October 3, 2007

House of Straw.


Chris called this afternoon and told me he'd like for me to have a night out on my own tonight. Needless to say, I was thrilled and touched that he would think to suggest it, and I was also feeling like some time by myself would be heaven.

So, Chris got home from work around 5:00 and I left shortly after that. I didn't even make dinner... I just headed out the door with no set agenda for myself.

Some people work well this way- with no plans ahead of them. They wander about the city and bump into adventure without much effort.

I am not one of these people.

If I don't have a plan set in place, I resort to my default: wandering around in stores without buying anything because (imagine this!) I don't actually need any more things. So, I wander aimlessly through isles for hours because, well, I guess because it's safe. And I can never think of anything else to do.

By the time I arrived back home, I was disillusioned with myself again. (Will this feeling EVER go away?) I felt like I'd wasted my precious "me" time. I felt like I was boring and lonely and BLAH. I felt like my life somewhat resembled one of the hundreds of pointless knick-knacks I'd wandered past throughout the evening- just tucked away on a cluttered shelf with no purpose, no true function other than to sit and gather dust.

I could have holed up in a coffee shop somewhere and poured over pages in a book or written feverishly in one of my journals until I felt my mind finally break through the fog. I could have called up a friend and had great conversation. I could have breathed fresh air or people watched for hours. I could have prayed. I could have found a quaint little place to eat and savored each flavor of a delicious meal.

I did none of these things.

Instead, I wandered around in fluorescent light- devoting my time to looking at things I don't even need.

And it's not just this evening, either. I fill my time during the days with television, Internet, chores, busywork. I am afraid to sit still. I am terrified of spending any time with myself. When I stop moving, I start thinking about the life I'm choosing not to have by hunkering down in my ridiculous comfort zones- forced to look at the glaringly obvious contrast between the life I'm actually leading and the life I've been called to.

I've had no desire to talk to God lately. To spend any time with Him. But I can feel Him asking for me. I hear it deep down in my gut. It is a call to more. The more that I want so badly but am also so afraid of. So, I busy myself. I avoid silence, stillness. I go on feeling unsatisfied. Adulterous. Unwilling to face the ugly truth:

My hands have been building a kingdom that won't last. A kingdom based on my wants and desires and whims. And I'm tired, yet still I refuse to give up the campaign. I'm like that one little pig who built his house out of straw- seeking shelter from the wind behind the safeguard of DRY GRASS. Every little breeze knocks another wall down. And I am quickly running out of things to prop them up with.


"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations.

You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."

-Isaiah 58:9-12



THIS is what I don't have. THIS is what I am missing. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Satisfying the needs of the oppressed.

These are the things that lay the bricks; the things that eventually build a life worth living in.

20 comments:

Auntie Candace said...

Amen sister!!!!

I feel this way often, especially with school right now. I mean I know school isn't a bad thing, but when all I can do is study, study, study, school, study study study.....I feel that my down time is used for rest and television, but these things are what I need, what will fill me up again, what will give me the energy to get through the next thing.

Thank you for this reminder!!! =)

with love,
your sister!

Andrea June said...

Oh, Emery. I understand so much of what you're saying. I like to busy myself with aimless driving around town and endless filing of random things I don't even need.
The verse you posted brought me back to when we were doing the 'breaking free' group. Do you remember it? I can totally recall that time, and the PROMISE and HOPE for the future it seemed to hold. I could totally use a dose of that right now. Ok, rant over. Thanks for the wonderful post!

Kerry said...

Another great post Emery. I find myself going back and forth when I get "ME" time. Unlike you I love to shop. I feed the "want" when I shop. And afterwards the high becomes replaced with guilt over things that really don't matter just like you said in the grand scheme of things. Thanks for the reminder that I really need to hear.

Rimarama said...

I know what you mean. I feel this way, too, but haven't been able to put words around in the beautiful way you just did.

But I hope don't feel that your night off was totally wasted! Your mind was obviously very busy with introspection, always a good thing.

blackbird said...

Then again, the time you feel you wasted led you to this realization.
Perhaps your 'me' time was meaningful after all...

Emery Jo said...

Thank you all so much for your comments. I woke up this morning wondering if this post even made any sense. I wondered if I should erase it.

But you guys have helped me realize that last night wasn't a waste... because YOU'RE RIGHT- it did lead me back to this truth. Thank you for helping me see that.

Amy said...

This post was amazing. I've similiarly wasted precious alone time and felt guilty, wondered what I should have done - if I were a better person, or just less lazy. You are so right in your conclusion! Thanks for this post.

Susan S. said...

Hi! Please don't delete this post... It resonated with me as well, and obviously led you to some wonderful introspection. Me time is so precious for us all (and especially for Moms)... I know I am always trying to find a balance between "purposeful" me time and just simple down time (I am an admitted TV/book junkie). I think each has their place.

Thanks for your visit and lovely comments!

Anna Peterson said...

The great thing about that verse is that it is exactly the heart of JESUS...and it's not just for other people, it's for us. He repairs us - and that includes repairing the places where we feel like we are letting Him down or not "doing good enough." He wants to call us higher, just like you are talking about, but when He calls us, He helps us go there. It's all Him! It is so awesome that your heart is yearning for that -- He'll do it, because He is GOOD to you!

Tiff said...

I have been feeling this way for the last couple of weeks now...I long to be living the life God is calling me to live yet I completely avoid his beckoning...because honestly, I'm lazy and I like my comfort zone but its leaving me empty. Thank you for being so honest and helping me think about my own choices in how I live my life.
:-)

Hannah said...

Wow, I read your post and something inside me went "DING DING DING! That's it!" and a million lightbulbs lit up in my cobwebby mind.

I've been feeling so empty and listless recently, and haven't been able to figure out why.

I've felt like God has been going "psssssst! remember Me? Your creator?" But I would rather sit around looking at the same clothing websites over and over than sit and spend HALF AN HOUR (gasp!) in His word. After reading your post, I'm thinking what I was feeling was (justified) conviction.

Weeeee, this is me, off to spend some time with the big guy.

carol grams said...

Oh my dear you are feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and very much building a life worth living. You are a wife and mother, the most important role God has given you to do. Embrass it, cherish it, drink it in. God's wonderful gift to you.
Carol Grams...a lurker-too

Anna Joy Photography said...

this is such a good post. I feel like this too sometimes, and how I feel like 'someday i'll be the person i want to be and do the things i know i want to do' but when i have free time i dont do them! Isaiah is such a powerful book too, I'm reading it now along with colossians. My favorite chapter in Isaiah is 35!! its awesome :)

sufferingsummer said...

I needed to read this. Thank you. Since finding out I'm pregnant again I have been in a funk of worries and this was a great start to the introspection that brought me to the realization once again of what really matters. As always your words were like a nice warm blanket of familiarity.

ElizabethSheryl said...

Wonderful post, I can relate on so many levels. *hugs*

AHS Photography said...

Hi Emery! Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm so glad I "delurked." What I didn't tell you when I delurked is that I lurk daily and so look forward to your posts! Your blog has encouraged me so much and I love hearing your heart. Sometimes when you write-(particulary posts like this one and the one you wrote awhile back about Gods will and trusting that he is good) I feel so encouraged. I feel relieved I am not the only one out there struggling with dreams, doubts, and God's plan. You put my thoughts into writing so much. Thanks so much for being a GREAT blogger. Maybe you're not out with the homeless or those other things you mentioned but you encourage so many of us!

I'll be back :)

Amy

Secret Agent Mama said...

Everyone needs to read this post. I'm glad I did. An eye opener for me, as well.

Emery, you seemed to have fed the hungry and clothed the naked with one blog post. God bless you continually.

Talia said...

I agree with secret agent. Look at all these comments from grateful people with whom you've struck a chord. The Lord can use even the littlest things to do great work.
Also, you are raising a little boy to love the Lord and work for His kingdom. THAT is a good work, there is none comparable. :)

Flo Oakes said...

Um, I REALLY need to email you.
Like, 2 days ago, or 2 years ago so we can relate on multiple levels and be friends from then on.

Anonymous said...

I am reading this post through tears. God is speaking through you to me. Thank you for the beautiful message. Keep up the writing and giving glory to God.