A week full of moments like this: I am standing in line for a roller coaster, inching forward, telling myself the moment I step onto the vehicle is a faraway one, not something to consider. I am enjoying where I am, the sights and smells and the heat of the air around me. I am laughing with my friends as we wait, but we know we’re in line for something big. Something wonderful, oh yes; something stomach-flipping, absolutely. It’s been a summer-long roller coaster queue, actually, ever drawing closer to stepping on, and the name of the ride, my friends, is called Change.
I know that there are many, many facets that pile on top of one another and cause me to shirk away from the big, bad monster of change: my personality, my childhood, my fondness for doing things well (new things aren’t necessarily things I can do well, you know?) In short (HA!), I’ve spent the past several years shaking in my boots as I climb onto the coaster again and again, reminding myself of the promise of adventure, reminding myself that the very essence of adventure is the exhilaration of new, not the familiarity of I’ve-got-this. Actually, I’ve spent the past several years learning again and again that I’ve never got this, but that this works to my advantage, in more ways than I know. As I get closer to His heart, I find myself opening my eyes in the morning to a great big God who leans down and whispers in my ear: “Ready? Let’s go. I got this.”
“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.'”
But lately it seems like more things have been different than have been the same. First they slowly shifted, and I stood my ground. Then all at once, as if I’d walked into a house with a bucketful of water hanging over the door frame, I was drenched in it. “I can’t do it,” I murmured. I noticed that the world insisted, “Yes, you can!” But the still, small voice—the one that seems louder and louder everyday—said, “You’re right.” Slowly, softly, I begin to learn surrender again. Slowly, surely, my fears fade. I look around and realize I’ve been on solid ground the whole time.
“He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.” –Psalm 40:2-3
So this week—this summer, and inevitably, in the months to come—have been a seemingly constant flow of this business of change, and of trembling, and of the reclaiming of the strong Spirit. I look ahead, and I begin to shake in my boots. So many unknowns, so many uncertainties, so many foggy days where I can see only the three footsteps ahead, and nothing else. But here’s what else I’m learning: in the Light of the day, there is much joy to be grasped. In the today, there is a dark chocolate brownie to be (metaphorically, but if you want to bake some real ones, that is not frowned upon) eaten. There is the best friend who nods along, who finishes your sentences—even the unpleasant ones—with truth. There is the hand that holds yours while you nap in some buttery August sun, content to simply be. There is the hours-long coffee date where eyes smile back at you and promise, “You are a masterpiece.” There are tiny hands that cup your cheeks, and, with a smile of adoration, kiss your nose. See, sometimes I have write them out here to be able to turn around and see that yes, they are there, and yes, they are brilliant. And more than that, I hope you’re able to turn back to look at the days before this one and you too can point and agree that yes, they are there, and yes, they are brilliant.
At the end of the day—or at the beginning of a new week, or right in the middle of an ice cream sandwich—I am reminded by the same still, steady voice that I have not signed up for the carousel, that I have been in line for the roller coaster all along, that surrender can be tricky, but I should really go ahead and strap myself in for Adventure. I’m not one to be OK with missing the party.
“So I answered, ‘I’m coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I’m coming to the party
you’re throwing for me.'” –Psalm 40:7-8
Perhaps I’m in good company when I admit the boot-shaking; perhaps you’re nodding along, “mmhming,” relieved that you’re not the only one.
Perhaps you bound out of bed every day hoping the UPS guy drops off a big,
scary cool package of Life Changes. Perhaps the idea of eating the same thing for breakfast every day makes you want to gag. Perhaps you would be really comfortable with moving to the moon just for kicks.
Either way, I’d like to have coffee with you. You tell me about your moon dreams, I’ll regale you with my Earth stories. We’re all on this ride together, friends, with the greatest Captain we could imagine. And everything about that takes me from boots-shaking fear to barefoot-dancing joy. What fear?
“But all who are hunting for you—
oh, let them sing and be happy.
Let those who know what you’re all about
tell the world you’re great and not quitting.
And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing:
make something of me.
You can do it; you’ve got what it takes—
but God, don’t put it off.” –Psalm 40:16-17