“Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, and also obedience. You hear the prayer in it all.” Psalm 65:1-2
What are you looking for? You’ve checked your phone a hundred times.
Yesterday morning was a perfect fall morning at the Apple Fest with Ryan and Lindsey. The guys were running the 18K, and after cheering them across the starting line, Lindsey and I got coffee and went back to the car to stay warm. We were able to have one of those good long conversations, where even though you’re talking about some really hard things, it feels cleansing and comforting, and you feel more known, and less alone. After the race, we walked around the festival, which is nestled in the hills south of the city, the leaves were well into turning, and the sky turned sapphire blue in that singular way you only get in October. Completely beautiful.
The afternoon, though, was a different story. Back at home, I was trying to relax, but my monkey mind just wouldn’t stop. I wanted to write, but the words weren’t coming, and it became one of those days where I checked my phone over and over, scanning Instagram one more time, Pinterest one more time, Facebook one more time… I was looking for a “spark,” some sort of inspiration that would trigger my own creativity, but if I’m being really honest, I was looking for instant gratification. Something to make me feel better quickly, all of the questions left behind. Faith, hope and love in a nutshell. Someone must have made a meme that does that, right?
And if I’m being even more honest, I was looking for guarantees.
Change is swirling all around, not just in the weather and the landscape, but in all the biggest pieces of my life. On multiple levels, everything is uncertain, in a new and more poignant way. Much of life is uncertain of course, but in that unknown way, where the actions you take are incremental and controllable, and mostly you just wait and hope and pray. Then there are the turning points, and these require action, vast, weighty, irreversible, daunting action, and I am feeling every single worry you’d expect. I worry I’m not strong enough, smart enough, prepared enough. I worry I will miss out, mess up, or fall apart. Worry and doubt, however, never saved the day, and we must move forward without guarantees.
Most days, I don’t find my phone a waste. I follow some really cool people who are doing really cool things, and I find encouragement and inspiration among their beautiful pictures and beautiful words, but it’s one thing to “like” a meme that says “It is well with my soul.” It’s an entirely different thing to truly believe that all will be well. Both in creativity and in life, it may occasionally look like flashes of inspiration, but more often it just looks like really hard work. It looks like sitting down and putting in the hours when results are still a long way off. It looks like soul-work, getting really honest, and asking questions we don’t necessarily want to know the answers to, when we don’t understand why. It looks like cultivating hope and chasing worthwhile things.
“Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” John 20:15
The world is carrying on, and the answers aren’t out there. Amidst the frantic chatter of a mind that won’t slow down, among the memes and pins and beautiful-but-posed photos, it’s not a “what” I’m looking for after all. All I can have is faith. No guarantees. No instant gratification. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and breathe, and trust that the God who calms wind and waves is bigger than my worried heart.