So, I was wasting my life on Instagram when I ran into a quote in the caption of a picture I saw. In her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (a book I haven’t heard of before today but fully plan on purchasing and starting tomorrow), Ann Voskamp throws down this sweet bit of fire:
“One thousand places to see before you die. Is that it? Are there physical places that simply must be seen before we stop breathing? Are there places that must be known, accomplishments that must be had, before we are fully ready? Why? To say that we’ve had a reason to bow low? To say that we’ve seen beauty? To say that we’ve been arrested by wonder? Isn’t it here? The wonder? Why do we spend so much of our living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry souls to recognize grandeur? All our eyes can seem to fixate on are the splatters of disappointment across here and now. [But] as long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Wherever, whenever. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or mountain peak experience. Joy is here. Here in the messy, piercing ache of now. The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.”
I don’t know the page number; I stole this from Instagram (never again will I limit God by thinking he won’t speak to me even when I’m in the cross-eyed vortex of my phone). And I don’t know anything about this woman or this book beyond the fact that she sounds damn spot on. Seriously. Read it again–I can’t stop. Are you convicted? I’m really convicted.
Here I sit measuring my pain, weighing my loneliness, drawing out “better” plans for my future. But I’m just a child with a bunch of broken crayons–the stupid left over colors in the big box that nobody wants like “yellow-green” (not to be confused with “green-yellow”). Bet you winced; told you! And I’m throwing stuff around like Bad Cop from The Lego Movie because I can’t get it right.
Why? It’s not my job. It’s never been my job.
“Joy is here. Here in the messy, piercing ache of now.” That’s what things feel like right now, the messy achy part. But joy is still here. Why? Because I, at any given time, have so much to be thankful for. This whole chunk of awesome words was such a violent wake up call for me.
Confession: I’m so stuck in this idea that the “something good and beautiful” that eventually comes out of this pain looks a certain way. I have this picture–this secret hope–in my head that this is pain and loneliness and time for growth with Jesus will be the prequel to living pain free, then unexpectedly falling in love with some awesome Jesus-loving dude, getting married, escaping the clutches of endometriosis, and having babies, and living tatty-blasted and happily ever after.
Behold, the yellow-green crayons! In my hands! Right now!
In formulating some equation or reason for this season (yeah, I rap on the side, what of it?) I pretty much miss the entire point of trusting God. I will find no joy in this time if all I keep looking at are the smudges that mess up my childish solution for “good and beautiful” in my life. And more importantly, I’ll miss whatever it is Jesus is trying to show me and whatever it is He’s dying to romance me with.
What would it be like to really live in the wonder that is right now? To just be here. To just be. And let Jesus handle everything else. I’m so bad at that. But I see now (and I’m sure I’ll need to be reminded again soon) and I understand that not shredding the yellow-green blueprints only blurs my vision–only keeps me from seeing clearly the actual, real life plans that Jesus is cranking into motion. Plans that are solid and good and beautiful, whatever they are.
So, starting tonight, I want to drop the crayons, kick them to the side, and put my hands up. Partly like a thief caught taking things that aren’t theirs and mostly like a kid who’s given up and is finally grasping for help.