I told God I needed something good. I told God that I had started to expect that it would all be hard. In response, He took a long sip of his coffee, smiled, & replied, “I dare you to question why that is, love. I’ll wait.”
God & I have this really great part to our relationship where He constantly pulls me out of my comfort zone & then lets me figure out why, &, instead of focusing my attention towards why I am wherever He’s brought me, I spend my time asking God why He is the way He is. & that, my friends, is incredibly counterproductive.
This past Tuesday, I walked over to the Wesley house for college ministry, knowing very well I was walking into something they called, “Night of Prayer.” What I failed to recognize, though, is how desperately my heart needed it. As the acoustic guitar played a song I’ll never recall in the background, I folded down into the position I have recently found most expressive of my constantly vulnerable state- on my knees. I felt God as I always do when I open my heart to talk. It makes me smile to think of Him sitting across from me with a look that says “I know already, but hit me with it.” So, I started talking, &, as I did, I realized that my heart was, well, exhausted. I realized that it has been about seven months since I have not felt completely vulnerable in life, & that is a long time to go about feeling this way. So, in an attempt, I suppose, to combat falling completely victim to Einstein’s definition of insanity, I told God I had grown incredibly worn of being vulnerable. I had become unable to find rest, & that, at this point, I had come to expect every next step for me to be really really hard. I reminded him of the denial e-mail, of Trent, of the gut-wrenching homesickness, of the constant distance (as if He didn’t already know- as if He hasn’t already started redeeming each & every one). For the past while, I’ve felt like I have been trying to run up the center of a river flowing the opposite way, & seeing as it only takes two weeks for something to become a habit, I just kept trying to run, all the while exhausting myself.
I’ve never known God to leave me hanging. But He’s also never been the type to just offer up the answer without first asking me to grow. So, as I began to crumple over the overwhelming realization of the current state of my heart, I imagine, if God & I were at coffee (Because this is just the sort of heart stuff to pour out over a great cappuccino.), this would be the moment that God takes a long sip of his coffee & pauses before meeting my eyes with a grin, & saying, “I dare you to question why that is, love. I’ll wait.” He’s grinning because He knows just how beautiful this is all going to end up.
Every part of the person that I am fights against vulnerability. Vulnerability isn’t fun for me. I was in Swaziland when I first realized that God had been molding my already-malleable heart. Since then, I’ve been noticing just how protected I’ve been of my heart. I realized it had become habitual that I didn’t willingly offer an abundance of information concerning the matters of my heart with anyone. My inner-struggles, my personal victories were just that- mine. In the past months, God has allowed me to fall in love in an abundance of ways. But being in love with people means being offering your heart out for them & asking them, in return, to be accepting & loving with it. In the past months, God has given me not one but three new places to call home. But making a place your home means leaving a part of your heart right there & missing it when you can’t be close. In the past months, God has opened doors that I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking for. But reaching for your dreams means total reliance on God in a new place where you’re walking in blind.
I don’t have an answer for this one yet. But the first step is noticing. Understanding comes later. So, until I begin to find the budding fruits of my vulnerability, I’ll sit across from my creator, staring at the lipstick stain on the mug of my cappuccino, trying to think of what to ask next in the constant conversation between God & me. Because it’s never a question of who He is. It’s always the question of who he is equipping me to become.