Apathy, fear, anxiety.
Me. Me. Me.
Out of it.
Not really here.
Second guessing everything.
Proud. Pleasing others.
I don’t care.
Controlled by fear.
Sleep, eat. Sleep, eat.
Trapped in my mind.
Be still and know…that I am God.
Listen… Obey… Step out.
Fruit, resonate, wonder.
Fear. It’s an epidemic. It is eating us alive, and we don’t even realize it. It has driven me my whole life. Isn’t that normal? Fuel for my intensity. I’m known for that intensity.
I first encountered the supernatural realm at age 12, at night, on the beach. I remember my mind went quiet. I hadn’t even known the volume switch existed, much less that it was on full blast in my head. And then all of a sudden it was quiet. He was there. I could breathe, hear my own breath. I was not alone. So this was Him. This was encounter. Stillness. Acceptance. It was Him. He knew I was reading Psalm 40, word-by-word, phrase by phrase. I could feel it, sense it. The voice of God.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth…I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips…Yet I am poor and needy…You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.”
The presence. A shivering sensation of smallness. He was there, here, watching, speaking, breathing, hearing my breath. Encounter. I knew I had found gold. The picture coming to my mind’s eye of Jesus lifting his head, beaten and bruised, looking right at me – I love you. I had to know that love. I had to stop at nothing to pursue a life running hard after the source of that love, that source of freedom. “I don’t care what it costs me!” I screamed into the wind, tears pouring down my face. “I will not be ashamed of you. I want to live for you. I accept you. Come into my life.”
Every encounter to follow that had that same characteristic stillness. Fear was gone. But for me, encounters were in short blips, then volume back to high and somehow semi-forgetting about the switch. He was there for big decisions – choosing a college, getting married, starting my first job, moving to China. But it was me in my mind for the rest.
Knowing about the stillness, the fact that it existed, that place absent of all fear, was maddening, and looming over me, always just out of reach. I just need to get through this…do this…check this off my list…see this person… then I’ll come to you, God, for that encounter. THEN I’ll come to you. THEN. Then.
In 2010, my next THEN point I “needed” to get to – the time I would finally have my ducks in a row enough to allow myself to pursue encounter again – was July of 2010, which I thought would be the start of planning parenthood, but which turned out to mark the start of a journey of pain through which encounter would become my only respite.
What is that “next thing” or “next point” you are aiming toward? The point at which you’ll allow yourself to live, finally, to enjoy, to rest, to pursue encounter, meaning, slowness? What is that point? Did you realize you were fixated on it? Why do we fixate on next points? ….. STOP! NOW! I dare you. That “next point” is… NOW. Will you dare to believe that with me? Dare to believe that fear-obliterating encounter can and will be the norm in your life, not the exception? Not the blip? To believe that you can and will hear the voice of God?
I dare you to begin a journey of encounter. Of intimacy with God. It’s how we were meant to live. Fear has become our master, our norm, and it makes me sick. Stop waiting.