I’m going to think of this like we’re sitting down for coffee. a corner table.
that feels appropriate. because that feels real and intimate. if I’m typing this only to myself, that doesn’t feel good enough. I’m going to let you take me to coffee. and I need to be saying this to you because I have deeply needed people these days.
so I’m going to think of this like we’re sitting down for coffee and you asked how I actually am. I’d put on a brave face and be honest.
I’d start by telling you how I used to struggle to sing some lyrics in songs. in one song, there’s one line that talks about surrendering everything – loved one, dreams, hopes – to Jesus. I’d tell how I always skipped singing that line because I didn’t really believe it. it wasn’t that I believed I shouldn’t believe it. but it was that it didn’t feel true to me. I didn’t want to surrender everything to Jesus. I didn’t feel that I would have everything I need if it was only Jesus.
I’d tell you how this season, the Lord has been doing a work. how I had no idea I was in for this doozy of a year. how I feel that I have grown leaps and bounds, learned to love the Lord with more intentionality and more tenderness, and have been given eyes to see all the miracles. all since 2018 began.
I’d tell you that this week, something happened that kind of derailed me. it exposed a lot of idols that I didn’t know were hiding in my heart. it exposed a lot of fear. it exposed a lot of misplaced hope. I would probably tear up a bit.
I would tell you how I took a gift – something good from the Lord – and set it up so high that it shattered when it fell. I’d tell you how my hope fell with it. I would definitely make a joke about how silly it sounds to put my hope in something that I can manipulate. I’d smirk here.
and then I would start talking out of order and tell you how this happening feels sort of like a reckoning to not being able to sing those lyrics. I would roll my eyes and move my hands a lot and say yes, I know that God is so good. so, so good. yes, I know that He gives good gifts. yes, I know that He is for me and He keeps His promises and that I find my yes and amen in Him alone. yes, I know. but! things like a husband one day and the need to feel secure and my community and my need to be good enough and my need to be affirmed were just some of the places I was putting my hope. I’d confess that I trusted God, but also I trusted all those things. and how I needed both.
then I’d correct that – I thought I needed both. and then I had something not go my way, and I kindaalmostbasically threw a temper tantrum. I’d explain that the problem wasn’t in promises unfulfilled, but rather, it was in seeing where my hope actually came from and how backwards I had placed it.
I would tell you how I think the hardest part of this thing is that it felt like a blow my identity. surely there are tears here because this cuts. it was so much less about losing what could’ve been, more about this aching, painful pruning that the Lord is doing in me. I’d touch my chest because it actually does ache as I feel my flesh and my soul at odds with each other. the Father seems to be pulling away my idols so that I’ll stop putting my hope in things other than Him.
I’d quote Body Matters, my small group book. I’d interject to tell you how that book is wrecking me in the best of ways. I’d pull out my underlined copy and find the quote, page 70 – “it is when we allow these good things to become ultimate things, when we are driven along by our passions for comfort, control, power, and approval that we corrupt these good God-given gifts.”
that’s how this feels. this feels like I took a good thing and made it my ultimate thing, and now, it feels corrupted and uprooted and unfulfilled. it sucks and it hurts.
but then I’d tell you about my hope. the hope that I have learned by the abundant grace of the good, good, good God that we serve: but you know what I’m confident in? that at the end of this, I will look more like Jesus. I’ll walk out of this looking more like Jesus than I ever have before. I’d tell you about that podcast I listened to where Annie said this – “pain and poison will always get out. you get to decide how it leaves.” and I’d tell you that I’m deciding how the poison gets out. and it is moving a bit slow and it feels thick and gross, but that I’m letting it runs its course while I cling to the only One that can actually carry the weight of my worship.
I’d tell you this is how God is healing me. how He has given me wisdom to see it all lately. this is how Jesus has been after my heart lately. I’d probably be a bit weepy by now because I feel raw and tender and so exposed. but I’d tell you that I have a problem with needing to be affirmed, I’d definitely talk a lot about enneagram 1, and I’d tell you that this is where that all comes from – be enough, Brenna.
I’d tell you about how I keep thinking that I can hear the Lord telling me, “Brenna. you were focused on this”, and He’d hold cup His hands really small, “when I was trying to give you all of this,” and He’d make big motions towards the sky. I’d tell you how that makes me want to weep, and I’d dramatically say, “God! I don’t want to miss out! fix my eyes!”
and then I’d probably let you speak some life. I’d ask you to text me those things too so I don’t forget them. and then I’d screenshot those messages. because Jesus, I can’t feel it now, but I know that You are working in me. I’d let you tell me all the lies I’m currently believing so that on the other side of this – the walk out where I look more like Jesus – I would be able to call BS on the stories I once believed. I’d let you quote the Word to me so that, next time I’m derailed, I can remember how it carried me out of this. and I’d let you remind me of my value because it feels low. because rejection of any sort is hard. because following Jesus isn’t easy.
and I’d tell you how I’m still asking Jesus for all the same things, all the same desires. how I haven’t quite figured out how to not but how I’m holding it loosely and getting real honest with God. how I’m saying Jesus, I want this, but I also want you, so take it away if it’s not from you. I’d tell you that I’m chanting lyrics like if more of You means less of me, take everything and in every comfort, Jesus is better, make my heart believe, and how I’m halfway believing them and asking them, but that’s better than nothing, right?
and then I’d kind of talk to myself, remembering that Jesus is the cup, and the rest is overflow. and I’d hug you. and I’d tell you thank you and I’d tell you how this little corner has felt so safe to me. and that you’re allowed to laugh at me in ten years (no sooner) over how dramatic this conversation feels, but make you promise me that you’ll not laugh now because it’s too real.
and I’d walk out with my head just a bit higher as my story continues to set me free.