Some if this might be heretical.

I was going to sit down and write one of those stream of consciousness posts. But my thoughts are more like a stagnate puddle, a quagmire, if you will. Please forgive the convoluted nature of this post.

In II Corinthians, Paul says that we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If a girl had written II Corinthians, it would have admonished us to take every emotion captive to the obedience of Christ. I can hear my dad arguing right now. “Cheryl, your emotions follow your thoughts. Think rightly and you will feel rightly.” Well, when he has a period, he can comment on the wiley emotions we of the fairer sex deal with on a daily basis. They are as much of a part of our every moment as lust is for a man during a Baywatch marathon. And they are louder than truth sometimes. I concede they are not more powerful, but they are louder. The conflict between truth and emotions is like sitting at the dinner table with your aunt and uncle. You ask your uncle a question and before he has a chance to answer, in fact before you finish asking the question, your gregarious aunt launches into her response. There’s no time to change the subject or even take cover. She’s compelling and determined. She screeches in a tinny, high pitched, nasally, completely unignorable voice, eventually exiting the room, still ranting, as she goes into the kitchen to show the chef how she cooks carrots. You’re exhausted and overwhelmed. You look at your uncle, and in a voice that is gentle and stable, he wisely offers a clear and rational resolution. As a girl, we often have to ride out the emotional tidal wave before we can find the anchor of truth. That’s the tough part. Girls have NO choice in whether they will be buffeted by their emotions. We do have a choice to get carried away in their current or to wait until we can find the lighthouse of truth that leads us into a safe harbour and not into the churning surf. (I don’t like that sentence. It is way too…emotionally driven.)

My mind tells me that I cannot mess up God’s plan. Forget my mind. His word says that nothing, not even your selfishness, Cheryl, can thwart God’s plans. My emotions, trained well at Camp Legalism, tell me that if I don’t make the right choices, I miss out on God’s blessing. This bites the proverbial thumb at grace. He blesses me because of HIS character, not mine. It is HIS Spirit that brings forth my sanctification in HIS time and in HIS way. I know that He delights in me and wants good things for me. I know that there is nothing good outside of Him. In fact, I am pretty sure I read somewhere that everything besides knowing Him is rubbish. But I also know that my heart is far more concerned with my own happiness than with suffering with Him. I stagger under the weight of desires beyond Him. I know that He is the only satisfaction, but I feel scared that He will ask me to do something I just can’t do, or that will ask me to sacrifice the things He has already given me.

I, Cheryl R. Wood, have a heart that desires things other than my Jesus who just wants me. I stand here an adulterous beggar who can’t seem to find her royal robes that were purchased with the Life and Blood of my great Pursuer.

Ah, the great disconnect between heart and mind. To know that He has good things, but to feel that if your heart wants it, it must not be right. But if I delight in Him, He gives me desires that He can’t wait to fulfill. But in my moments of greatest delight, I have given Him my heart in the most surrendered way I knew how, and my heart wandered right where it was not meant to go. How do you know when He has given you a desire and you should walk in it or when your longings are your hearts whorish passion for it’s own glory?

In the last two years I have learned to receive His love for me in ways that made me free, joyful and beautiful. And now I feel lost. People keep saying, “Cheryl, I see His blessing for you coming around the next corner. It’s coming!” Sometimes I feel like no matter how fast I run, the “corner” is always 50 yards off. This must be what they are talking about when they talk about life on the treadmill. But what would life look like when I arrive and some nebulous place that is “just around the corner.” Thus my prize should be running after Him. Those who seek Him will find Him. And I want to only want Him. But I want other things too. Somehow, there is a crack between KNOWING that He is the only satisfaction and still looking to other things to fill my leaky bucket. I read that cracks let the light in. I like that.

And that is where I am. The goal is surrender. I have a friend who I pray for…nay, PLEAD for God to bring to a place of surrender. God gave me a vision of said friend, prostrate with open hands presenting his life and dreams fully to God’s tender and wild heart. And so I pray this vision to come to pass soon. I claim it, if you will. But the more I pray for my friend the more God shows me that my petitions for him are what He is asking of me. I have prayed the “Here I am, all of me” prayer. Apparently that’s not a one-time deal. And so I wrestle with Him. I so desperately want to be at that place of release where all of my desires to fill myself with joy are given over to Him. The fears of failure, hurt and never being satisfied are let go. They walk loudly out of the room, and I can hear the subtle anchor of truth whispering to me from across the table. “I love you. I’m with you. I have plans for you that you can’t even imagine. Most of all, I have Me for you. Don’t be afraid. Let me change you. Be still, Cheryl.”

May that day be soon.

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10 Responses to Some if this might be heretical.

  1. Sam says:

    “hang in there, cheryl. or don’t. whatever.”

    love you tons. fighting (and crying) with you on this one.

  2. cheryl says:

    why, if i had a nickle for every public place you and i have had melt downs, i wouldn’t have to take up collections for a new bathing suite:)

    You are a soul friend, sam.

  3. Sam says:

    you’re so much better with words than i am-so just know i’m huggin you like crazy right now. and, of course, crying. i am in a public place, so what else is there for me to do?? 🙂

  4. John the Henderson says:

    While you girlies cry I’m going to sit here with a big grin on my face. I have always had romantic tendencies and I so enjoy watching all this through your candid honesty. Cheryl, you and Jesus are the kind of couple that bring a warm quiet excitement over me when I hear about what you are up to.

    I see comonalities here: “emotions, trained well at Camp Legalism, tell me that if I don’t make the right choices, I miss out on God’s blessing” that’s such a universal fear, just add to it the fact that a guy feels responsible for the weight of that plus its impact on his wife and kids. As a single guy I feel the responsibility for the effect on my wife and kids, until I remember it’s a lie. Don’t be discouraged that you hear lies, delight in the fact that the Spirit alloys you to percieve them and know them to be lies.

    Other random thoughts: Lust is not at all rational and in that sense I would call it emotional, it’s a mans version of the same emotional attack you mentioned. Men have emotional storms too. Men are also cyclical, single guys have pms too (pre-marrital syndrome) also known as long business trip for the married men. I’m not going to go into detail or argue that ours is worse but it is much more frequent.

    “How do you know when He has given you a desire and you should walk in it or when your longings are your heart’s whorish passion for it’s own glory” Good question. I wonder what Paul means when he says that he doesn’t judge himself. We should flee idolatry when God points it out to us, but we aren’t told to go down into the darkenss of our hearts with a flashlight looking for “whorish” motives. Satan can really work you over if you go down there. Its like when Peter took his eyes off Jesus. There are big waves in our hearts and our motives, just keep your eyes fixed on Christ. He knows what pace we can handle, let Him bring idols out of the souls closet to be thrown away. If we try too hard to clean up ourselves we will usually end up burried under a load He never intended for us to try to handle.

  5. Sharon says:

    I went to Camp Legalism! Who was your counselor. My first year I had Shame Onyou, she was Belgian. My second year I had Yougot Guilt, she was German. My last year I had Condemna Shon, she was African.

    This year I decided that I hated that camp, so I’ve gone to Camp Itaintaboutme! You would love this camp. Everyone is in bad shape, but you still feel loved and adored. You don’t have to be perfect here, but they will help you become that way eventually. The cool part is they only help you with one issue at a time. They teach us how to live free of worry and doubt. It’s great! By the way, my counselor this year was Grace!

    My Father sent me to this camp! I think you should ask my Father to send you too!

    Happy Camping!!

    (Love you Middle Sis!)

  6. Jon says:

    Hey, I really want to say something encouraging, but i cant seem to find fitting words…

    I have described my life the last couple years as, “God taking the training wheels off”, and I’ll just tell you, I dont think I’m ready for a big-boy-bike. I know for me, I often get tempted to try and bypass some of the tough situtations, but I look through it and see a different me on the other side. He’s in the business of building the kingdom inside you and me as much as he is about building the kingdom around us and through.

    I hope you know that I am challenged and enocouraged by what you wrote.
    ( except for all that girly emotional talk… )

  7. cheryl says:

    you all are reminding me of the things I am clinging to…well, that are clinging to me. sharon, that was so clever of you! seriously i was laughing and then bawling. it was the most sudden emotional transistion. i love you too, oldest sis!

    to the jo(h)n(s) – thanks, guys! you both encourage me with your walk/stagger/sprint towards Jesus as I have lived life with you over the last few years. my brothers, you are!

    i know that He and I will get through this. until the other side, i am so blessed to have friends who hold my arms up when i just want to find another starbucks and cry away the afternoon.

    However long the night, morning does break. African Proverb.

  8. amy says:

    i just got caught up on the doule… and i love that you all fight to love Jesus. c – i feel privileged to hear your audio blog via you on the weekends ;).

  9. mom says:

    I re-read your blog because your dad asked what I thougt about your vision and I knew I had read it, but, being forgetful, I had to come back and see exactly what it was. The prostrate, hands open vision. “Prostrate.” That’s the first definition for “worship” in my Bible dictionary. That’s obedience, knowing WHO HE IS and responding to His Position in faith. You, probably having the love language of Quality Time, are not proned to want advice, rather great heart-to-heart conversation/communication, I, being strong in the same love language style, have a couple of observations–not advice?–GOD desires that we love Him above all else, and if all else were lost, we still MUST have/want Him, but He does not say we should not want other things, too. He has given us all things to enjoy. My second comment is that it is HIS job to reach down deep and observe your soul and bring to light what He desires to change, when He wants that to happen. I think you are trying to “sanctify” yourself. You can’t. I think you need to go back and read John the Henderson’s comments again. Also, I think you need to re-read the comment by the other Jon. (Cheryl, I think you need to go to the Johns.) Seriously, there’s some good thinking in their comments. The other comments by your female friends are so precious and supportive and just what you need from them and I am glad you have such a warm collection of friends–I mean a collection of warm friends. I think you are working to hard, too frantic. God can take care of your “mistakes” if there are mistakes. Live life. Respond to Him. There I go, giving advice. I love you. Mom

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