Thursday, April 8, 2010

Strive

I am desperately struggling with blogging tonight. I really want to, I feel like I need to, but I can't seem to get the words in my head to come out in any orderly fashion.

I have so much on my mind.

I resigned from women's ministries at my church on Monday. I know it was the right choice, and act of obedience, and yet... I don't actually know what the "and yet" is, but I know it's there.

Sometimes doing the right thing, being obedient, even means saying "no" to good things, and when you have to say no to good things, it makes you question yourself, your decisions.

Interestingly enough, this decision, that I have struggled with for quite some time now, changes everything and nothing at exactly the same time. I'm trying to process that.

I'm doing a lot of processing right now. I feel a little like I am in a desert, it's quiet, dry, and I feel alone there. The Lord offered me a cup of water, here in the desert. It was just a cup, and maybe a map to the oasis. He said, "seek Me." He said it and I gulped it down, and for a moment, I felt refreshed, and then I looked in the bottom of the cup and it was empty again, and I felt the silence and dryness all over again.

Then the challenge remained, obedience to the directive. "Seek Him." Someone asked me if it was like an Easter egg hunt. Maybe it is. I say that because I suspect I may find other little treasures along the way, I think perhaps I already have, but I'm honestly not sure. But I do know there is a treasure in the possibility of finding... Him, and the treasures along the way. With possibility, comes hope.

This same friend with the interesting question also gave me a valuable little nugget of advice. When I told her I wasn't exactly sure about either the "what" or the "how" of seeking Him, she told me to look up the word to seek. The definition I found that spoke to me said, "to endeavor to find." So I had to investigate further, what exactly does "endeavor" mean? The answer to that question was really interesting, because what it means is "to strive."

That's interesting to me, because the thing I have really felt the need to find realease from is a sense of striving in my life. I know I have been striving after things pointlessly, and suddenly the Lord is, indirectly, encouraging me to strive, but this time, after Him.

I'm still pretty confused. In my mind, striving has been such a negative experience. I have wasted a lot of time, energy, tears and effort in striving. I thought I had come to a place where I knew I needed to stop this futile effort in my life. No more striving... and then the Lord said "strive", but to strive after Him.

Vigorous exertion, that's what it means to strive. So I have to figure out what that means in the practical.

I've taken a couple of first steps. For starters I'm letting the Lord back into my weight loss efforts. In the beginning the Lord was at the heart. Truthfully I contribute the success of it to the prayers of others. I know there were faithful women praying for me in this area of struggle with my weight, and there were days I felt like I could actually sense their prayers. Then at the first of the year I started exercising every day, and it was in conjunction with a daily devotional with the Lord, but somewhere along the way, it diverged, and it became a hindrance to that connection to the Lord. So I'm stopping and taking inventory, and putting the Lord back at the center of the weight loss efforts, as well as a priority well before them.

I'm also journaling again. Somewhere along the way blogging became a substitute for journaling. And as "real and transparent" as I may try to be in my blogging and sharing, there is still an element of realizing that other people are reading my words, which is what I want, but isn't necessarily the place where the Lord can do a deeper work.

Suddenly people have been coming out of the woodwork to pray for me. People coming and telling me the Lord has placed me on their hearts to pray. I don't fully understand it, but I do appreciate it. I have even had a woman who has come alongside me and make a commitment to walk with me and pray for me for the next 6 months. It's pretty awesome.

Truthfully, I have this sense much like being in labor. There is strain and discomfort, at time even pain, but also an overwhelming sense of anticipation. I am hopeful that something good lies ahead. He's told me to strive... I hear it now like the voice of a labor coach, "breathe." At some point perhaps, He will speak the word, "push." The question that remains, is what exactly am laboring, striving towards?

I don't know, but I do know that whatever "it" is cannot become the focus, because "it" isn't what the Lord has called me to strive after, it isn't what He has called me to seek. It's Him, that's what I need to labor towards, and whatever He chooses to bring forth from that is the bonus to finding more of Him.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:8-10

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
Deuteronomy 4:29-31

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

1 comment:

Roni said...

Hi Diana,
I found you via Heidi Hunt's FB page.:) I'm new to blogging myself and still learning, but I just wanted to say I read your latest post and I so related to your feelings about striving. I look forward to reading your archive of posts when I have a little more time. I have a feeling, there is wisdom to be found here...

Roni