I battle with insecurity. This year I have looked into the mirror and I have stared long enough to contemplate the reflection staring back at me. Writing a book has been about that process and I am finding that is convenient to not look at all and instead guard an image where I control what others get to see. Yet as I stop and stare, the reality is that I am still wrestling with me.
Richard Foster writes that “the fear of being alone petrifies people. Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment…” This year has been about solitude and by not turning away from my reflection I have acknowledged deep rooted themes about my life where the insecurities staring back at me cause me to squirm.
Revisiting the events of my past is liberating, but it is also frustrating. In the book of Ecclesiastes, I am reminded how there is nothing new under the sun and what is will be again. It is disheartening at times to view my life in this circular motion. Does it always have to be this way? And will I always struggle with insecurity? After so many years of learning and teaching, one would think I would be more of an expert in trusting God and having the faith that He is in control, but the truth is that the ugly existence of my doubts and anxieties remain.
I am asking difficult questions that reveal answers I don’t want to take into consideration. For example, is speaking sometimes used to make me feel important and good about myself? Do I step onto a platform to prove myself that I am somebody? Do I often loose sight of the gifts and talents God has given me? Yes.
Writing the story that God has entrusted me with is mentally exhausting and painstakingly slow. And out of all of this, the most important question to ask is do I trust God enough with my life to the point where my reflection is not so concerned about my image, but rather solely focuses upon who God sees me as and how He is molding me into the person He wants me to be.
I am reminded over and over again that if I can hold onto who God sees me as, I am free. He created me to simply be. It comforts me knowing that I can live a life unhindered because of God’s love and what Christ has done for me. I need to trust. God is moving.
It is humble in origin. It isn’t much to gaze upon. Thank goodness…it is camouflaged by the darkness. The shadows from headlights barely catch glimpses of it, sweeping over well-manicured grass, like a prison spotlight on a pendulum waving back and forth. It stands as a fortress, anchored, guarding against intrusions that taunt at freedom. Amid the quiet night where crickets play; dogs roam; and people jog; the innocence still attracts.
It is simply a bench – that is all, nothing more. It is a green piece of metal supported by two white pillars where people are meant to sit. And, it is situated just feet away from my front door. Here, I am transformed to a place of peace, comfort. Thoughts alternate, my hopes coagulate, and life stagnates…for a time. I sit. I reflect. I pray.
The leaves flutter on a desert breeze. Conversations fade into the distance. Sprinklers succinctly spray the putting green of a lawn in sporadic intervals. Flickering airplane lights up above connect the dots to twinkling stars, poking their way through a black canopy, outlining that vast array stretching towards endlessness. Sitting here… waiting… It opens up a world that otherwise I might dismiss. I feel small!
The daylight doesn’t do the sanctity of the moment justice. I look down upon the empty bench from an upstairs’ window. From the view, I appreciate the sentiment and the earnest quandary, pouring forth my soul from the night before. Though the sun melts that kaleidoscope blending my vulnerability with transparency, I know that this is my escape. A cry that celebrates the process of what it means to be free! I yearn for the night again.
It happens on the hem of a green belt. The rumbling commotion found within a day comes to a halt. My utterances spew forth like an incessant rain falling upon lush foliage. I am weak, powerless. Eclipses of truth coincide to embrace me. My dialogue resumes prolonging the countless hours I have spent in this sacred place. It’s a resemblance of a pilgrimage.
I must believe; be expectant; realizing God’s provisions; and taking Him at His word. I think I’ll sit here for awhile.
I sat in solitude on the lake front. Nestled into a cozy chair that caught, supported my feeble body, I pondered the previous six days. Behind me, charter buses were making their exit: the hissing of their hydraulics; the squealing of their brakes; the percolation of their engines as they gained speed. Traces of adolescent screams, in tribute to a week gone by, trailed and disappeared with the exhaust fumes.
A hush covered the landscape. I could actually hear the distinct sounds of oars digging into the waters. The pristine chirps from small black birds darting across a pale blue sky amplified. The faintest whispers of trees swaying softly like a baby’s lullaby became the ruckus of mid-morning. I basked in this silence, catching glimpses of ripples reflected in the sunlight, wakes slapping up against the shore. And, I realized this was just the outer fringe.
Surrounded by a coliseum of pines, lounging on the floor of a deep basin, the backdrop of my day was something I would have not traded for the world. I had stared into this scenery for many years. I have studied its delicate detail – the jagged mountain peaks and the barricading walls of that steep, daunting granite. I have been enamored with such astounding beauty that I must readjust my eyes every time. I have discovered that the view is not just a life-sized postcard. It is real. The gaze never gets old.
The lake before me became a welcoming threshold extending, expanding out into greatness. Beyond its dam, a chasm carved its way, dropping into a deep canyon. All the while, the cumulus clouds floated above like blimps, hanging poised with the décor. These were sacred moments, hallowed times. It’s when God spoke. His love for me was voiced, again. I was gently asked to reaffirm my trust. If I reflected too long, the tears would well in my eyes…because it struck a chord embedded into the depths of me. My fears and all my insecurities surfaced. How easy I add to the noise to drown out sorrows!
God displayed His handiwork as I sat on the embankment not saying a word, just observing. His magnificent creation demonstrated. And to consider, these are but the outer fringes of His design! How much more He proves over and over His provisions for me. His faithfulness has been something He continues to teach me. I must trust having the appropriate stance to hear those faint whispers. They can serve both as a conduit ushering a peace that sustains, and motivating a life to be lived amid the ambiguity for what lies ahead. Do I trust? Will I listen?