I’m sitting in the first coffee shop of the day. Writing what may very well be another pointless blog post that maybe four people read. Drinking my Americano, today with a bit of cream in it (shocker, I know), and successfully avoiding conversation with my earphones, which are also making my ears happy with music.
It’s a Wednesday morning. 10:07 am to be exact.
I’m sitting at the window looking out at the snow falling and the cars passing. The two-tone buildings, half brick, half blue-grey painted wood paneling, and other variations of such, stare back at me. It’s a still morning, if you don’t count all the people out doing errands, winter sports, or working, etc. Ok, so it isn’t a still morning, but I’m pretending it is.
I certainly feel like it’s still. I drove about 25-35 min from my house to get here. Taking back-roads and scenic routes more so for the sake of my soul than for speed or avoiding traffic. I have the whole day free and no plans but coffee and writing and maybe some Netflix, so hurrying is a word I’m leaving out of my vocabulary today.
My gas tank is mostly full, but I’m trying to make it last a week or two (I doubt it’ll happen) and my bank account is just full enough to pay rent. I put my passport in my purse, just in case, for some odd reason, I found myself in an emergency where I needed it. That’s what kind of logic my brain was working with this morning.
I think it’s interesting how my brain works, and also rather terrifying sometimes. Am I the only one who just wants a break from themselves for a day or two? I’m just a little too much for myself sometimes.
But I digress.
The last couple of years Jesus has been teaching me to be ready and willing to go wherever and whenever He calls me, no matter what.
I find the moment I have nothing to do, no distractions, no responsibilities or obligations, I’m longing to run away. My flight instinct is apparently functioning very well. Not 100% sure that’s a thing I like, although it is nice considering my desire to travel.
I’m always willing to stay and fight. To stay and deal with difficult things because running away is just avoiding them, not fixing them. And then I get to this place where it seems pointless to stay any longer. I don’t see progress or growth in my life or in my relationships, and I lose my purpose, I lose my resolve and hope and joy. And the phrase that repeats over and over in my head is “I just want to go home.”
And there in lies the rub.
Where is home, Natalie? Where? Because you love Montana, even though it’s hard for you right now. This feels more like home to you than most places ever have. California? No, you miss it, but you don’t want to go back there. It holds a special place in your heart, and you’ll visit soon, but it isn’t home. You’re still grieving Vital Cross, which was the most home to you anywhere’s ever been. So home and church are going to be hard things.
So where is home?
You know the answer. You know, that no matter where you go on earth, you’re never going to feel completely at home.
Because you aren’t.
You weren’t made for this world. You were made for Jesus. For heaven. To be completely united with Him for eternity.
BUT I CANT GO THERE NOW. I CAN’T GO HOME.
That’s been the hardest thing for me lately. I just want to go home to heaven. I’m exceedingly tired of this world. I’m exhausted of being here, even knowing it’s temporary.
It’s also the biggest source of comfort for me. I have the Holy Spirit inside me. I am already completely united with God. My eternity started the second I believed. Everywhere I go, He is also, which means I am home anywhere I go.
Some days that makes me a little less homesick.
Some days it doesn’t.
Knowing you were made for a different place but are stuck in a broken world is one of the most difficult things, even when you know with Jesus with you aleays, you have everything you need.
Lately, I’ve been very depressed. Depression is something I’ve struggled with most of my life, but I don’t typically talk about it. I’m sure some of it is hereditary and chemical. And some of it is probably spiritual attack. If I’m honest, I’ve thought many times about suicide, and what’s kept me from it are several different things. First, I could never do that to the people I love, no matter how much I believe they’d be better off without me. Second, all the ways of killing myself I can think of sound very unpleasant and I know I could never do it. Thirdly, that’s not the way I want to go home.
I want to go home when Jesus calls me there. Like a loving parent calling out the front door “Honey, it’s time for dinner, com inside!” I want to be beckoned home. I want to be having such a grand time sharing my life and love with the people I’m around that I didn’t even notice the day was dwindling. I want to be so lost in Jesus and loving people like He loves that this world passes by like breath in the cold. I want to endure all the pain that comes with loving because the joy in that mourning is more precious and pertinent than protecting myself from the pain.
About once a week, sometimes once a day, I want to give up. I want to stop loving people. To stop believing the best of them, and spurring them on towards it. I want to say, “I’m not worth it, I’m just gonna hurt you, I’m not gonna love you well enough.” etc, and back away; run away, relationally & physically. Almost immediately, and sometimes a little while longer, after, I am reminded that love is worth it. That Jesus suffered to love us perfectly, so why would I ever be able to love without experiencing great suffering and sorrow in the process? Suffering and sorrow that I guarantee is but a fraction of what Jesus endured for my sake.
Let me tell you a secret. I care about absolutely nothing else like I care about loving people and seeing them grow and prosper.
That’s all I want out of life.
I just want to be a shoulder to cry on, an arm to support, a hand to caress, and a presence to encourage. I want to be a partner in someone’s adventure, not to adventure alone. I want to love, unconditionally, everyone I encounter. Because I know Jesus has given me a gift to love that way, and that He provides the endurance as well as the love. Because God knows I suck at it on my own.
All my life I’ve struggled with the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up? What career do you want?” Because I’ve never been so passionate about anything as I am about Jesus and loving people the way he does. Because I just want to love people. I don’t really care about making money. I actually hate it, even though I know its necessary.
And although all I want to do is love people, I find myself increasingly aware of how completely inadequate I am for that job. As I mentioned earlier – I’m still grieving Vital Cross. And unfortunately, that seeps into every aspect of my life and every relationship I have (your patience with me is appreciated more than you know). It makes my flight response stronger. Trusting is harder than it already was; investing is harder; loving is harder. I SUCK at loving. Hence wanting to give up ALL THE TIME. The more I love, that more difficult it becomes for me. And the more I am resolved to keep loving them, because I wont let my grief and flight-response win. And I guess that’s the beauty of it. I am insufficient. But Jesus is all-sufficient. So when He can love via someone as inadequate as I am, His all-surpassing glory is undeniable. I’m continually being emptied of my ability to love so that I can rely on Him as the source of it. I “just want to go home” so I will continue to run back to Him. To seek Him more, and find Him more, and to rest there.
And He has given me such a capacity to love, that he is expanding all the time, and he has also made me difficult to love. I’m REALLY messed up – I wont go into it, you’ll just have to believe me. I have the HARDEST time accepting love from others, because I don’t feel worthy of it. I don’t think I’m worth it. I don’t even like myself, so why would I expect anyone else to? And I inevitably start to push the people who love me most away. I’m afraid one day they’ll wake up and realize I’m not worth it and leave. And I’m not alone in those thoughts. Pretty sure we all have them and they all stem from different things we’ve gone through in life. But when someone else tells me they think that, all I can think is “You are SO worth it. I love you no matter what.” And it’s true. I’ve fallen in love with strangers on the street I’ve seen for two seconds of my life so deeply that I’d die for them in a heartbeat. And I think its important to point out that sometimes love is truer and stronger from a distance than it ever could be up-close. Sometimes love is tough on you on purpose.
I’m the feel-iest of feelers. And I struggle with letting my feelings get in the way of the truth.
C.S. Lewis reminds us in Mere Christianity that faith is a muscle you must exercise, despite your feelings. He puts it this way:
“Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against you real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.”
I admit, I am, more often than not, the creature whose ‘beliefs are really dependent on the weather and the state of it’s digestion.’ However, I know my faith is every-day being trained and my spiritual muscle memory will be strengthened enough to silence any lie I am tempted to believe.
And while I’m sure we all have self-doubt and dislike, and sometimes even self-loathing, I am also sure that for most of us, we do not constantly live in conscious hate and destruction of ourselves. And we chose to eat, and to sleep, and to come up for air when we swim, and to put on an extra layer when it’s cold outside, because when it comes down to it, we do know we are worth it, even when we don’t want to believe it. The unconscious hope and faith is there, and it’s almost better than the fleeting conscious hope and faith that seems to be so average in our day-to-day.
I’ve found immense importance of memorizing scripture for this exact purpose. Cling to the truth in the darkest of times AND the best of them.
I am home – always.
I’m worth it and so are you.
I’m not alone.
It’s ok to not be ok.
Pain isn’t always a bad thing.
Joy comes in the mourning.
Love is worth all costs.
Hope is not lost.
And one day I will be beckoned home for good.
I’m getting ready to pack up and leave my first coffee stop of the day. It’s snowing harder, I’m a little more awake. A little more anxious, which could be the fact I’ve had more coffee than food today, or just could because anxiety is unfortunately rather common in my life. I’m putting my ceramic mug that is now left with just a little bit of grounds in the bottom in the bus tub, and smiling at the strangers I pass along the way. I pack up my things, hoping that this blog post, as potentially uninteresting, repetitive, and annoying as you may have found it, spoke to you in some way, shape, or form. And if you got absolutely nothing from it, than please forget about it. I’d rather it cause you nothing than harm. I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote recently, as I head to the next coffee stop of the day. If you’ve lasted through this whole post, thanks for reading. Here’s that poem if you care to read it: