The other day a friend posted a quote from T.D. Jakes, that went “Whatever youve drawn closest to you will grow in your life. Be sure you’re nurturing what you want to grow and starving what you want to die.” When I read it, it just hit me hard. Couldn’t get the quote off my mind. I prayed about it, I thought about it. I’m not sure why, but I just couldn’t grasp my thought around it. I was like I don’t want to starve anything and make it die. Then the next day I saw this picture above. As I said I’ve seen the stillness of beautiful sunrises in the last week, and yesterday I saw a storm. In it I heard “Don’t be afraid”. As I watched the storm I thought about the disciples as they were in the storm and they saw Jesus walk on water. He told them not to be afraid. That is was Him. When I saw the picture above. It was one of those moments! Epiphany, I started thinking of my thoughts and how many of them are fear based. I have been thinking about fear a good bit, and also thinking of that voice, saying Don’t be afraid. I’ve been thinking of fearful distance, and fearful closeness. How some of us run away when we are scared, and how some of us cling to others when we are afraid. I talked about this to a friend and she brought up something really interesting about the Disciples of Jesus, that after Jesus was arrested from Matthew 26:56, they deserted him and ran away and that after He was crucified, that they all huddled together clinging to one another in fear of the Jews. Says that in John 20:19.
Safe distance, safe closeness. The last few days keep getting filled with so much beauty. Yesterday, I was heading for an interview, and feeling nervous and fearful. I’m not sure why. Just was. I made it through it, then afterwards I sat on the riverbanks of the St. John’s and watched the most amazing storm. I think I’m getting closer to writing what I’ve been feeling than yesterday, but don’t want to overthink. Anyway here’s one of the pictures I took yesterday watching the storm. I’m not making any claims to be any less fearful, but I am trying to ask myself, if something I’m thinking is fear based, and trying my best to just give that thought as much love, so maybe I can starve any fear! Fear is something I would love to starve in my life.
A lot been going on the last few days! From beautiful still sunrises like this one from Saturday, to storms. Through it all I feel I’m asking for the Lord to show me the way. Day by day I’m searching. So much has been on my mind. Seems I’m searching so to find who I am to become. Guess it’s a daily ride that I take. I know I’m still very divided, I spend my quiet times with God, and I feel the gentle voice of the Lord speaking to me some days, but some days I want to just follow my own desires. Still trying to listen to the quiet voice, and not some of the other voices. Not really voices, yes I was a psychology major. But I mean listening to the Spirit, and not my own selfish wants and needs. I don’t even know that I can write of all I’m feeling. May have to try another day. But it’s about choosing love over fear. Feeding your Faith, and starving your fears.
I’ve been writing about my heart. Tonight I”m thinking about looking to God in my heart. I’ve been thinking about my prayer life. What it is, how I pray, how often. Learning prayers, and prayerfulness. I sometimes recite prayers from memory over and over. The Lord’s Prayer, “Jesus Prayer” is my favorite lately. Jesus have mercy on me a sinner. Pray without ceasing is something that has been on my mind from time to time lately. I was able to share with a friend about it. What does that mean? How can we live life, with its many demands and obligations, as an uniterupted prayer? Today I have found myself there. Crying out to God. The solitude I found today was my church. I have a key to it, it’s been raining steady for three days. Although it has been a wonderful three days, and I’ve found much solitude. I’ve been finding me again, the things that make me feel happy, the things I promised myself I wouldn’t lose in myself. Seems many times in relationships, sometimes we lose little pieces of ourself. It is not a conscience choice. Sometimes I think it just happens gradually over time. For me I think I try to do and be everything I think someone wants me to be, and lose a little bit of that wonderful me that I already am. Beloved by God. Sometimes there is so much fear and agony in us. Fear of people, fear of God, and with me just a lot of anxiety sometimes. I wonder if fear is not our main obstacle in prayer. Today I lit a candle, turned on the light of our big cross and just cried out to Him. I said Lord I think of how I just want to be loved and how sometimes I keep a little corner of my inner life for me. God do I hide it from you too. I don’t want to . I know you know all my thoughts. So I bring these thoughts to you as well. Sometimes I am stingy, sometimes the things in my mind and heart are hateful thoughts, sometimes I have bizarre dreams. None of those things I can hide from you. I bring it all to you God. I don’t even want to hide my shameful thoughts from you. I know I’ve been working through much with you. Even worries, resentments, and disturbing thoughts we don’t wish to share with anyone. Sometimes I don’t even want to share them with you. But I did. Then I listened. And I listened, and I listened. I prayed that I wanted to love like my brother Jesus. Then I felt this love not only within my heart, but like I felt the Lord behind me as I knelt in front of the cross. I am thankful for this time, and how my prayerlife has been changing. A friend gave me a plaque that said Faith on it. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1. I am thankful for that. Faith is what is important in prayer. I’m praying now that I keep this discipline in my daily life. I used to think I was supposed to be Vulnerable with others. But I think it’s to God is where we are to appear vulnerable in the light of our presence, with Jesus in our heart, confident in His mercy and He is always willing to listen to me at all times and places.
Yesterday I wrote Who, today I”m asking Who am I. Seems this has always been a common question for me. Today has been a good day. Raining, pouring from the time I got up, it actually started around 3:00 this morning, and hasn’t let up since. So I got up had a wonderful morning in my quiet time. I think of the eyes of people that have been close to me- I think of the eyes I look at in the morning in the mirror. Think of those running away from something, some running, some hiding. I see that in my own eyes at times. I looked at eyes of strangers today, more today than most days. Some smiled back, some turned quickly. I think about how God sees us? Seems vision has been a theme for me today. My little niece Autumn went to the eye doctor today. She had to get glasses. I enjoyed talking to her and my mom on facetime. So strange what we see. When I saw her, I saw how much she has grown since I’ve seen her last. Last night we watched “The Bible” again at bible studay. We watched where Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. They didn’t show it in the movie, but when he was baptized the heavens were opened up, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased’” from Luke 3:21022. I think at this moment Jesus really knew who he really was in a deep deep way. I think of the day when I was saved. I think it was one of the only times I remember my dad telling me how proud he was of me.
I’ve been thinking of one of the voices I listen to. One that says “You are the Beloved of God! I have listened for that voice today. I have to be honest, it didn’t start that way this morning. I woke with a voice of doubt trying to hit hard. Telling me I was far from beloved. But I decided to tell that voice, nope! I am beloved of God. It has been a beautiful day. Lots of prayer! Answers too! I love this song above from Casting Crowns.
I have awoken the last two mornings from dreams early, both mornings I realized they meant something, I tried to get up and write them down, as I started to try and figure out what they meant before I fell back to sleep, and today and yesterday. I woke back up and couldn’t remember the dreams. But this morning in my quiet time I think about what I wrote yesterday. Looking again for a mentor. Answers can’t be found outside of ourselves. Sometimes I get lonely, I think I was writing that out of loneliness last night. I’m asking, waiting, and listening. In my listening today, something just says be patient. I look back at my life and sometimes I crave people (Mentor) in hope that another will bring me answers. Last night I wanted a mentor as I was speaking of Solitude. Yes I know I probably sound a little restless looking for answers. Sometimes I am, and I sure don’t claim not to be. It’s funny, I do have mentors. One is my Pastor, it’s funny some times I just go to her to talk about what I’m feeling. Today I feel full. I went to see her, but she had someone there that she was already meeting with. So I was left with my main mentor. God in Solitude. There is much that is unsolved in my heart. I’m trying to let go of much, and one thing is also trying to let go of answers which cannot be given. Many times I ask for answers to other people’s heart. But I guess it’s only my own heart that I need to try and figure out. I hope they come gradually, almost like I’m not even noticing. Oh well just thought I’d write early today. I’m off to listen! Funny right as I wrote that, memory of my dream just came to me. Guess I’ll go ahead and write it down now, as it just popped in my head, and then I’ll try and figure it out more. Funny, I was a little boy in my dream again. I would say in about 80% of dreams, I’ve always dreamed of Little Derek. When I was little my mom used to see a painting, and she would tell me to tell her a story. I’m not sure if she was trying to help me be creative, or that I was just creative, and she liked hearing my stories. Well I was with her in a place that reminded me of the High Museum in Atlanta. She was there, and we were going through and asking me to tell her stories about the pictures. I was telling her stories. We walked into a white white room, everything was white. There was a man there, with a blank white Palette. Then he asked me to look at his white canvas and tell me a story. Colors came from every direction! The man started to paint with them. I played in all the colors, carefree as I was when I was a child. Then I saw the picture, and with great excitement. I saw something beautiful on the canvas. I can’t really tell you what it was. It had color, and light, and darkness in it. I asked how did he know it was there. He said you told me. I can’t tell you what was on the canvas, I can only describe it.
I’m sitting here trying hard to remember what was on the canvas, maybe because it is the one hidden thing. Going to go sit with it now. Funny how dreams work that way.
I wrote about the door that I was about to open the other day. Well I opened it, and yep, there’s 100′s of other closed doors on the other side. Guess that’s part of our journey’s too. Guess the first door I opened up is the door to my heart. Seems lately I’m trying to find that again, the things that make me happy. The things that make me real. Lots of questions. I see others embarking on spirit journey’s, and I guess in my own way I’m on mine as well. I’m on a quest for spiritual direction. Trying to figue out who I am, where I come from, and where I’m going I guess. Thinking a lot about prayer, and who God is for me, and trying to figure out where I belong again. Not that I ever stopped. Sometimes I guess it’s a journey we take all the days of our lives. I am looking within to my heart. I think about this door I am opening. I think how I’ve gone from door to door. 45 years I’ve lived, how long did God’s people wonder in the desert wilderness? 40. I hope I’m listening a little better than I have in the past. Last night, I listened to a sweet friend of mine going through a breakup. So much confusion, so much hurt. I know a little about being in that in betweeness of confusion and hope. I find myself looking many days for Solitude. Some days are much harder to find than others. Does it ever feel like a paradox to anyone else out there? Looking for solitude, but also knowing you can’t just stay cut off from the world and just be with God all the time. It’s like you have to lose to gain. I think of how we cling to our friends, we may lose them. I think of how I made many friends when I wasn’t being possesive. These are lessons for me. Those things we seek sometimes so much or desire, but it often vanishes as soon as we get it. I’m looking for God, is He looking for me as well? I think a little more about that dream I had. Sometimes I write, like today, like I’m trying to figure out something. I’ve prayed, I’ve been still, but yet here I am, trying to figure something out. Guess I’m just trying to figure which door to open next. Sometimes in all this solitude. Another mentor would be nice as well. Somethings saying to me then find that mentor if you want it. :) Believe it! Have faith! I took this picture at one of the downtown Jacksonville old churches a while back. I love old stained glass in church’es.