31 STORIES OF FAITH ADVENTURES
DAY 31: LOOKING BACK
When we get to the end of something, it is just human nature to stop and look back. We look at the ground we covered, the steps we took, or the end product we crafted. And because we all have the inner judge that makes shows like American Idol a hit, we want to critique our journey. Could we have walked faster here or fixed a bottleneck there? Does our end product look wonky, heavy on this end and light on the other?
What did we learn? Where did we succeed? Where could we have done better?
Stopping and evaluating. It’s a motherly thing to do.
Whenever I read the story of Lot, and hear about his wife turning back to look upon the city, it frightens me to no end. She is instantly turned to a pile of salt for her action of disobedience.
I’ve heard sermons and explanations about how she looked back because she loved the debauchery of the burning city, but that isn’t clearly spelled out in the scriptures. It is only clear that she was instructed to not look back by an angel of the Lord, and she explicitly disobeyed the command.
I imagine myself in this scenario, and I can easily see myself stopping to look back for many reasons, curiosity, thoughts of my physical goods and sentimental items burning up in flames, concern for humans dying in the fires (even if they are wicked), or just to take a moment and process the traumatic moment that my family was living through.
Would I have to courage to follow the command to run away from the familiarity of home into uncertainty? Would I have the strength to keep my eyes forward and the self-control to not turn my gaze toward the fire storm?
The fact that I have to put my iPhone in a different room from me if I want to spend time away from social media tells me that it might have been difficult to obey that angel’s command.
Since no one commanded me not to, I’m to stand here on this page with my hands on my hips and look back at my month of writing. I’m going to beg my inner judge to put on lenses of grace and mercy as I self-evaluate. And I’m going to tell you what I learned this month.
First, I’ll tell you that I learned my husband supports me, more than I could ever dream. He’s my biggest fan, and I don’t know how I could type out one word without his support.
On day 16, I had this false sense of pride wash over me. I had gotten my t-shirt commemorating the Write 31 Days movement in the mail. I was wearing it while calmly going about my day, so thrilled that I had made it half way through the month. I had the untrue illusion that I had climbed the mountain, and now all I had to do was hike back down.
The truth is that every day was a uphill climb, even today.
So when my writing didn’t come easy that day, I wanted to quit. I was tired of myself, and I was sure everyone reading had to be tired of me too. Our house was not just unclean, it was gross. And I couldn’t seem to muster the ability to put a load of laundry in the wash because the thought of folding it exhausted me completely.
I decided I should quit. My husband convinced me to keep writing, and he helped me get that days post done before the day was over, even if it was 11pm.
Not only that, the next week, he sent me out for a dinner with friends while he did 7 loads of laundry.
I don’t know how I ended up with such an amazing husband. He is selfless and kind.
Maybe if Lot had been that kind of husband, it would have been easier for his wife to follow him without looking back. (Because we all know Lot was the greedy after he picked the best land when given the option by his uncle Abraham.)
Second, I learned that being self-conscious doesn’t get easier. I’m just as hesitant to share this post as I was day 1 or day 2’s post. Putting my thoughts in the form of sentences to be picked apart by the crows of the world doesn’t get easier. I just have to keep letting my precious kernels out into the world, whether they are left to bury into soil or carried away by the Grackle birds that my friend Kirsten exterminates with her shotgun on a regular basis. I don’t get to control people’s reactions to my writing.
All I can do is do my best to be honest and listen to my husband who keeps telling me that it is good.
And third, it is hard to be completely honest. Nice girls aren’t always bare-bones honest. Nice girls like to protect feelings and look like the good girl that they want the world to see them as. Being honest isn’t always pretty and sweet. It is a difficult thing to use discernment. Sometimes it is good to show the ugly side of who we are or what we’ve been through. But we also don’t want to end up like Lot’s wife, loving the ugly side of humanity so much that you would choose it over your own family’s well being.
Right now I am 38 years, 8 months, and 25 days old. I don’t know my expiration date, but I could quite possibly live more years than I have lived so far.
Looking at the topic of faith adventures from that perspective, I don’t know anything do I?
Or I could go on to settle into a simple life of depending on my income, credit, past victories, and amazing husband.
I could easily never live out faith in God another day in my life.
The hard thing to believe is that God would continue to love me the exact enormous amount anyway, every boring day of that life.
He loved me that same overflowing amount before I existed, on my very worst day, and on my very best day.
Faith adventures are not about earning God’s love. They are about learning more about it. And I can’t think of anything I rather do.
Music embodies everything that is good about life. It makes me happy. I love the Dr. Dog album Fate, and this is one of the highlights off that album. Toby from Dr. Dog has one of the most dramatic voices, and the lyrics he writes are weighty. But life needs this theatrical touch sometimes.