I have been biting my finger nails lately.
That means I'm stressed.
I don't even notice I'm doing it, really. But it's a tell tale sign that too much is going on.
If someone would ask me, "Taryn, are you stressed?"
I would say, "No, I'm fine."
But it's because I like to see the glass half full. And, I'm realizing... I'm so proud. I'm too afraid to admit when life isn't all put together. I want it to appear like everything is smooth sailing. Anything else would show weakness.
Then, I become irritated that I put on a mask, because facades are so fake. And I'm all about REAL. So, in an effort to fool everyone into thinking everything is 100%, I compromise being genuine. And I hate that.
Don't get me wrong-- not everyone wants a thorough outpouring of my heart every time they ask "How are you doing?" nor do people need me to coat every response with emotional drama.
But I don't think that's the point. The point is... I must be honest. With myself, and with others. And especially with God.
So here we go... my best attempt at being real:
Lately, I have been struggling to keep my head above water. To top it off, I have been consistently indifferent towards God-- to my shame. I realize that the life of every Christian tends to be a roller coaster, but it kills me to admit that I'm in a down loop right now.
To explain, I have been slacking on being in the Word. I have also been turning off conversation with God. I didn't realize I was doing it until I came to the core of the problem-- to talk to God would entail honesty. It would entail owning my struggles, owning my pride, and owning my lack of faith. And those are things, quite frankly, that I just don't feel like doing. So I cut off communication.
Trust me-- it's not a good idea. Because, quite simply, it doesn't work.
All it has done is it has left me feeling directionless, and I really don't like that feeling.
Yet, God still proves His faithfulness and provision to me, despite my lack of Faith. And it is in this that I realize that his goodness and Love is not dependent on my performance... thank goodness. I need that reminder from time to time, yet it is no excuse to slack off.
I had a really good conversation with someone last weekend. I was with a group of people, and the two of us walked off alone. I was in a pensive mood-- which is always a recipe for a heart-to-heart.
Thankfully, she is an excellent listener and wonderful advice-giver, and someone I look up to and trust. I don't know her that extremely well, but well enough to confide in.
So I did. I poured out my heart to her, and I was completely uninhibited. It was exactly what I needed to do. Mostly, because I needed to acknowledge where I was-- verbally. I needed someone to hear it, other than the walls of my heart and chambers of my mind.
I told her that I was slacking off on praying. That I wasn't actively communicating to God like I used to-- I used to talk to him every minute of every day and tell Him everything. How I was falling behind on my Bible reading plan, but I desired to do better. I told her about a prayer project I started a couple of years ago that was one of the hugest blessings in my life, but somehow, I had managed to put it off for the last several months. I told her about my business and how it's going through an entirely tough and challenging time, and how overwhelming it is. How insecure it makes me feel, and how it's hard sometimes to come home to an empty house and spend my weekends catching up on laundry and cooking meals... for one. I told her that amidst all of this, none of it is an excuse to put off God, or to ignore Him. Because in it all is a blessing. In it is an amazing timetable and weaving of the Spirit's hands, and I can't challenge that... because His ways are so much higher than my ways.
This friend was an angel to me on this particular night, simply because she listened. And that's what I needed... someone to listen and understand and encourage.
I have been thinking about that conversation and my spiritual state this whole week. As I continue through this typically busy and stressful set of days, I am realizing more and more that the Spirit continues to nudge me and call me back.
The Lord is saying... Taryn. Get in my Word. Taryn... talk to me. Taryn... don't give up, I love you and have been using you all along.
I am convinced that we go through these times in order to give us an opportunity to be refined. On the day I talked to my friend, I read this particular devotion out loud to a few different people, because it spoke volumes to me. It comes from the devotion series I am working on right now called "The Confident Woman," and I loved the words. I'll close with it now: