18 Jan 2021

A Big Beautiful Painfully Slow Fire

An essay from 2016-ish…

This morning I built a fire, a small not much to look at fire in my white washed brick fireplace. I typically leave the fire building to my husband out of fear I may burn the entire house down. But today, on this cool crisp winter morning I threw caution to the wind, summoned all my independent Beyonce style I-don’t-need-a-man gumption and built a fire. She’s small, just a glimpse of a flicker remains at this moment but she’s burning nonetheless. 

This small struggling to thrive fire is an exact representation of my soul today and as of late. I’ve been quite down on myself lately, feeling ashamed, less than and not happy with myself. Unsettled with who I’m not and annoyed by knowing who I could be if I could just make myself become her. And I try, oh I try so hard to gain traction, to get the flames to raise higher and brighter, in hopes that one magical spark will ignite my whole life into a beautiful big burning fire… just like in my dreams. And no matter how hard I try, how many routines and schedules I try to put into place, how many nights I set my alarm earlier hoping that maybe by some miracle tomorrow will be the day I prove the snooze button wrong and wake up to conquer my world, I just can’t seem to ignite that spark. I’m tired of tirelessly shifting the coals in hopes of finding a better solution or approach that will finally be the catalyst for change. 

So what then, what’s the answer, how in fact do I move forward? I certainly can’t stay like this forever, I can’t be not enough forever, it will bury me alive to never feel like I’m getting where I want to be.  And that’s just it. “Feeling like I’m never getting where I want to be” that’s where the deception is… where I think I should be may not be where God wants to take me, and maybe, just maybe it’s in this small flicker and struggle that he wants to do the greatest work in me yet. Maybe I need to give myself the grace I so easily extend to everyone around me, the grace I feel everyone else deserves except for me. Grace upon grace on my head is what God wants me to learn right now. To let go and be okay with not hustling or achieving, to be okay that my circumstances don’t mirror what I think my ideal life should look like. God wants me to lay down this idol that is founded on circumstantial happiness, he wants me to find true deep contentment in being His daughter. HE wants my flames to not reflect a life where others may think “wow look at her go, she’s doing it right.” OR where I look in the mirror at the end of the day and say “Yes, that’s the stuff, you can sleep well today knowing you did everything and you were the exact right version of yourself to be proud and feel worthy.” He wants me to rest in knowing that He goes before me, He is standing right beside me holding my hand asking me ONLY to come to Him today, to find the peace and joy waiting in the simple action of being in tune with His spirit today. I don’t need to look ahead, or worry about what I am not or what I should be doing, I just need to be thankful and go to Him and then take the next step right in front of me. I have a sneaking suspicion that if we could do this one thing today, that He’d meet us in unexpected ways, it may not be apparent right away, but this one small thing, this surrendering to Him, it will begin to burn the coals of our fire all over, it will heat each piece of our life with a burning love and passion that we never knew possible and eventually it will ignite into that big beautiful fire and it’ll take us by surprise because we’ll have learned it was never about getting to where we thought we should be but learning to let the Father take us their all on His own.

Let your fire grow and burn moment by moment, don’t rush the process in the rising of the flames.

As I found this old essay and began editing it a few weeks ago I flickered between moments of compassion and embarrassment for the young woman who wrote this. I was so obsessed with “becoming something” in this season of my life (a season that lasted the next several years I might add). It’s funny though as I look back at it and reflect on where I am today, I did build that fire of my life flame by flame and it definitely turned into something I would have never imagined. But it’s still not flashy or at all the story I would have written. It is far more in depth and whole than had I kept chasing the flash and ooh and ahh of living to become something everyone else saw as a success. We are building our lives by simply living in them and my process of becoming has been far more about letting go of things I thought I needed to happen and embracing what God has placed right in front of me.

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