Circles Going Somewhere
"I was going 'round in circles
But with you I'm getting there."
I woke up singing that this morning. Must've written in my dream. Repeated it a few times so I wouldn't forget. It felt important.
A few minutes later I opened the Bible to a Psalm. Last night my friend had shared with me in a Marco Polo chat how when she read a Psalm the other day, she GOT it--it all applied to her like it was written for her. How suffering and pain stream out of her and mix with her praise and worship...how while it comes out as a soulful, welcome authenticity to others, it still feels like aching to her. It's the common story for those of us who feel everything in the world deeply.
So many people right now are experiencing all the feels. For some, it's too much; it's so heavy. It wants to take them down. May what I discovered today be a word that lifts you up and makes you able to rise above what's coming at you in such a new, unexpected way that it causes you to catch air and fly!
The Circles Lead Somewhere Good.
We who have found Jesus have such a precious anchor on this stormy earth. His Holy Spirit will guide us through the mess, step by step. Here's an example: this morning I was searching for the Psalm my friend read but instead landed on another. It dovetails with hers and explains some things. With the phrase "God is not kidding" ringing in my mind for some reason, my eyes found Psalm 24.
God claims the world as His. Everything and everyone belongs to Him! He's the one who pushed back oceans to let dry ground appear, planting firm foundations for the earth. Who, then, ascends into the presence of the Lord? Who has the privilege of entering into God's Holy Place? Those whose hands are clean--whose works and ways are pure, whose hearts are true and sealed by the truth, those who will never deceive, whose words are sure. They will receive the Lord's blessing and righteousness given by the Savior-God. They will stand before God, for they seek the pleasure of God's face. (Selah--pause in God's presence)
Wake up, you living gateways! Lift up your heads, you ageless doors of destiny! Welcome the King of Glory, for He is about to come through you.
How does this apply to my friend's emotional rollercoaster ride through life, explain her desperate praise that stems from a place of deep need to remember God's goodness in the loops and cycles? It reveals the reason why it has to be this way, how this way is planned by God for our good--a real and necessary way that is thorough and good, so good in the long run. He is not kidding. There is a protocol, by His sovereign design.
Psalm 23:3 says it like this: "He opens before me pathways to God's pleasure, and leads me along in His footsteps of righteousness." The footnote for this in the Passion Bible says, "It is a common trait for sheep on the hillsides...to circle their way up higher. They eventually form a path that keeps leading them higher. Each step we take following our Shepherd will lead us higher, even though it may seem we are going in circles."
Ah, there's my song. How did I know I would read this today??
She's being refined. The revolving circles aren't for nothing. They're leading somewhere good, so good. Those repeated cycles of suffering mixed with praise are for a wonderful purpose. By each one of them, He is leading her higher, making her to know Him for real again, stripping off lies and pretense, keeping her authentic and raw, building her faith, getting her ready to meet Him face to face. So shall He do for all of us who want to end up in the Lord's presence forever.
To be with God in His Holy Place is a privilege that only some will enjoy: those who ascend the hill. We all have to live life here in this fallen world, dealing with all of the issues that come with it as a matter of course. Many choose to wander. He wants us all to climb.
Step by step, believing God's promises even while feeling the cruel mountain winds in our face, we can make our slow, winding way up throughout our time here on earth. We can choose to do it intentionally...and we can even do it with joy. As we diligently seek Him and fully expect His reward for childlike belief, we will experience life knowing that we are heirs to the awesome inheritance that’s in keeping with faith! (Hebrews 11:6)
These are the footsteps of righteousness toward the summit; this is the path of faith. Faith pleases God. To know His pleasure, we have to have real-life opportunities to believe Him past all obstacles. Faith without implementation is dead; the power of His promises will never be revealed unless we engage them in real time. To do that, we have to seek His face in hard moments and know Him for real. We have to. This is by His design. He is not kidding. The story of heaven and earth is His; He makes up the rules of the game. Circles of desperate need have to meet with encounters with His endless supply, over and over, again and again. This allows His goodness and mercy to flow into this fallen world and influence it. As we know and believe Him through hard times, we become living gateways for His nature and character to come through.
This is the way it has to be, to build according to the compound effect. Small actions done consistently form massive patterns and establish solid structures. What will remain when all is said and done will have been built by tiny choices made over and over.
The Lord is helping my friend build a life worth living: real and solid and true and honestly amazing.
What if all day, our frame of reference for annoyance and pain and suffering...AND joy and peace...was that this is a pathway of God's pleasure? He is allowing this in my life as a portal to know Him right now as my source of power and strength to endure, to enjoy, to get through?
What if this is the secret--the little twist of mindset--that opens meaning and significance to everything so that nothing is wasted, nothing is for nothing? All of this is for goodness' sake, all of it's worthy!
What if this is the key to accepting with joy and bearing with whatever we meet without complaint or negativity, frustration or defeat? This is an invitation into actually experiencing the details of one's life with pleasure and joy in a truly pure, non-self-centered way...
What if, by knowing God's pleasure in the moment by shifting to put all of your trust in Him, you're all ready to go when He comes? By doing this circle dance step by step, God is helping me move my heart to move in with Him, away from hoping in anything here in this world.
What if you took every thought and pushed it through this filter: He is helping me be so ready to let go, by making me practice being open-handed with this thing now. I'm not responsible for everything; HE is. It's not true that I have to fix this. I am only a steward, a care-taker. So I will take care, but I'll leave ownership and responsibility for solving major problems and issues to Him, the real owner of it all. He is master, I am only a servant and that is a beautiful thing. I only live to watch His face and worship His amazingness and do as He instructs, learning more about His character all the while. It is right to turn my attention, to attune to Him most of all, letting go of the weight of this world as I trust Him to work it all out. I process through the lens of, "What now, Lord?" He is the King of Glory...and as I move with Him, He is coming through me.
It is good to tap into the source that He installed within you. Your attention to Him, your release of all to Him and your praise in the moment releases the mighty river of His infinite power that flows up and through your innermost being. In every situation, as you believe He is there and move in tandem with Him, your steps in faith will take you higher. You just might find yourself in flight!
For bonus points, this is how to circle with authority: know that most assuredly, He is greater within you than anything in this world. Any problem, issue or matter is no match for the Lord, armed and ready for battle, the Mighty-One, invincible in every way!
We have to keep circling anyhow, so we might as well stomp to the beat! Knowing it's all for glory, knowing it's building what will last and remain forever, makes the journey up not so bad. Makes it all so good, in fact.