Monday, October 24, 2011

Tempted



Jesus was tempted when He was out in the wilderness--alone--in unfamiliar territory. And yet, He was right where He was supposed to be.

* * * * *

I jumped out of a plane, landed in the Great Unknown, embraced the Silence as my traveling companion... and yet I feel stuck.

My journey thus far has been about forward movement. Writing about it using colorful metaphors has helped me to view this process through the lens of adventure.

But today I want to stop moving and camp out right where I am. I feel battle-worn and I'm craving a taste of the familiar.

It's in moments like these that I am tempted.

I am confronted with a barrage of rationalizations about why I should pack up my stuff and start heading in the opposite direction--back to the Land Where I Came From: the land of denial, complacency and half-awake living.

I want to believe that instead of putting more and more distance between me and that familiar territory, I should start inching my way back toward it--in the hopes that the "me" I have discovered in the Great Unknown will somehow follow me back to that Land.

I try to convince myself that I've journeyed far enough into the Great Unknown to have learned the lessons the terrain has to teach me; so I can say "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt" and call it a day.

"I'm wiser now," I tell myself, "I can go back; this time it'll be different."

This kind of thinking, by the way, is precisely how I stayed in the Land Where I Came From for so long. I'd dip my toe into the river on the outskirts of the Great Unknown with the confidence that I didn't need to journey any farther in for my life to really change. I figured I could cling to security and comfort and still grow to my full stature.

The wiser part of me knew that none of that was true. There are no shortcuts to healing, to growing, to making lasting change. And the good stuff takes time. There's no way around it.

* * * * *

The Unknown has peaks and valleys. The peaks are higher and the valleys are lower here than they were in the Land Where I Came From. Or maybe it just seems that way because I'm paying more attention to where I'm at. Maybe I've just learned how to see through the fog.

I've been on some peaks recently. From that vantage point I could see the beauty that's ahead--beauty like I have never seen before: lush, verdant forests and meadows filled with wildflowers of every variety. The sight of it was inspiring and exhilarating.

But when I dip back down into the valleys, it's hard to remember that there is anything else ahead except for more valleys. Instead of feeling propelled by the beauty that's waiting for me down the road, I feel overwhelmed by the prospect of how much further I may have to go to actually get there.

Inspiration gives way to exhaustion and I don't want to take another step.

Except I'm not going to stop.

All the signs are pointing me further into the Unknown. It's teeming with life. But I want to leave a marker here because I know every sojourner faces the same temptation--to camp out or to head back toward "home"--at some point in their journey into the Unknown.

I'm putting my signpost in the ground to stir the hearts of other troubled travelers who will pass this point and feel like giving up, giving in, packing up and heading back to the Land where they came from.

Instead, I hope they'll stop, look up, read these words and courageously continue to move in deeper still.

Today I'm that traveler. I need the signpost more than anyone else. I am reading these words and tuning my ears to my wiser part that has spoken but been ignored for way too many years.

I'm tempted to go back. But I'm not giving in.




9 comments:

  1. Angela, You never cease to amaze your Mother and me. Your ability to capture, clarify and express the joys and challenges of your life's journey is rare. The vivid imagery of your words instantly connects with the reader, and we are the benefactors of your good fight. Continue steadfast in this determined traveling, and you will surely make the 'valley of Baca' (tears) a place of springs (life-giving and refreshing),see Psalm 84:5-7. Love Dad

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  2. you and your writing are a blessing. don't give up, friend. bless you.

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  3. Thank you, Dad. I'm holding on to that picture of the valley of tears turning into a valley of refreshing. Some days I can taste it.

    Emily, thank you for your words of life and encouragement. I am taking them to heart.

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  4. Thank you for your honest heart. This passage of Scripture is for you~Kimberly

    Hosea 2:15

    I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.

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  5. Angie! Wow... I love this post. Six months ago Doug and I walked through a very tumultuous time. Our dream had became a nightmare. We said to ourselves, "When your dream becomes a nightmare, wake up!" And wake up, we did! Made changes we needed to make and found ourselves in much unknown land. We said, "When your dream becomes a nightmare, WAKE UP, and DREAM AGAIN!" We started dreaming again! Awake Coaching was born. The dream has become a reality. i am still dreaming for other things (ones I love) and will keep it up until those dreams are reality.

    You are beautiful Angela. An angel...

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  6. You are such a gifted communicator and writer, Angela!

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  7. Kimberly, what a gift it is to have you visit this space. I love that scripture. Thank you.

    Valerie: "When your dream becomes a nightmare, wake up and dream again!" I love that! I've also heard it said, "When you feel like you're walking through hell, KEEP MOVING!" I think I'll do all three: stay awake, dream again, and keep moving...

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  8. Dear Angela,
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I'm not sure how you found me, but I am so thankful you did. I read your description of you at a party and so saw myself. I read your gut-wrenching description of the loss of your precious boy, and tears are coming. You are a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for encouraging me as I begin to tell mine.
    As I read this post today, I thought of "Hind's Feet on High Places." It's been a long time since I've read that gem of a book, but your descriptions brought me back to that place of identifying those feelings and experiences with Words Assigned With Capital Letters. It is powerful to have names for those things.
    I look forward to reading more of your story.
    Sweet blessings, Angela --
    Ashley

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  9. Ashley, finding your blog has reminded me that you don't have to meet someone face to face for a divine connection to happen.

    I also look forward to hearing the stories your heart has to tell...

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