I was unusually empty and didn’t have the patience to give a funny opening illustration to cut the tension. With scripted notes in my hand and fifty women staring at me, expecting a typical church retreat in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, I paused. And in the space of that silence, I saw the same look in their eyes that I knew was in mine.
What was I going to do--follow the script? I sat in a room full of women who were hurting, doubting, numb, tired, and insecure; and their teacher was feeling all the same things. What was supposed to happen here?
I set down my notes.
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I was struck with the idea that the lot of us may never be in the same room again this side of heaven, and, overwhelmed with the need I saw in front of me, I opened with these words:
“We have a little bit of time together--how about we just get after it? How about we really deal with our sin and hurt? How about we fight to find God here? And then let’s dream about how we display God while we are on earth for a few years.”
And I am almost certain everyone was looking at me, thinking, No, seriously girl, where’s the funny story?
But then something happened. God’s Spirit blew in and, with their eyes cutting across the room, hoping maybe it was safe enough, the women slowly let words fall out.
“I honestly don’t care about God.”“I don’t think God cares about me.”“I am afraid what people will think.”“I want a comfortable life.”“My spouse won’t be on board.”“I think I will fail.”“I have nothing to give God.”“I don’t think my life even matters this much.”
Then, with all the mess of it pooling on the floor of our cabin, I looked around the room and saw a hint of something--a little sparkle, possible hope in their eyes.
Maybe this isn’t life, I thought. These thoughts can’t be from God.
The worries that had consumed each person moments before all of a sudden looked miserably ridiculous staring back at them. The realization needed no words to help form it. We were faced with a simple, striking image: strong, resourced, rescued people, full of God, going through life completely shut down by lies and fear.
Could it be possible there is more to life than this?
We were all certain that there was, and with all the chains on the floor, we could almost taste what we had been missing. We were about to remember what running with abandon felt like, what purpose felt like, what dreaming felt like, what freedom felt like.
Do you need to remember that there is more? How to run freely? What purpose feels like? What freedom feels like?
Some of us have decorated our prison walls so beautifully that we have altogether forgotten we are sitting in a cell, wasting our lives. We don’t know there are chains that, though they no longer bind us, still seem to tangle us up. We sit and listen to talks or read books about God, and we wonder why nothing changes when we so desperately want it to.
I want to invite you to join me for a 4-week study on the book of Daniel called Humble and Bold: How to Love God in a World that Doesn’t. We’re gonna meet each other right where we are and dig into God’s Truth together. I have a free workbook for you to use as your guide through the study. You can grab it here! We’ll get started on Sunday, August 7th at 9pm EST on my Facebook page (using Facebook Live). Plan to tune in from wherever you are, or grab a few friends and do this together. Let’s throw off fear and plant our feet in the unshakeable truth of our God.
You can read more on this post in my book, Restless: Because You Were Made for More. You can find a copy here!