I have spent the past three days in humbling solitude. And in the exquisite timing of our God, the two days leading up to the trip I am on was a mercifully painful process of pruning. Pulling up to the surface from the deep, deep depths, the deadliest parts of me, slicing them off at the source to make room for the fresh, free, life to bloom.
I had no idea it was coming. And I had no idea what I would learn while out here by myself - which, by the way, I was terrified to do. It's a scary thing for me to be alone with my thoughts; I tend to be my most vicious enemy.
Yesterday, I had the joy of spending 7+ hours driving through the state of Pennsylvania. Listening to the only John I brought, and still scabbing from my pruning, my wheels started turning. I'm a new man. I wear a new cologne and you wouldn't know me if your eyes were closed. I know what you'll say, this won't last longer than the rest of the day, but you're wrong this time. In my cold-medicine-induced state, I was praying and thinking. Thinking about what I want my life to look like, and how if I want my life to look like something, I should probably just DO it, instead of spending so much energy trying to make it what its not... just cuz I want it to look that way. I was thinking about how self-absorbed I can be and how repulsive that is. I was thinking about how the Lord has been practically beating me over the head with "no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly" (Ps. 84:11) and how I feel in my core that good is on it's way.
So it's no surprise to me that John - of all people - would have blogged this today:
"I've been traveling alone in Japan for the better part of three weeks now, and It's been so remarkable an experience for me that I can't book a ticket home yet. I haven't spoken very much out loud these days, but I've been thinking to myself in what feels like surround sound...This is about a level of self consciousness so high in my generation, that it's actually toxic...This is about us all. Every one of us. Who all seem to know deep down that it's incredibly hard to be alive and interact with the world around us but will try and cover it up at any cost... as unaffected as we try to come off, we're all just one sentence away from being brought to the edge of tears, if only it was worded right. And I don't want to act immune to that anymore...I got to the point where I had so much padding on that, sure, I couldn't feel the negativity, but that's because I couldn't feel much of anything. And I think I'm done with that...It turns out we're just not all that special, when you break it down. Beautifully unspectacular, actually. And that truth is going to catch up with us whether we want to run from it or not...Root for others. Give more and expect the same in return, but over time. Act nervous when I'm nervous, puzzled when I don't know what to do, and smile when it all goes my way. And never in any other order than that."
Well, John, I hear you. But I must respectfully disagree. Because what I've learned this week is not that I am one of many "messed-ups" of my generation, or that I am numb, or that I am "beautifully unspectacular" (although I do love John.). What I have learned is that I am one in...well, six billion. I am being transformed into the very things I know I could never be on my own - delightful, trustworthy, captivating, smart, honored.
I will root for others. Give and give and give and give. Be honest, true, and real. I will smile delightfully in joy as one who lives for her King, ragged little thing that I am.
Because when I am ragged, I am willing. And let me just tell you that the process of detoxifying me of my self-absorption, this pruning, has left me ragged. But it has left me clinging to Him, and in clinging to Him I am found.