Sometimes Giving Thanks Is A Journey To Become Known
I won’t be quiet.
Just like the blind beggar who kept calling out to Jesus.
Even though everyone told him to be quiet.
He didn’t stop calling out.
I am finding my way too. To express my heart. Not just in private. But, out in the open. With others. Even when critical voices bombard me.
Like the blind man. I want to see.
I want to answer the question Jesus asked the blind man. ”What do you want me to do for you?”
I want to want.
Do you want to want too?
Just like the woman — bleeding for years privately — who reached out from behind the crowd, to touch the hem of His robe.
She didn’t want to be seen. But, she didn’t want the pain any more. So she ventured out. And looked for her opportunity.
Jesus didn’t let her slip away unknown.
Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”.
Jesus didn’t want her to hide. Jesus wanted her to step forward. To tell her story.
I want to reach out and step forward from anonymity.
Do you want to uncover your story too?
Sometimes, uncovering the story of your heart takes more than good intention and unceasing prayers. Sometimes, God answers prayers through the steps we take to receive His answers.
Sometimes, after we’ve done all the waiting we could do — it is time to take steps out. To investigate. To reach out. To be heard. To talk to someone who can understand the journey we are on — and help us navigate the Amazon of our memories, dreams, as well as our losses and wounds when we are stuck.
Rather than turning away from our hearts, we can take steps to move forward into the journey.
“Why would I want to pay someone to listen to me talk?” a friend asked me. ”It doesn’t seem right, to pay someone so I can talk.”
I was hanging out with a friend who has been experiencing tremendous challenges as a mom caring for a son who is on the journey through autism. She’s been strong for many years. Yet lately, she’s been feeling overwhelmed. Exhausted. More often. Than not.
And like the tide slowly swelling across the ocean depths, her own childhood stories of wounding have been growing and surfacing in her heart. And her soul feels frayed and body wearing. Day by day.
She tells me she is doing okay. But, as our conversation continues, she confides she’s feeling numb a lot. Do you ever feel that way? She asks.
I tell her that’s exactly how my panic attacks left me. Numb. I tell her that is how I feel overwhelmed by anxiety.
And it doesn’t go away. No matter how much I pray. Read the Bible. Because God made us with hearts. That carry stories. And when those stories are left untold, unacknowledged — when the wounded parts of us are buried — our hearts and bodies tell us the truth.
It’s how God made us.
We were never made to suffer alone.
We were never made to be invisible.
Our numbness isn’t a bad thing.
Our numbness points us to the truth.
Our hearts wants to speak.
So, I told her why I finally decided to seek out a therapist. After months and months of fighting it.
I was afraid if I finally sought out a therapist, it would make it official.
I would be officially broken.
I fought with every ounce of my being — to avoid seeing a “professional”. That’s what people end up saying when regular advice, words of wisdom or encouragement fall short.
Seek out a professional.
Those words spoke like the kiss of death.
But, there was no denying it. My heart was hurting and my body would not allow me to cope in ways that worked before.
I cried bitterly.
Why would God allow me to fall into such brokenness?
Wasn’t He for my good?
Where was He?
How did He let this happen?
As I wept, feeling so alone, a picture appeared to me.
Of the Amazon river. Of the Congo. Of the Amazon jungle. Would I ever dare embark on a safari in the wild without a safari guide?
Would I ever say, “No thank you. I don’t need a guide.”?
No. I would definitely hire an expert. A professional.
To help me navigate.
An expert who has gone down the Amazon river hundreds of times. In the dark. In the day. When it rained. And when it was heat dry.
I would want someone experienced in which plants were poisonous. Which ones were edible. Who knew how the waters would turn and would guide me where to stop, pitch a tent and rest. When we would need to push through, even if the water ran wide.
Someone who has guided hundreds down, in and through the jungle. Who could tell me stories. And equip me with information. Someone carried the right tools. To hack through the thick bushes. And make a way for me to journey to the other side.
Make the Journey
As I held this picture in my mind, I still fought the current. I was still paddling up the river like crazy, refusing to give into the push of where anxiety was leading me.
Until I realized maybe that is where Jesus was leading my heart.
To let go.
To trust Him enough.
To seek out a guide. To navigate the stories of my heart.
Jesus would still do the healing. Jesus would still be the one to give me wisdom.
He would fill me with His courage. Give me strength to endure and step onto this deep, dark journey.
This was a journey of suffering — and life-changing intimacy with the Father — that Jesus choses to face when he became a man.
So I made it official.
I would journey through the Amazon of my heart.
My first step to find the right therapist — began with a desire.
A desire to investigate my heart. My story.
A desire to exercise my faith in a new way. To let go.
To follow the current He allowed to rush into my life.
To be courageous in a new way.
I would make it official.
I would take the journey into my heart. To uncover the truth behind my desire.
I would need new friends for this journey. At least, I’d have to discover which ones could accompany me on this safari of the soul.
I don’t know where you are on the journey of uncovering the stories in your soul.
I don’t know where you find yourself this Thanksgiving season. Last year at this time, I was drowning in uncontrollable anxiety. Depression. Panic attacks.
I didn’t know how long my journey out would take. I saw a therapist twice a week and talked for two hours at time. My heart and body was taken hostage in a time machine of long ago. I found a therapist who specialized in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was a Christian therapist with a PhD who used EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as the mode of therapy. The same therapy used by the State Department used to process vets from the battlefield.
We Can Choose
Even though I had never fought in a war or witnessed any violence or natural disaster, I was a solider in the battlefield of life.
The wounding I experienced took place inside. Where no one could see.
Aren’t we all soldiers for Christ?
Some of us don’t get to choose the battlefield.
But, we can choose to be loved. To be carried.
Because that is what Jesus offers us.
To recover our voice. To take the time. To embrace every every chapter in our stories.
Trusting there is no place Jesus cannot enter.
This Thanksgiving, I can tell you I’ve taken the soul-wrenching journey to uncover the little girl inside me.
And I can tell you without reservation it has been worth every gut-pouring revelation.
Because now like the blind man, I can see. Things I’ve never seen before.
Like the bleeding woman, I am standing in my story. I’m no longer anonymous.
And like the ten lepers Jesus told to “Go and show yourselves to the priests” — they were healed as they were walking with their lesions visible and seen.
This is not an easy thing. Going forward. As is.
It takes faith. A courageous faith.
To open up the parts of ourselves we’d rather hide.
To expose ourselves to a new journey of the heart.
But, as we make the turn into Thanksgiving week, let’s remember.
The one leper who went back to thank Jesus was healed — as he journeyed out in the open. As is.
And when he cried out in a loud voice thanking Jesus — he stepped out from anonymity.
He knew what he wanted.
He wanted to tell his story.
He wanted to see Jesus. Face to face.
He wanted to become known.
Known by Jesus.
Where are you on the journey of uncovering your heart?
What is the story you find yourself journeying through this Thanksgiving season?
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