on psalms and having 14 roommates
sorry for being really bad at remembering to blog…
happy tuesday! i’m off from work again today and i’m in downtown weaverville, which is about as exciting as it sounds. I actually do like it here, it’s a quaint little town, and then asheville is something like 15 minutes away. no plans to traverse that far today, though. i’m going to sit here and blog and then write a million letters (sorry laura and peter and everyone for not being speedier!) and then go back to camp and hang out in my hammock out in front of my house. I love Tuesdays.
the office has been really really great. I feel really comfortable doing all the logistical stuff I’m in charge of, plus the other people I work with are incredible, so it’s really a perfect environment. my really great summer staff girl (hey emily!) leaves this weekend and that’s a bummer. she makes me laugh and we have a lot of fun sorting the mail and going on diet coke runs and using funny voices on the radio.
i’m betting that some of you are wanting to know how i’m doing — really.
one of my goals coming into this summer was wanting to learn how to live in community with my peers rather than just trying to lead people. or in other words, how to actually let people into my life and let them support me. maybe that’s harder for me than it is for other people, maybe it’s not, but I’ve discovered that I’ve really structured my life the past couple of months to where I’m overly independent and not very vulnerable at all. and that’s funny to me, because I claim to be very vulnerable and I’m just not. At all. And so the walls that I’ve built up for purposes of what I once saw as protection are actually leading me into self-destruction and the Lord is absolutely ripping them down right now through what I know must be is other people praying for me, because I’m not praying for that at all. Seeing God work through the means of what you know is not a result of you and your prayer life, but actually in spite of your situational unbelief is incredibly humbling and powerful and important and it’s really changing everything for me right now. I’ve struggled with depression for going on three years now and what I see now is that I’ve been so focused on feeling better that I haven’t even thought about what it means to pursuegetting better. They’re really, really different things.
My bosses and 14 roommates here are probably the most supportive people alive. That’s not to say that other people in my life aren’t supportive, it’s just a very different situation when you’re placed in a community where everyone is devoted to prayer and uses that to support you in your healing process, and when there are no papers to write and to-do lists to complete to distract you from that truth. It’s different when the presence of God is so engrained in every atom of a place that you literally cannot ignore it. It’s different when your boss tells you that your health is more important that your job, when your roommate will sit under a tree and cry with you when darkness becomes unexplainable, but will also remind you that there is a light that has overcome that darkness, that depression does not define you, and that the enemy does not tell you who you are. It’s different when your nights are spent sitting on porches singing and playing the guitar and having rich conversations, and when your friends say that everyone around you is praying for you, and you can actually feel it.
I hope that doesn’t sound like I don’t feel loved in Abingdon or Spartanburg. I do, but this is all just to say that I think being here right now, in this season of my life, is actually going to change everything for me. I’ve felt that way about things and places before, but this time I’m actually starting to believe it. And I believe it’s because of Jesus, because he has never left me even though I leave him all the time.
Please just know that things are good here. Maybe not easy, but they are good.
I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.
I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord;
my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal.
When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,”
I didn’t believe a word they said.
I remember God—and shake my head.
I bow my head—then wring my hands.
I’m awake all night—not a wink of sleep;
I can’t even say what’s bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,
I ponder the years gone by.
I ponder all through the night,
wondering how to get my life together.
Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
Will he never smile again?
Is his love worn threadbare?
Has his salvation promise burned out?
Has God forgotten his manners?
Has he angrily stalked off and left us?
”Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him.”
Once again I’ll go over what God has done,
lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished,
and give a long, loving look at your acts.
O God! Your way is holy!
No god is great like God!
You’re the God who makes things happen;
you showed everyone what you can do—
You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.
Ocean saw you in action, God,
saw you and trembled with fear;
Deep Ocean was scared to death.
Clouds belched buckets of rain,
Sky exploded with thunder,
your arrows flashing this way and that.
From Whirlwind came your thundering voice,
Lightning exposed the world,
Earth reeled and rocked.
You strode right through Ocean,
walked straight through roaring Ocean,
but nobody saw you come or go.
Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron,
You led your people like a flock of sheep.
Psalm 77 (The Message)