Thursday, December 5, 2013

neither here nor there

I was talking to a friend the other day--she was sharing about being at that spot where you are just in between. You know where you need to be, you are okay where you are--but you are waiting, focused on the goal while trying to maintain a good, peaceful attitude in the meantime. I told her, "I know! I always hate feeling like I'm in limbo..."

I thought about how often Rey and I have been "in limbo". When we felt called to join up with my aunt and uncle in their missions work--there were months between that decision and the day we moved. It was hard to live fully during those months, not to just throw them away since: "I'm not staying here anyway..."

When we felt called to return home to Illinois, again there were months between the decision and the actual fulfilling of that decision. Big decisions, big moves like that take lots of time, lots of prayer, lots of investigating and organizing. It is so easy for the decision to become so all-consuming that you forget to live fully in the in between.

And again, we find ourselves in an "in between". We feel we are being led in a certain direction--but we are most-certainly in limbo. Not here, not there. Leaning, but not sure. Directed, but lacking detail. I felt myself chafing at being at that point again. Just wanting to be there, or here, but not in between.

Then the thought came: Really... we are called to live our whole lives in limbo. We are living for the promise of being unified with our Love. We are constantly pulled between the heavenly and the earthly--longing to be with our eternal Father, but loving our life here. Yearning to be where our feet are leading us, but striving to enjoy the journey as we are walking. It made me reflect on the yearning of generations for their Messiah... the waiting remembered in these days of Advent.

I am *finally* delving into the great book "One Thousand Gifts", and in my last reading this phrase jumped out at me: "It's the in between that drives us mad." Wow. Exactly what I'd been contemplating.

Further, I had been realizing that this irritated feeling I'd been having with being in between, was also combining with my utter abhorrence of Illinois winters. Ever since the bitter cold and long, grey weeks have blown in, my overall mood has also been grey and dreary. I have been lacking energy, impatient with the kids and generally a real treat to be around. ;) I have been feeling actual anger towards the weather, towards being stuck indoors when we'd rather be out playing, towards the world being pitch-black by 5 pm... you know, anger. Because it helps so much.

Slowly, though, I feel as though God has been breaking through the irritation, despondency, and anger... and calling me to return to fully living where I am, how I am. Saying things like, "Buck up" and "Get over it" and other kind things. In a gentle voice, because I am a sensitive soul.

In this time, I was reading Luke 21 and came to this verse: "By your patience possess your souls". This can mean many things to many people, but to me in the time I read it, my eyes read: "If you can choose patience in these in-between times of life, you will possess your soul. If you choose patience when the kids are being kids, you will possess your soul. If you wait for Me patiently during your years on earth, you will possess your soul."

Then, I read a smidgen from My Utmost for His Highest I stumbled upon, relating to this passage:
"Luke 21:19 means that we take possession of our souls through patience. But many of us prefer to stay at the entrance to the Christian life, instead of going on to create and build our soul in accordance with the new life God has placed within us. We fail because we are ignorant of the way God has made us, and we blame things on evil that are actually the result of our own undisciplined natures. Just think what we could be when we are awakened to the truth!
There are certain things in life that we need not pray about— moods, for instance. We will never get rid of moodiness by praying, but we will by kicking it out of our lives. Moods nearly always are rooted in some physical circumstance, not in our true inner self. It is a continual struggle not to listen to the moods which arise as a result of our physical condition, but we must never submit to them for a second. We have to pick ourselves up by the back of the neck and shake ourselves; then we will find that we can do what we believed we were unable to do. The problem that most of us are cursed with is simply that we won’t. The Christian life is one of spiritual courage and determination lived out in our flesh."

Good old Oswald. I guess if I didn't hear that whole, "Get over it" message before, I should now right?

All of this to say, I'm learning I need to be okay with in between. I need to learn to fully live, in patience, in limbo. Because, our entire existence is a thread stretched between here and another place, the perfect tension between two places that both hold such portions of our heart and time--yet must compliment each other instead of competing with each other.

In the meantime... I am especially loving this hymn of longing and expectation:

"Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
Oh, come, our day spring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!"

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