"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Directionally Challenged

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It's been a joke in our family for years.  We laugh in agreement at the facts of the case... I am, indeed, "directionally challenged".   Regularly, my husband painfully and patiently explains the route, yet again...   Yes, I have been there many times.  But, no, I can't remember how to get there this time. Directions.  A great challenge;  extreme and laughable.  They joke that if someone set me down in the middle of my small town, I may have trouble finding my way home.  I'm not sure I am that bad. But, maybe.

That is why Monday was so remarkable.

My daughter and I were headed out to a new part of the nearest city.  Headed to a funeral, I was responsible to drive us there.  This type of scenario is a typical, big time "stress-trigger" for me. A general, low level anxiety and insecurity is commonly triggered by the unknown.  New things do this to me.  Can I do this?  Can I handle it?  A new place.  New directions.  New situation (I have never been to a funeral in this culture).  New people.  This has always been a recipe for overwhelmed, anxious, and/or afraid.  But, Monday was different--- markedly and remarkably different.

Something had changed and both my daughter and I noted it.  I just wasn't concerned or worried.  I could certainly feel the tension and reality of not knowing where I was going... and the newness.  But, that is all it was--- slight "normal" tension.  It just wasn't anxiety.  I didn't feel upset or uneasy.  I was calm.  I had the sense that we would make our way with no problem and all would be fine.  This, I know, is the way a lot of people simply live their life.  My husband walks through life with this foundational security. It is beautiful and admirable.  But, it has not been me.

Something had changed.  I believe there are profound moments in our God-journey where we can "see" proof from years of prayer and walking with Jesus.  Monday was that day!

Worry, calculation and 'overwhelmed' have been a constant companions these 40+ years; walking with me, since before I can remember.  I cope.  Sometimes I cope really well.  And, have learned many tricks and tactics--- most people don't have a clue my internal reality.  (Isn't this true for most of us?)  In 2009, I wrote a blog post entitled "What if I just stopped"---questioning and challenging this worrying bend in myself.

In fact, for as long as I have known Jesus, I have been bringing Him these worries... this overwhelmed "natural" tendency.  He has spoken for years, through a variety of ways, about this issue*.   Certainly, by His grace, there has been slow growth.  We have talked together about why I have this... from family of origin, personality to sin habits, God and I have been conversing and looking and digging.  And, I have been asking...

Suddenly, I was seeing something new.  Something miraculous had shifted in me.

His Word tells me that He is completing His good work in me and creating in me a clean heart---  I think I saw a beautiful piece of His work on Monday.  I didn't really DO anything to produce this difference.  ...just time, trust, leaning in, looking, confessing, and the silent, deep work of the Spirit.  "In the silence of the heart, You speak", Audrey Assad sings.  "You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos...  You said be free... in the work of the Spirit---I cannot see".

He has spoken.  "Un-seeable" work done by this quiet Spirit.  Yet again, I am changed.  He has done it.  The unseen becomes visible.

Mom, your are not anxious and not worried.  You aren't questioning yourself.  You just seem calm. These were my daughter's words.  And, I was!

One of the most interesting moments in the day, though, came when I had to make my way home after the funeral.  Miraculously, I did so without any map, or directions.  For the first time in my entire life, I didn't feel directionally challenged.  We just made our way.  What!?  Was it the freedom in my physical brain to just work properly now without anxiety and worry to cloud and confuse? Was this also a part of the gift, the Spirit's change and work?

Laughingly, I tell my family, if I am no longer directionally challenged... what in the world will they tease me for next!

...Plenty other issues to choose from---to be sure--- no worries there.  (smile)

*a myriad of other blog posts on worry...
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