Isn't it funny how at certain points in your life, you sense that God is slowly pulling something out of you that is poisonous and untrue, and you form this idea in your head of how that process is going to go and what it's going to end up like; and then a while later, while you're frustratingly in the throes of something really truly difficult, you realize it's the same rope He was pulling before and what you're experiencing is His actual plan of action, not your own?
This happens to me a lot. And it certainly has in the last three months or so. At the beginning of the semester, I remember talking with the friend whom I disciple, and we were sharing our lives and I was telling her about what I thought God was going to work on in my life this semester. They were things I could feel Him pressing on. She asked me if I was nervous, knowing that this might be a painful process. With a smile, I shook my head and said no, that I was ready and excited. These are things that have plagued my peace and threatened my joy for as long as I can remember, things that He has gradually been healing throughout the past three years. I was- I still am- ready for freedom.
One of these things was anxiety, and I think another one might have been self-image issues. I was just flipping through my journal to see if I could find a time when I wrote about it, but I couldn't. I'll have to rely on my memory. When I was thinking about these things at the beginning of the semester, and being free from them, it all seemed so straightforward. God would just tackle anxiety as a whole and help me to stop being anxious in the knowledge that He cares and is in control. All of this is true, but I'm finding that this isn't the way God works.
Sometimes He kind of slips in through the back door. I think I'm not really handling anything, and I've forgotten what He told me two months ago, and then one conversation with my best friend (below) happens and it hits me. All these random feelings, experiences, chats, and thoughts recently- He has aligned them to show me what He really wants to heal. And isn't it so strange how the back-door way in which He heals that bigger issue is so incredibly more difficult to cope with than the way I'd envisioned it not too long ago? So classic. Still He's not surprised. Praise to that.
So what is He really working on right now…? Freedom for my mind. Freedom from obsession and comparison and self-hatred that I daily let slide as if it's nothing. And yet, it's everything. It takes up too many of my thoughts and too much of my mental energy. It's causing lines between my eyebrows and hatred in my heart. It brings no laughter, no peace, no life. And as I pull out and squint to see the big picture, I see that the restoration of this will reduce my anxiety. Is this the way I saw it all happening? Nope. But it's way more beautiful and patient than I could have composed.
want the freedom to eat a muffin at a coffee shop and not feel guilty about it. I want to sit down with a friend and share the glory of a well-made baked good and be able to focus my mind entirely on what she is saying without being distracted by the obsessiveness that forces its way in. I want to walk to school and simply take pleasure in the beauty around me rather than allow my thoughts to swirl in anxiety. Peace of mind and peace of heart. Not self-produced. Not forced. Genuine.
Speaking of muffins. I've got this muffin craze going. Sometimes it's scones or mini cakes, but right now it's muffins. I made these applesauce carrot muffins about a month ago for a road trip to Richmond with several friends. We left early in the morning, so we needed some nourishment along the way. I omitted the ginger and used brown sugar instead of honey because I didn't have enough honey. I also made a mixture of 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of sugar, heated and stirred, and plopped a good amount in the middle of each muffin. Fill each cup halfway with batter, add the cream cheese, and top it off with more batter. I really love it when my muffins sloppily overflow their cups, creating a perfectly imperfect cap on top of the rest of the muffin. When I made these I didn't add enough batter to do that, but you should. For sure.
All that to say… For freedom! Here's to freedom. He's doin stuff all over the place, and even if I don't get the fullness now, that's why He created hope. I'm going to try to embrace this as I speak of life and food. Hold me to it.