A Little Reliance in 2012

2 Feb

I walk out of the office an hour later than I intended to, following what was a beastly, brain-busting day from the beginning.  “At least I have this ocean.”  That’s what I tell myself as I wait in the traffic to head over the bridge.  It’s excessively worse today.  I’m hungry.  Tired.  Ready for some peace and quiet, and yet, that’s the last thing happening in my car.  Sure, there’s no one else here but me.  It’s not peaceful, not quiet, though.  I turn up the music in an attempt to drown out the noise.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I like loud music so much?  Because it hushes thoughts. 

I’m convinced if anyone could climb into my mind for a few moments on days like this one, they’d be exhausted and ready to call it quits in a matter of moments.  I’m always trying to make it better.  Plan.  Get to the next destination.  I’m learning that stillness is hard for a recovering striver.

I prop my arm up against the window, pull down my sunglasses, prop my head against my hand and turn up the music even louder.  Normally, I enjoy moving through radio stations, but instead, I’m in the mood for something holy.  That means that I plug in my I-phone. And also that it’s a serious kind of day.  I’m searching for something to nourish.  The thoughts reel and as they do, Jesus Culture’s “I Want to Know You” blares through the speakers.  I barely hear it, at first.

These finances.  Maybe if we do this, maybe if we do that.  Let’s give this up.  Well, no, that won’t work.  Maybe in 5 years we could get rid of the student loans.  How will I ever be able to stay home?  Ok, maybe this way.  Or maybe that.

And I somewhat hear it, but I dismiss it:

“Covered by Your mercy, your blood has made me free.  Draw me to You.

I want to know You.  You’re my one desire.

I give you my worship.  All of my passion.  I give you my whole heart.  All my devotion.” 

What about the church?  I love it.  Need to spend more time there.  Need to invest more there.  This is the stuff I was meant for.  We should have more staff meetings, another event, and another prayer meeting.  Are the people praying?  How do we get more people to serve and to share the load?  How do we teach them to walk with You, closer?  How do we draw them into you?  How do we grow? What about giving? What about this building? Oh, I have to tell Megan about that new marketing idea I have.  Did I create that graphic? What should we do for our next young adult small group? Can’t forget those sign in sheets for the nursery.

I glance at my IPhone again and I briefly hear it as it builds, before going back to the worry:          

“My heart is held by love so unconditional.  You captivate me.  You’re the lover of my soul.” 

It’s faint, but it’s getting louder.  Still I dismiss it:               

“I want to know You.  Let Your Spirit overwhelm me.  Let Your presence overtake my heart.” 

Pregnancy.  Try again?  I don’t think I can.  Who can after holding Kingston, full-term, beautiful, born silent.  I want to.  I want 10 little ones- most days, anyway.  But, what if it happens again?  I say I’d go through it again because its precious- and – I would.  What I’m really scared of is not that loss will happen again.  At the core it’s that if it happens again, it will probably be proof that something is wrong with this body.  My fault?  Can’t bare that.  I’m still a broken mess, even though there’s beauty.  The house is a disaster.  I’m supposed to be eating better than I am.  Serving more, working harder at the office, doing devotions, reading more books, spending more time with family, spending more time with my husband, exercising every day and my blood sugars have to get in control.  Who has time for all of that?  Speaking of time, it takes some of that to try to get a book published.  I guess I can just sacrifice more sleep, right? Proverbs 31 women get up early, right?  I’m so not a morning person.  I’m a 30 minutes before she needs to leave, exhausted, throwing her hair into a ponytail, doing her makeup and eating breakfast- all in the car, kind of girl. I smirk a little. Yes, less sleep. That could work.  Up at 4am, bed at midnight… but… I’m already so tired.

And then, for the first time in a long time, I hear Him.  Almost audibly.  A violent halting.  A perfect interruption.

Shhhhhhhh.

And I hush and I hear it, blaring now, a heart’s cry, over and over and over from the speakers… and I love this song.

“I want to know You.  Let Your Spirit overwhelm me.  Let Your presence overtake my heart.”

The drums pound and it slowly gets louder and louder, singing over me.

“I want to know You.  Let Your Spirit overwhelm me.

Let Your presence overtake my heart.”

“I want to know You.

Let Your Spirit overwhelm me.

Let Your presence overtake my heart.”

“I want to know You. 

Let Your Spirit overwhelm me. 

Let Your presence overtake my heart.”

Then, I remember New York as I take a deep breath in and a deep breath out and I hear Him whisper it…

Reliance, Suzie.

It was cold out.  I think we were on the subway when I said to my husband: “I think our one word to focus on for 2012 should be Reliance.  Reliance on each other, on God, what do you think?”

He asks why, and says he likes it, and I explain that I’m tired of failing in my own strength.  I always set lofty goals.  Go big or go home, baby!  Yep, by March I’ll lose 30lbs and the house will be spotless each day, and I’ll blog once a week (What’s that you say? I haven’t blogged all month. It’s the 1st day of February. Darn. Was hoping you missed that.), book proposals will go out in February and the list goes on.  I tell him that I love all of the goals and I still want to set them, still want to go after them with tenacity, but that I don’t want to carry all the weight.  I want God in these same battles I fight each year.  I want to rely on His goodness, His plans, His timing, His strength, more.  Be smaller, so He can be bigger in each area of my life.  Invite Him more into this mess, so I’m not cleaning it all up by myself.  My sweet hubby gives me that gorgeous, reassuring and safe smile of his and says that it really resounds with him. 

Reliance.

Here, in this car, is where the relying is hard.  It’s so easy to get lost in the list and in the planning and in the worry.  So easy to forget that He is near.  That He’s in it. Have you been there?  I pull into the drive way, look up at the beautiful Florida sky, sun beginning to set and I lean back, clothes my eyes and let the tears fall as I ask for forgiveness for forgetting, so easily forgetting how in control of this life He is. How not in control I am.  God, if I’m going to be overwhelmed, I want it to be by Your Spirit like this song cries out for.  If my heart is going to be overtaken, let it be by Your presence, not this stress.  I spend a few minutes in worship before I head in to cook dinner, put away laundry and work on service preparations (and catch up on a little Real Housewives- yeah, about that).  Later that evening, Justin tells me he thinks he is going to teach about it at service this Sunday… Reliance.  I tell him about the car today.  There it is again, that smile of his.

As I sit on the front row on Sunday, only a few days from my car experience, my mind reels in the forgetting, again.  It’s the Lord’s day-sure- but as any transparent pastor’s wifey would admit, it’s a day of doing as well.  A doing that I love, that makes my heart beat, but a doing nonetheless.  Make sure to check folder in office, make sure children’s church has enough coverage, put out new sign in sheets, stock up on snacks, make sure to meet these new families, make sure to ask about that person’s doctor’s appointment, set up for prayer night, memorize announcements, don’t forget to remind pastor to remind the people about 2010 giving statements, help hubby prepare.  As I’m sitting there towards the end of service, I’m so consumed with watching the clock because service is running a few minutes over.  So consumed with thoughts that I almost miss it, until Pastor Hubby says to bow our heads.  He prays.  Tells us to imagine releasing all of the lists, pressures, dreams, goals- from our hands and falling back into the arms of our Father.  Tells us to rest in that for just a moment.  To rely.  Then, it’s there on the front row with my head lowered, and it’s in the car, and it’s in the moments when I grab hands with other couples at the altar and pray for all of us to rely on Him more, that I remember, He’s in this.

That evening, we’re back at the church for a regional district prayer meeting.  Hugging other pastors, meeting, encouraging.  We all take time to pray for each other.  Guess the specific areas that the saints feel they should pray over me?  Increase in health.  Increase in strength.  Increase in power.  Increase in prosperity.  He’s in this, Suzie. 

Goals are great.  If I can succeed at 1% of these dreams this year, I’ll be better off than I was last year.  So will you, with lists all your own.  But more than all of the lists, if I can learn, however stubbornly and however slow, that He is in all this with me, that I can trust Him; I’ll have gained something more precious than gold, or silver.  Something more valuable than paid off debt, healthy earthly bodies, flourishing ministries, and even whole pregnancies.  Because knowing Him, trusting Him, understanding reliance on this Jesus in this earthly life is truly eternity in the making.

So, HELLO to all of you, from 2012!  My apologies for missing January on here.  I will be trying to blog more, I promise!  For today, I appreciate your grace and, I’d like you to know that I’m praying that as you read this, you’ll find a desire to lay back and trust Him with your plans and your goals for this year.  Believing that rest will flood your faith, that grace will abound in your heart and that somehow, you’ll have moments when you remember Reliance.  Here are a few songs (some new, some old) for your drawing near times, or maybe just your crazy drive home:

Jesus Culture’s- I Want to Know You

Jason Upton’s- In the Silence

Kari Jobe’s- Be Still

Misty Edward’s- Dove’s Eyes

Dave Fitzgerald’s- Sweeter

Unlce Kracker- Drift Away (ok, so this one is not a worship song… at all. But, it still makes me take a deep breath, pull my sunglasses over my eyes, roll down the windows and smile- enjoy!)

A little reliance goes a long way, especially when handed to Him.  

Do you have a one word focus for 2012?

Love,

Suz

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2 Responses to “A Little Reliance in 2012”

  1. Janet SuddrethMsD February 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Hey Suzie,
    This was amazing. You asked if we have one word for this year. I would have never been able to say this before but this year I do have a word. God gave it to me at the end of 2011. It’s Abide. He told me John 15:1-17 were my verses this year especially verse 7.
    You are an amazing writer. Can’t wait to read your books as they are published.
    Much love,
    Janet

  2. Michele February 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Thank you for being so authentic… you touch my heart and I know will touch so many others with your genuine love for God. I loved reading this and it’s worth a re-read 🙂

    Love you Suzie,

    Michele

    P.S. I am not sure I have a word for this year, but definitely a focus… & that is on His Presence ❤

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