (or the big unpredictable life before us)—or get into it with everything we have—investing more, caring more, and ultimately getting more because we took the risk. Sort of like buying a seven dollar pen–but on a bigger life level.
I will never say that I like pain.
I will never like it.
No one does.
But we can trust that there’s rescue waiting for us—we are never alone in THE GREAT HEAVY–whatever it may be for you– that sometimes builds up in our faces and in our fears.
I pray that all of us will be able to push through—or glide underneath—but never run from the challenges, because in them we are held and we are stronger. To taste grace again–and to not be afraid.
Imagine the waves gliding over you–even the most difficult-never-will-understand-even-if-we-tried kind of wave-like moments–imagine being held weightless in God’s love and presence in them.
When we know God’s name–we TRUST and BELIEVE that we won’t be left alone or be overcome by the ebb or the flow. (Psalm 9:9-10)
What do you need to do today?
Buy a $7 dollar pen?
Or maybe you need to invest in a trust bigger than anything else in your life. The Psalm 9:9 promise.
There’s a life changing promise in the middle of our heaviness–if you’re ready to stand up and walk toward the ocean.
If you’re doing that, have no fear, there’s about a gazillion of us standing right where you are–wading in water up to our knees and we’re going to trust with you that trusting is the best choice–even if it seems crazy or ridiculous–we’re going to dive in with you–and come up breathing and weeping salty tears of joy on the other side.
Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are