Background music in adventure flicks, and any movie or dramatic showcasing, is a tool that the storyteller uses to clue the audience in to what they want you to feel. Have you ever tried to watch a movie without the background music....totally different experience. Most of us don't even notice that a score is playing throughout the movie but we still feel it's effects. Music is a part of God's creation and is certainly a fitting allegory for the mood we approach our lives with. I'm musically inclined and vehemently oppose people who say musicals are dumb because no one ever breaks out into song in real life.....yes I do....and so does my husband....and several relatives and friends. I live life out loud! Or, that's how I see my best self.
I was doing my Bible Studies today and was loving the adventure. I was studying Job and pondering Eph 4:29 ESV
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear"I was thinking about questions and the pursuit of wisdom. About a God who created all things from science to fashion. That nothing is outside of His purview. The Study then took me to James 3:13a NIV.
"Who is wise and understanding among you?"
The verses that follow James 3:13 give a lot to ponder and take note of. Are you catching the journey that God took me on? Do you hear the background music? I hope so, because this is where the music starts to take a subtle change. It's not a big change, just a little one. While pondering all of this, the study challenged me to talk to God about the areas of talent, wisdom, skill and knowledge He entrusted me with. We all know it's easier to see someone else's gifting than it is to see our own. Think about it. What are the areas God has gifted you? It took me a bit and I struggled to write the list. I've mentioned on the blog before that I think of myself as a Jill of all trades which certainly gives me pause when thinking of my talents. The study then directed us to thank God for those areas and then have the courage to ask Him to grow those areas.
This is where the music takes a definite turn in the direction its only been hinting at up until now. The music speeds up the heart with the hint of danger around the next bend. I felt the change as surely as if Indiana Jones was poised to switch that golden statue for a bag of sand.
Nothing on the journey so far would indicate that danger was ahead. There was nothing on the jungle path of my life that should induce fear...but that's what I felt. So I got down on my knees and prayed. This moment still has me a little shook so I hope you'll forgive me if this isn't as polished as I would normally strive for. I've talked before about the realization that I had hardened my heart to stop feeling the pain of the end of our adoption journey. God has been working on exchanging that heart of stone for a heart of flesh. Part of that journey was remembering that this subject is always going to be a little sensitive but that doesn't mean I should guard it like an injury. What brought me to my knees was the realization that I have been taking action this year based on where I believe God is directing me to and preparing me for. The last time I struck out on a course of action with this kind of abandon and with the absolute certainty that I was doing what God asked me to do, was for adoption. Someday soon I need to share my story in that regard but for now I hope you will understand that this is an area of tremendous hurt. It is a healed hurt, because my God is good, but the reason I am on a treasure hunt this year is because God is teaching me how to ask questions and how to hope again.
That moment of asking God to bless an area of gifting, of giving Him the fragile hope that I was on the right path, forced me to notice how similar this path felt to that grand story arch that lead to such heartache in my life.
Part of searching for God in your everyday is going to bring you to your knees as you search for Him. Part is going to bring you to your knees because you've found Him.
Fellow sojourners, I'm going to try and explain what God showed me in this moment.
So imagine with me that we're walking along a narrow path through a jungle scene. Eyes are gazing around under sweating brows looking for clues that we're on the right path. Someone notices something peeking from underneath a stand of vines and so we begin pulling the growth away to find a standing stone carved with complex symbols. The excitement of our group bursts forth in happy laughter as we think about what this standing stone means, not just to our journey, but in the truth it can communicate. As we make our way through the symbols we begin to have a growing sense of unease. The direction it is telling us to take feels similar to a path we have taken before. That realization crashes down with the full weight of fear. This is just like the path we took before. The one that ended in disaster. We look wildly around us only to find confirmation. The signs, the symbols, they are the same. How could we not have noticed it before! What if this ends the same way? We started this journey in faith, believing that we could follow the Guide no matter where He led. We were sure that we had heard Him this time, that this was the path. What if we're wrong again? Could we....could I, survive?
Big hurts from our past can cause big doubts. God has been teaching me that it's okay to ask questions. To ask Him, why. My biggest questions right now, the ones affecting my journey still today, are ...
Did I hear from you in 2001?
Did you tell me to pursue adoption only to remove the possibility or did I miss hear you?
If I was so sure then, and was wrong, how do I know you've spoken to me now?
These are big, hard questions. While God has been abundant in giving me His peace as I've learned to walk in the life He's given me, these questions loom. Do you have questions that loom? Do they cast a shadow on your journey and cause you to jump in fear? Have you even noticed those questions are there? We all have things that give us a knee jerk reaction but for most of my life I laughed that jump off as me just being startled. Get back on the path and keep marching, JD. Nothing to worry about here.
I can't do that any more. I'm looking for God in my every day. I'm in training to notice where He's moving, who He is and how to recognize Him. For me, those big, hard questions are a part of that training. If I don't recognize the shift in background music, I'll be reacting to something I'm not even aware of. I'll be nervous and edgy as I proceed with caution down the path. I'll be tense with fear as I live in the belief that disaster is going to fall upon me at any moment.
So I paused, on my knees, my head to the ground, as tears streamed down my face. I presented my fear and questions to a good and gracious God, and waited. I let the hurt be.
It's been a few hours now of trying to collect my thoughts, letting the ache flair in my chest and thanking God. Thanking God for letting me notice the change in background music. For showing me the source of some of my persistent fears along this path. It's like seeing a looming figure in your dark bedroom at night and then realizing it's your clothes on the back of a chair. The looming shape that spiked my fear, now has form. I know it's there and I know what it is. For now, the questions remain, but I can proceed without fear because I know my God better now. I am pursuing Him and no path He takes me down will ever be in vain. While my natural inclination is to protect myself from hurt, that is never God's inclination. His inclination is for my good and His glory. Knowing my fear allows me to confront it and step beyond it. To choose to step out boldly in my adventure.
What fears have you let loom in the background of your story? What nameless dread have you let startle you into reacting, into overreacting? What have you let fear dictate about what you believe? Let's be brave. Let's look at those doubts and fears and recognize the real shape of them.