God the Bartender: On Why He Shakes and Stirs Me

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You may have noticed that I’m a little uncomfortable these days.

It’s true.

It’s like God is making me live inside this website, except that the red bird is inside the cage, quite comfortable thank you, and He has the audacity to push me out, setting me free. Only I prefer the comfort and safety of right now to the freedom that a cageless life might be.

No, it doesn’t seem like I need further healing (though I often do). In this instance, God is stirring me to think outside my comfortable life. Maybe because we’re now five years post France. Maybe it’s because I see the Kingdom of God as bigger than my life here. Maybe it’s just my quest for creativity and difference. I’m not sure.

But God is shaking me.

God is stirring me.

Why?

To place me in a new situation so that I have to trust Him fully. When I have my comfortable caged life, I know the parameters. I know my life. I know what will happen and what won’t. I can insulate myself from interacting with others. I can play it entirely safe. I can trust in me, not God.

That is until God interrupts me. I picture Him sitting across from me as if He’s a bartender, and I’m a needy patron.

“I’m just not feeling it, God. I’m unsettled.”

He smiles. “That’s because you’ve micromanaged your life in such a way that you can always be in control of it.”

“Ouch,” I say.

God shakes and stirs a drink before me, and the irony is not lost on me. As He does so, I feel my insides turn to vertigo. I am the one He is shaking and stirring. And then He says, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.”

“Luke 17:33, right?” I ask.

“Yes. Now the question is, how will you live in light of it? How are you clinging to security? What primarily occupies your mind?”

My insides quake. “Right now, it feels like my whole life is geared toward security.” I hang my head.

“Don’t hang your head,” He says. “You’re on a journey. There is a time for everything. You’ve been in a season of healing–a very necessary season. But I’m pushing you out of that season.”

“Well, if You could just be so kind as to tell me exactly what that season will entail, I would really appreciate it.”

“Mary, how much faith would it take if you knew the future before you decided to take a leap?”

“Good question. Not a whole lot.”

“Do you remember adventure?”

“I lived that adventure in France. Only we both know how well that turned out. It felt like death to me, and in the aftermath it’s still hard to understand why we had to live through that.”

“But you did live through it. And you grew. And your family still loves Me. And your marriage is intact. All good things, right?”

“Yes, I have to admit, God, that some of my most profound internal growth came on the soil of France and all the devastation there. But I also have to admit that I’m freaking scared of stepping out again. You and I both know how clay footed I am. How prone to sin. How small. How needy.”

“Yes, but You forget the paradox of my strength made perfect in weakness.”

I sigh. Take a drink of the concoction He’s created. It’s bitter and smooth and delicious and terrible all at once. Kind of like a walk of faith. “You know I love You,” I say, swallowing again. “You know that, right?”

“Yes, I do. So I’m asking You to trust Me. Just for the next step.”

“Sure, what’s that step again?”

God laughs. “Just trust Me. I’ll show you in due time. In the meantime, don’t beat yourself up over not being enough. No one ever is. Your sufficiency has always been in Me. Not in what you accomplish. You’re not defined by the failure in France any more than you’re defined by the books you write. You are wildly loved by Me simply because I created you. You’re my child. The more you realize and rest in that, the more settled and peaceful you’ll be. It’s time for another adventure. All I ask is that you simply take My hand.”

I reach across the bar, grab His sacred hand, knowing I’ll never be the same.

 

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