Thursday, February 27, 2014

Meet Me in the Middle

It's way late in February and I'm wearing my funk tonight like a badge of honor.
It's here, ya'lls. I'm owning it.

I can't say precisely how it found me, but then I remember that it won't ever stop snowing and my face keeps freezing off and most of our travel plans for the past 3 months have been thwarted and my family is too far and I have so much to do and and and... I feel like the funk makes perfect sense.

You know what? Why not get honest? Isn't that why I'm here? Isn't that what we all want most from each other?

Here's a short list of things I've been struggling with today: discontent, jealousy, greed, anger, impatience, selfishness, laziness, self-doubt, "the grumps", and bad hair.

It's been a real halo-tilter.

All day long I wrung my hands, then rallied. Then wrung my hands, then rallied.
Poor Silas, left alone all day with the likes of me.

I feel like God is speaking to me about some things, but I sort of don't like where the conversation is going, and I don't want to put the time and attention into really listening. Because then what? Then I have a choice to make, that's what. So instead of sitting down to talk, I keep whining about what isn't even clear to begin with. Classic Shannan.

So, just to be clear, my heart is full of crud at the moment. Lest anyone ever think otherwise, I struggle by the hour to tamp down my sinfulness. And that's on a good day.

I want nothing more than to be near to God, but I expect him to somehow make that happen by osmosis or another miraculous work of his hand. I want to fill all my hours with every unnecessary thing until demands and inconsistencies meets the rim and splash down over the sides. I clearly want to trudge to bed each night in complete exhaustion, wearing the palest shade of grief. I want to fight my very life, this high calling to slow down and pay attention. I want what I want. I want my plans to succeed. I want to run shamelessly away from obedience then blame God for not running even faster. Here's my water, God. Turn me into wine.

It's no coincidence that I'm waging war with myself right now. The timing couldn't be better.
Though it's fighting to outlast my will, all clenched fists and gritting teeth, Winter's days are numbered. And with their end, Spring.

But smack dab in-between, resting right in the cleft of now and then, is Lent.
It's new to me, but I can hear it calling.

I'm desperate to lose myself. I'm so dang tired of my own dreary company.
I'm sick of rationalizing my decisions and even confronting my sin has lost its luster.

I just want more.
All I want is less.

It's time to sort some of this out.

Thanks for listening, friends. I can't see all your faces, but I have a clear picture of who you are, and you make me better. We take turns being broken, right? We always tell the truth.

Whatever your truth is tonight, whatever it is you need to face, just know I'm nudging you to get down to business and do it. And know that I hear you saying the same to me.

All my love tonight,


  1. Satan was alive and well in your neck of the woods today too? Good grief, he is a pain in the rear!!! I have been "wielding my sword" against him for days....sometimes well, sometimes not! This community is a circle where we can fight better because we are together. I'm fighting alongside you right now....swinging with all my might!

    Praying for you as you "get down to business".....ask that you do the same for me!

    1. He is SUCH a pain in the.....rear. (I'll be nice, I guess.) ;)
      Praying for you tonight, Sister! Thankful for you.

  2. Shannan it's as if you are in my head and my heart....... I can identify with every single word and your nudging to get down to business brought tears right to my eyes. I too want what I want and want MY plans to be successful and why can't He just give me that closeness without the work on my part, I mean I DO love Him and want to be closer to Him......

    I'm nudging you back, friend and praying for you. Thank you for your utter honesty that causes me to be honest with myself. <3

  3. I needed that nudge. Here's mine to you. Dig in.

  4. can i recommend a link? this post is by my dear friend and she loves jesus like crazy but she has a little something to say about "religion" and it's helpfulness... and getting right with your soul. sending warmth & love your way - liv

  5. I'm right with you. haha on the lent calling. i'm hearing it too ;) something funny. but not: wednesday a missionary and his wife spoke to our bible study (it's big, like a hundred) they sorta brought Christianity to Mongolia (whoa.) there was a question time and I asked this question (#noshame) "when you are out there in the mission field, does it always feel spiritual? or is it more normal? his answer, given with a sorta puzzled look: . . . "most of the time it feels pretty spiritual". and to be honest I did not expect that answer! mine does not feel spiritual while I am running kids around, doing laundry, shopping, cooking, etc. all the mom stuff! I am guessing the difference between his life and mine has more to do with him being in the presence of God by spending time with Him, rather than because of his (amazing) calling.
    what do you think?

    xoxo ellie

    1. i'm surprised at the answer, too. i imagine my missionary friend would say no. could simply be a difference in personalities.

    2. Yes, shocked! I love that you asked.
      Maybe he was splitting hairs a bit? I don't know. We are forever falling into rhythms, and those rhythms end up feeling normal, to some extent. Interesting and something I'm sure I'll be thinking on!

  6. I don't think we take turns with bring broken - we're all broken, all the time. Only the brave ones let themselves have awareness of the brokeness - and recognize it as gift - a gift that's doubled and tripled in the sharing.
    Ms Shannon - that's you!
    As usual, your words shot straight to my heart - and I thank you!

  7. There's a great quote that keeps rolling around in my head. "God's acquaintance is not made hurriedly. He does not bestow His gifts on the casual or hasty comer and goer. To be much alone with God is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him." (EM Bounds) God woke me up early this morning, and I still managed to squander the minutes until I was only halfway through my Bible study when the first set of little feet came pattering through the kitchen. :-( Why do I do that?

    1. This!!! Yes! How do I find SO many things to do before little feet awake?!?:)

      Praying for you and me that we will be focused on His word first thing in the morning!

  8. This spoke so directly to how I've been feeling lately! Just in one big funk. God is so good through these time, and I feel like He's trying to lead my through it and I'm not quite sure how to follow Him out. Praying for you through all this!


  9. God looks at you with a YES face...all your gunk-hidden in Christ!!!! All HIS promises-YES, in Christ, for you. He redeems our life from the pit! Our sin is a burden-I am so thankful for your honesty and transparency on your blog. Thank God-it's a burden Christ carried and carries-keep pressing on!

  10. Shannon, this makes me think of one of my favorite Casting Crowns songs:

    "Somewhere In The Middle"

    Somewhere between the hot and the cold
    Somewhere between the new and the old
    Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
    Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

    Somewhere between the wrong and the right
    Somewhere between the darkness and the light
    Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
    Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

    Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

    Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
    Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
    With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
    But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
    Are we caught in the middle

    Somewhere between my heart and my hands
    Somewhere between my faith and my plans
    Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

    Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
    Somewhere between the altar and the door
    Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
    Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

    Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

    Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
    Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

  11. So very familiar with the funk and fight some days! Thanks for your honesty here : ) Praying for you girl. We all have our junk and things we try to work through on a daily basis. I've experienced it with my best friend a lot. If one of us is up, the other is down but we take turns helping raise the other up. Spring is coming soon!!! It's a given. Happens every year. You can count on it just like God : )

  12. I'm living in Funkville right now. I've got a cute little house there that I am obsessively redecorating (for months and months). I keep telling myself that I'll listen for God's whispers soon… maybe when my life looks tidier. Maybe when adult children don't need a thousand second chances or when a parent's Alzheimer's doesn't leave you in the depths of existential despair. Maybe then. In the meantime, I feel like it's best that I just stay put, inside these four paint swatched walls and maybe just move furniture around again. It's a working theory.

  13. Ah, the dark and twisty place. I was in it deep yesterday. But then at supper, my son (author of the Valentine's Day Lego Poem) prayed this prayer: Dear God, please help this food from our mother be good. And just like that, I saw the sun. The dark and twisty place can't live where there's laughter, evidently. I'm so glad God doesn't ask us to be graceful speedsters in this race...just steadfast.

  14. In the same place! Last night I felt to sad and lost... it was annoying. I wanted to cry, got in an argument with my husband, and so far today, im in the same funk. annoying to say the least. praying that God will show us his love today.

  15. I am new to Lent as well and jumped in with Jennifer Dukes Lee and The Love Idol Movement for these two very reasons: "I want what I want... " & "I just want more. All I want is less."

    So much Amen... and thanks - because, yes! We all want real and honest and we are all sweetly broken (although rarely does it feel Sweetly, right?)

  16. Think positive Calvin lost ten pounds! (W/ his hair cut!)

  17. I love reading you because you are so real and a voice to what all of us are probably thinking and going through, too. This life is some confusing business along with hormones an emotions, and isn't great that we all have each other?

  18. God kicked me in the rear with this yesterday - "Part of maturing is ceasing to equate hard with bad". Darnit. :)

  19. I need the nudge but I can't deal with it. And so I keep running,only thing is that sometime you have to stop running and then what....
    Thanks for your words Shannon,as always they reach and touch me x

  20. In the midst of your funk (because I feel it, too and love reading your every word and deeply appreciate your honesty and openness), know that you are inspiring to the point that I splurged on flowers tonight at Publix to put in a pitcher.:). I'll pray for you each time I look at them.

  21. lent is calling.
    literally…calling to me.
    big step of obedience coming this week.
    so hard. but so good.

    i'm getting down to business. no time to waste.
    glad you're doing the same.

  22. Shannan, I don't often comment here, but this post spoke into deep places in me, lately. Thanks for keeping it real. For nudging. And probably most of all, for reminding us that we don't ask that he turn our water into wine, alone.

  23. It's been a long winter here in Maryland too--literally and figuratively. Shakespeare didn't say "Now is the SUMMER of our discontent", now did he?? Sigh….. Found this prayer on Pinterest the other day, while trying not to bleed from my eyeballs with craziness. It may seem trite but it encouraged me. Maybe it will do the same for you:

    "Dear God, if today I lose my hope, please remind me that your plans are better than my dream."

  24. Thank you for putting into words exactly how I've been feeling. I am actually shocked at how discontented I have been lately. Thank you for the reminder that spring is coming! I need spring more than ever this year, both inside my soul, and outside. I'm parched.

  25. I always love reading your words. But especially this hits home...I don't know that I've realized a lot of my "funk" times are related to my sins. Just reading your list of struggles for the day just helped me see more clearly for what it is. Thanks for the nudge to get down to business.