Sunday, June 25, 2017


Just about a year ago, Bianca Olthoff released the book Playing With Fire. I pre-ordered it, started it, and put it down. Sometimes I think God distracts us from something He knows we need but aren't quite ready for yet.

This book is primarily about a desert season Bianca went through in her mid-twenties. She compares her situation to that of the Israelites wandering in the desert and crying out to God in desperation. This analogy has given me some significant glimpses into what my life has been like for the past several years with my refusal to cry out, leaving me with an inability to cry. I've been in the dryest desert season of my life and didn't know to label it as such, or where to turn for answers.

One point that I read today was incredibly indicative of my personality. She wrote: "While I was trying desperately to keep my life together, the idea of confessing my needs aloud or asking for help was humiliating....I had never wanted to be in a position where I needed assistance; I never wanted to be vulnerable again." (emphasis mine) Needless to say, that got underlined.

In the past three months I have learned an incredibly valuable lesson. The more we keep bottled up, the more power it has over us. Why? Because unless we confront the source from which our disordered thoughts and perceptions originate, we have absolutely no hope of disproving the lies we are accepting as truth. Let that sink in for a minute.

Way back when this all started, I took what God meant for good and an opportunity to grow my faith, and turned it into something ugly. I allowed past wounds to be the filter I used to assess the situation, and rather than take it all to God and allow Him to help me process it, I repressed it, ignored it, and allowed it to create some destructive behavioral patterns that I am currently working through. (FYI, you should not use your workouts to process your emotions or deal with your stress or insecurities. If you do, they become an idol and that's never a good thing.)

But a few months ago I reached a breaking point. Knowing I couldn't continue with the negative thoughts that plagued my mind or what seemed like an unusually high number of emotional triggers, I faced it head on, expressed my thoughts and feelings witth extreme vulnerability, and left it all in God's hands as to what would be the outcome. Only one of two things were possible. Either (a) my voice would be heard and I would find out the truth was something other than what I had been believing or (b) my voice would not be heard and I would likely spiral completely out of control. Not only did the first one happen, but that very week God healed parts of my heart that I couldn't even describe now because there were too many to count.

And here's what I realized. When we expose our deepest fears to the light and allow that light to let us see what God sees, healing occurs. Things that we are afraid of continue to generate fear until we bring them out of the corners and shadows releasing their power over us. My insatiable quest to never be vulnerable was also pushing against the vulnerability God needed in order to work in my life. He won't force His way on us because He wants us to get to the point that without Him, we understand that we can't do anything.

Am I still in the desert? Yes. Do I think full deliverance is coming? Definitely. Am I willing to start praying relentlessly for the tears to fall? Absolutely. I have a lot of tears that haven't fallen in the past 6 years from moments of extreme sadness and incredible joy. But as Bianca wrote, "If you find yourself in the wilderness, realize that though you may not feel like it at the moment, you are in the very place where true worship can happen. Like the Israelites, you are on the edge of a very promising place."

Father, I can not thank you enough for your unbelievable patience. You have been with me this entire time, whether I could recognize and acknowledge your presence or not. Help us all learn how to cry out to you first and foremost. Our tears and laments will never make us weak in your eyes, because from the beginning, you have always wanted us to depend on you alone. We thank you for the desert seasons that show us how to worship and trust you for everything. We love you. Amen.

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