FROM THE UNDERNEATH
A couple weeks ago, I had a bad week.
Ever had one of those? I would assume you have. But what about the type where lots of good things are happening and, for no apparent reason, you just feel like you are underneath it all? The weeks where, despite countless highs, there you sit, covered in a black cloud and wanting nothing more than to crawl under your sheets and sleep until all the responsibility passes you by.
Those are the worst.
I am a generally happy person and it always overwhelms me when these weeks come along because I just don’t feel emotionally equipped to deal with them. Here I am, pursuing my dreams in a happy home and experiencing fresh and new goodness while simultaneously totally and completely depressed. I think the way to express how I felt was underneath. I felt underneath all my tasks and my to-do list. Underneath my finances and my capabilities. And down there, way down underneath it all, it’s hard to get excited about the good things because they are on top of you.
This is tough shit. It’s ugly. And in these times, I not only feel distant from my Father, but I feel ashamed of my tendency to disregard Him. These dark seasons are difficult to invite my Holy God into because of how ugly they are. I struggle to make contact with the Holy Spirit living inside me because of how nasty it feels in my brain and my heart and I don’t want my creator to live in such a shambled temple. But then, all this avoidance leads to guilt! I am so guilty about abandoning the single most vital aspect of my existence: my spirituality. Let me tell you what, when I am deep in the hole of sadness-with-no-source, time with God seems to fly right out the window. And I am so guilty because I just don’t have time. When you’re underneath your to-do list, it isn’t easy to snuggle into the secret place and commune with God there because there just isn’t time.
Let me tell you a story.
On my great and endless to-do list was “facials with mom”. Such a good thing, but busyness tends to make even joyful things look like burdens. I am sitting in the waiting area, thinking about how much work I have to do and how I should be somewhere else doing something else and along comes that ugly wave of guilt. I should be with God. But I don’t have time. I am sitting in a salon and I have ninety minutes while my mom gets her facial to pump out as much blog content as physically possible. The irony of this is that I am writing about God but am far too busy to run it by Him. And I am stressed. And I am overwhelmed. And I am underneath it all.
And my ninety minutes are up.
The esthetician calls my name to go get my facial, and I am a sight to behold. There are notebooks and pens and bibles and papers spread all around me in this cozy, relaxing waiting room that I have somehow managed to make look like a cubicle in an office building. I frantically gather up all my things and hustle into the room she is waiting for me in, mentally checking this service off my to-do list. Good attitude, right?
I set all my papers and notebooks and ever-so-important lists down and the sweet woman says so easily, “What a beautiful Bible!” I pay her my thanks, always happy to learn of other people who love Jesus, and she tells me about finding her Bible and how happy she is with it. I must be very clear here: I never feel burdened listening to people tell me about their relationship with Christ. There, amongst a week of madness, I get a glimpse of Jesus. Nothing wild or huge, just a small tap on the shoulder from an esthetician who loves her new Bible.
I lie down on the table and close my eyes as she wraps my hair up, feeling like I can let go of my to-do list for the half hour it will take to receive the service, and I hear a familiar whisper.
God is talking.
And He says something so small and quiet that it pounds in my ears for the entire facial. He says, “I am everywhere.”
I am everywhere.
I am in the grocery store as you zip up and down the aisles, counting down the dollars in your bank account as you put the onions in the cart.
I am in the car as you sit in traffic, panicking about getting where you’re headed faster so you can get to the next place faster, always thinking about what is next.
I am in your office as you write, constantly doubting your capabilities and wondering why you ever thought you could do something as important as these dreams.
I am at the gym while you sweat out your months of idleness. I am in the meeting where you keep glancing at your watch. I am in your bed as you stare at the ceiling and do the impossible math of how you will pay the looming debts. I am in your heart as it breaks and I am in your mind as it spins and I am in your body as it withers and I am in your mouth as it repeats the lies it hears from the enemy.
And I am laying here with you, on this table, in this relaxation, begging you to see me everywhere you go. Because I’ve built you in the Secret Place but I’ve sent you into the world and you must see me there.
And the facial ends.
And the darkness still looms.
And I start climbing out of the hole.
I’m still in it. I don’t think I will be out tomorrow or the next day but I am starting to believe God is everywhere and that I can meet Him anywhere. And as I climb, He whispers in my ear about who He is. His whispers are lovely, and sometimes, they are words. Sometimes, the whispers are sunsets or estheticians or a really, really yummy glass of iced tea. But the whispers of God are always hope. And down there, underneath it all, hope is the only currency with any value.
I am learning to listen to the whispers. I am learning to see God in the everywhere and commune with Him there. God’s time is not dictated by the clock, and neither should my affection for Him be.
I am writing from the underneath, confirming that God is indeed here.