Friday, September 18, 2009

Cardboard Harbor

So I wrote this song. Well, I wrote the lyrics to a potential song. It is currently melody-less…and might remain so forever depending on the depth of my creativity in the days to come. (Which considering the date on my last blog post--we’re not even going there—might remain pretty shallow.) Regardless, I was thinking of this unfinished ‘thing’, if you will, recently and it sort of took on a new dimension for me in relation to my spiritual life.

Lets be honest, the words were actually written in response to my emotions concerning a certain “person” --another subject we will not be getting into. Ha. The basic gist of my infrequently and annoyingly unpredictable emotions is that no matter where the blame may lie, at the conclusion of my interaction with this person, I was awakened to a reality I thought would never exist, and when it in fact did, it temporarily suffocated my every hope and thought. I found I had allowed myself to be in a place that once (and for some time) seemed so completely stable, trustworthy, and safe, that to question it at the time would have been to deny the existence of one of the greatest blessings of fellowship my heart had ever known; yet in the end, the tangible absence of such was now slowly descending and deteriorating around me, within me, and as I was humbled I found-partially because of me. I had not the eyes to recognize any part of its harmful or destructive (not abusive in any way, but more of a suppressing of myself) nature until I found myself sitting in an empty space where human arms had once held me up. I was alone. And I was quite aware of it. I am literally shuddering at the memory of those moments of realization, of what I knew I had lost, and how I thought I couldn’t survive without it.

I remember thinking my tear ducts were hooked up to some imaginary water fountain and someone really mean had turned it on “high”. I remember thinking “oh THATs what all the lyrics to those songs I always thought were so cheesy actually meant” (“how am I supposed to breathe with no air” ….hahahaha KIDDING…I did feel that way sometimes, but I’m currently just being dramatic. ☺ Humor me.) I remember not wanting to get out of bed because I thought there was no way I could be happy, void of someone who held such significance in my heart and in my ability to believe in myself and the person I wanted to become. Being an introvert, I tend to thrive on quiet moments by myself-but not when they are (or seemingly so) my only option. And despite my love for those pockets of peaceful reflection, I found myself drowning in the silence of a million words and stanzas; only, I could find not one to fully describe the depth to which I felt my foundation was sinking. How did I become SO lost within what I had found, that when it was over, I found I had in fact lost myself? Never in my life had I had issues knowing who I was. (Now, insecurity and self esteem are another story, but for this particular moment I’m not talking about my actual identity in Christ.)

I never understood certain parts of the movie Runaway Bride until I realized that it now was I who didn’t know how I liked my “eggs” cooked. And I totally got it. I was in a complete frenzy of wordless speeches and halting dreams. I was humbled. Flattened. Stripped of every safety net within my reach. Left with so many questions I didn’t know how or where to begin. Sent into a desert place. AGAIN. And I was NOT happy about it. And so I began a sort of rebirth/reinventing/re-establishing of who I was, and what my purpose was. And I started taking mental notes: I DO like banana popsicles. I do NOT like Indian food. I am a jeans and a white t-shirt kind of girl. But I have cool boots and sometimes I like to wear those too. And so it began. Trivial at first, but at the heart of what was happening, I was being drawn back in to the source of my very existence. The quiet presence that gave me the strength to get up in the morning and promised me I’d have what I needed to get through THAT day. The One that promised me if I’d trust the handfuls of the broken pieces, even the secret ones I tried to put back together myself, that HE would create something, and birth something I wouldn’t believe even if HE told me (Hab. 1:5).

In the so called “chorus” of this melodically unfinished song, I talk about life as living in a harbor, and how we create (or think we are creating) a space of comfort. A place that feels homey, that we decorate with memories and pack tightly with the trust of those who have led us to such a haven of existence. But this harbor, this space that I allowed to be created in my heart and mind, and what I clung to so dearly as my security and well-being, I discovered was actually made of cardboard. A structure that appears completely capable of holding valuables and keeping them intact in their original form. But have you ever seen what happens to cardboard when it gets wet? (It stinks for one thing.) Immediately the very fibers of strength that hold together such a transportable mass become incapacitated, and depending on the weight of that which it holds, will weaken in structure—more than likely causing it’s contents to fall into a deranged mess. A cardboard harbor. (Oxymoron anyone?)

I actually looked up the word harbor before writing this post, and thanks to “” this is what I found:

HARBOR: “a part of a body of water along the shore deep enough for anchoring a ship….any place of SHELTER or REFUGE…(v) to conceal…hide…maintain”

Bingo. Red Flags everywhere. What exactly was I anchoring my trust, my love, my time, my energy, my thoughts, my efforts, my dreams and desires to? Something, someone who, at the end of the day, was no more secure than me. Whose character shined so bright for a time that it overshadowed a looming frailty and imperfections within that I had not the ability to heal.

I HID within the tangible feeling of someone holding me, instead of hiding in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1).
My insecurity found HOPE in a vanishing opinion instead of resting in the knowledge that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
I sought SECURITY for my future in a shelter made of temporary things instead of remembering that I am completely HEMMED IN to a plan made just for me (Psalm 139:5).
I tested the waters of purity and gave my whole heart to something unsure instead of sinking in to a reality that I have access to EVERY PROMISE God offers me in Christ(Psalm 145:13, 2 Corinthians 1:20, 2 Corinthians 7:1).

Being humbled HURTS. It’s embarrassing, even if only between you and the Lord your God. Initially it makes you want to hang your head. But you know what? It can also be the biggest blessing of your life. And on top of that, we are called to be humble (Ephesians 4:2), to seek humility (Zeph 2:3), and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). God esteems the humble and blesses them with grace (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Isaiah 66:2).

This has been a hard season of life for me—to accept that God has allowed a gift to be given to me, and then taken away. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would much rather learn to stay humbled before Him, completely aware of, and dependent upon his grace and goodness in my life so that He gets every stinkin’ ounce of the GLORY, and EVERY accolade for the accomplishments in my life (Isaiah 26:12).

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds my future. (Jer 29:11)
I don’t know what circumstances I will face tomorrow, but when they come HE will give me wisdom. (Psalm 51:6; Proverbs 2:6)
I am completely incapable of living in purity and doing everything in this life “correctly”, but I know where my help comes from and the heart from which grace flows. (Psalm 121:2)
I can choose bitterness or I can daily choose to delight in my Jesus and learn to savor knowledge and understanding from Him. (Proverbs 2:6)

I pray for us all that we will choose to rely on our good God to sustain, maintain, and protect our hearts, for HE is our only TRUE source of security, and the PUREST form of LOVE we could experience. He is the only one whose heart is completely FOR us and whose work in us doesn’t just keep us intact, but if we allow it, makes us better. He who is completely capable takes our mess, and turns our worth and significance into something eternal and everlasting.
I pray that we all love Him a little more with the arrival of every sunrise.

And just for the record, I like my eggs scrambled.