emilynisch

What it Means to Cry Out.

In Christianity, Life on July 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I’m not sure I’m ready to write about this yet. It’s something close to me right now; I’m still in the midst of it. We’ll see if writing about it is part of the journey.

Sunday as I listened to the sermon I noticed there was a sermon commentator behind me – someone who was listening to the sermon, agreeing out loud with it, and anticipating the answers, and saying them out loud too. To me this was distracting. One thing this sermon commentator said stuck out to me, though. I don’t remember what the pastor was saying (funny) but my commentator said (in anticipation of his next point), “Cry out.”

I always find this phrase a bit trite. I’m not sure what it really means; I’ve heard it used in many different ways, frequently by people that I suspect also don’t know what it means. So, I got a little annoyed and tried to block out the commentator.

But apparently this commentator was part of God’s bigger plan.

Later I met with a friend to discuss something particular that’s going on in my life. This thing has been difficult, and I’ve tried to tackle it in a multitude of ways – none of which have provided and ultimate answer or solution. I had started to feel like I’d run out of paths to try. Among other things, my friend brought me a picture from God. I won’t share it here, but the meaning of it was this: I needed to drop my bucket deep down into the well in order to find more water. Sorry if that sounds kind of vague, but take a minute to pause: what does that image call to your mind?

As I talked more with my friend, I started to see (and she frankly and helpfully told me) that I needed to let myself need. As my understanding of this developed, it became clearer that I like to take care of myself. Well, maybe I don’t like it, but it’s what I’m used to doing; it’s a survival mechanism I developed growing up when Jesus wasn’t real for me. Because I didn’t feel cared for or taken care of, I decided I would take care of myself, protect myself from hurt and learn to be “ok.”

But God wants more than ok. He’s bigger and better than this world. His thoughts are higher than ours, and we cannot even imagine the good things he has planned for us.

What I’ve realized is that before God can give me these good, big things (some internal and some external) I have to learn that my ways of getting water on my own aren’t good enough. I can dip into a shallow pool, but that’s not going to last me – especially as God grows me to desire more of him in my life.

Something else I’ve learned in this process is that God has made me with certain desire. If I give up, or settle for something less, I won’t be satisfied. Part of dropping the bucket is asking him for those things, and letting him know I’m not satisfied with what I have now. And really, this is asking him to bring more of himself into the world, in a deep, true, big and powerful way. It’s like the light bursting through hazy, muddy clouds; it’s like Jesus being born and coming into the world.

I have to be brave to ask for these things, because to ask I have to admit that I’m not satisfied with where things are now. It means admitting that my life now isn’t where it should be, or will be; it isn’t where I want to end up. It also takes confidence to acknowledge these desires I have for more, to believe that they are good and valuable. It takes a belief in my own value to ask for more, to ask for the things that I desire, and to know that they are good (having put them to the test and ending the negative part of the process there).

Lowering the bucket means that I don’t have what it takes. I am powerless. I am powerless to attain these things God’s given me a desire to attain. Funny isn’t it? Like Jacob I contend for God’s blessing and find that he wrestles me ’til daybreak, beats me, and blesses me anyway, just because he chooses to. I can struggle and fight until I’ve reached the end of my rope, and I think good actually comes out of this. It tests me, and grows my muscles and teaches me how strong I am. But all of my hope in myself fails in the process. And that’s good.

Right now I feel emptier than I ever have, and that’s good. I feel fuller in myself that I ever have. I think I’m learning the distinction and dividing line between God and myself – and who’s actually ultimately in control.

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