When Necessary Graces Come

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I’ve shared with you in some of my more recent letters how much of a struggle I’m facing to move forward on the various projects and ideas I have for the work I do at Still Forming.

I’ve shared that pesky gremlin voices keep trying to dissuade me from my path. I’ve shared some of the fears I have about moving forward. And I’ve shared ways I’ve found sustenance along the way in response to those fears and gremlins.

And then this past week happened.

To put it lightly, the week was a doozy. Despite the space I had in my schedule to move forward on my top-priority project — the Look at Jesus course — I couldn’t find the strength or capacity to move forward on it at all. At. All.

I would open my Bible to review the notes I’d made for the current section of the course I’m completing, and the words on the pages would swim before my eyes. I’d pull up the online classroom and look at where I’d left off, and I would feel defeat.

And then I’d turn away from the screen and toward my most typical avoidance behaviors instead. You know, the ones that tell you in a voice filled with alarm even as you’re doing them, “Mayday! Mayday! Something is really wrong here!”

Despite that voice urging me to notice what I already knew, I couldn’t find the strength of will inside myself to course-correct.

Have you ever experienced this?

This went on for several days. When I reached Friday night, I was pretty toast.

Kirk knew something was wrong, but I barely knew how to talk about it. It seemed so paltry to say, “I’m having trouble moving forward on the Look at Jesus course.” What felt more true was to say, “I feel like I’m out in a dark ocean, drowning.” Or, “I feel like I’ve fallen in a pit. I can see the sky above me, but I don’t know how to get out.”

Thankfully, Kirk has a lot of wisdom, and he was able to help me see that I needed help. “You can’t crawl your way out of a pit,” he said. “You need to be lifted out.”

So he asked if he could pray for me. I didn’t have the strength to say yes, so I just shrugged my shoulders and mumbled, “I don’t know,” which he said he was going to interpret as a yes. And then he began to pray.

As we entered into prayer, the truth of my heart surfaced, and tears started falling down my face. “I need help,” my heart cried to God. “I need help. Please help me.”

Somewhere in the midst of that prayer, help came. It was like actual grace descended. I felt myself being lifted from the pit, just like Kirk said I needed.

And it drove me into the arms of God. I just kept thinking the word dependence. 

I can’t do this work on my own. I can’t do it in my own strength. When I do, I fall into the pit. When I do, I drown.

But when I lean into the arms of God, letting him guide me, letting his Spirit be the dominant force in this work that I do, the pressure lifts. I get to join in something God’s already doing. I get to be a conduit for something that belongs to him, not me.

Even after Kirk finished praying for me, it felt important to keep leaning into God’s arms. To just rest there. Not to run away.

So I did. For some time afterward, I just let myself continue to rest in God’s arms. To let myself be held by him. To stay there quietly. 

It wasn’t easy to let myself stay there. All the habits built up in my body wanted me to busy myself, to go and do, to let myself be distracted. And yet resting in God’s arms was such a greater treasure than any of those distractions. I kept remembering that, and that helped me continue to rest there.

And so yesterday, I was able to work on the Look at Jesus course again. I’m one section short of finishing another module, and that feels miraculous to me. I feel enthusiasm and anticipation about it again, looking forward so much to the chance to do this course with those who want to spend time getting to know Jesus a bit more.

I’m so looking forward to its being ready to offer you. 

Have you ever a hard time moving forward on something important to you? How did you find your way forward? 

Much love,