If you know me at all, you may know I'm a wee bit of a control freak. And by "wee", I obviously mean I am a very controlling person. I've learned over the last few years I'm the worst kind of controlling, too: I'm the type of controlling who tries very hard to be in control of my life, but who also tries to control the others around me. I know, the worst.
So let's just establish it right off the bat: I'm a control freak, and the last year has been an interesting year in learning how a control freak can be in a relationship with Jesus.
(Spoiler alert: Not well. It basically runs on like bad reality television.)
I've been writing about this year little by little. How I was mad at God for giving me the season I needed, instead of the one I wanted. How I thought my life would look so different by now. About learning lessons of staying. But here's me, flat out saying: I've been ignoring God for the last year.
Not in an obvious way, but in the way a child ignores their parents if their mad. Arms crossed, lips pursed, on the cusp of a temper tantrum. Actually, the best thing I can liken it to is that God and I spent the last year playing Tug of War. He was the tug and I was the war.
& this is where the ignoring, where the fighting comes in. God would try to tug me gently to something, and I would grip the rope and dig my feet in, refusing to move. I got used to the feeling of rope burn on my hands, knuckles white from gripping onto the rope tight any time He tried to move me. I wasn't seeing a lot of growth in my life, because I was being stubborn and I didn't want to grow.
If I'm being even more painfully honest, I operated out of a place of loneliness for a long time. My heart feels like this mosaic of broken hearts, and I kept trying to shove the empty spaces shut any way I could. I did a lot of shopping. I looked for cute boys. I obsessed over going to the gym. I drank a lot of coca cola and I did what I wanted because I wanted to shove the loneliness away. I like being alone, but I'm petrified of being lonely. & a life I once thought was impressive - filled with some accolades and titles - felt lonely and small compared to the lives filled with love around me.
And the whole time, I knew I was operating out of loneliness. I kept saying, "Hannah, you aren't doing any of this because you're healthy and whole and are searching for the next best step of your life. You're doing this because you're grasping at anything that promises short term relief from the loneliness - when you know the only way to get those holes filled is to turn to Jesus."
But I wanted Jesus to stay far away. He would tug me towards him and I would dig in deeper. I wanted His hands off my life. I wanted to take the wheel. I wanted to win tug of war. I wanted to plan out my life and have Him just get behind it.
So lately, my holely heart and I have been coming to Jesus and saying, "I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm so sorry for ignoring you. Here's my heart and pieces of my life. My timing is not your timing. My plans are not your plans. You have to teach me how to get my heart to believe that. And also how to let go of the rope."
It's been an awkward re-introduction. I don't know why I'm so hesitant to give my whole heart back to someone I trust and believe in so much. For a while, it felt like I was getting silence back. I was asking, "Who am I supposed to be in you?" and there was nothing. Until this week.
I couldn't figure out why I was placed where I needed to be, even though it was so far from where I wanted to be. I didn't know why I had to stand in the middle of this season, while my heart screamed out other desires. And then, there were some God moments early on in the week, and it just clicked while I was making tea, and I let go of the metaphorical rope I'd been clutching.
I suddenly realized, "Oh. You're us ing what my heart's been aching for all this time. You're going to take those raised up scars on my heart and use them. You're using this to bring about good. I see it now."
Before, it was hard to see the why of the season. It felt like nothing was going to come of it. It was just going to be a seasonal standoff between me and God. And I've been in hard seasons. I can see how God uses death and divorce and daddy issues. I see how easily those kinds of pain could be spun into silver linings. This season, I wasn't seeing silver linings. I was sick of waiting and I was barely seeing the point and I couldn't see flecks of silver.
When I started to understand, when I felt God whisper in why He created me - for more moments where I find out the why, for more moments where pieces of my story help another - that's when I see it. It makes the rope burned hands hurt a little less. It grows my trust. It makes me think that maybe the waiting place isn't terrible and it isn't what I've made it out to be. It makes me want to let go of control and let go of the rope.
If you've made it this far, congrats. I wish I could make you a celebratory button, or sit down with you, tea cupped in our hands, feet curled in the sand or in fresh spring grass to say this next part.
Here's me, in front of you, hands raw and red from rope burn. And I'm not sure why I'm writing and sharing this, because Christians don't talk about what it looks like to ignore God when we get placed in places we don't want to be, with answers to questions we weren't asking. Yet, I believe in the power of sharing stories.
So. To those who also have rope burned hands. To those who have a strong lung capacity because they've been holding their breath for maybes. To those who have lashed out at God in a temper tantrum. To those who are in the midst of Tug of War with God. I'm praying your God whisper moment comes soon. I'm praying you see the why in this season. I'm praying you put down your weapons of war and let yourself be tugged. I'm praying you can trace the ink smudges and edits in your story.