Settling, yet feeling unsettled

With four months in Japan behind us, the dust is beginning to settle. I don’t see pictures of all the “used to be’s” in my mind anymore. Being in the house with me is no longer a daily roller-coaster ride (just when I’m PMSing now — I’m sure Bryan’s glad for the reprieve!). I don’t pine away for our first visit home — I’m excited for it, but I don’t feel desperate. (It’s not for another 1.5+ years, so this is good news.)

Though feeling more acclimated to life certainly has its perks, I’m really missing something about the sadness. I miss Jesus. I looked at Him so differently while I was sad and frustrated, it was so much easier to come to Him when I was needy. Of course, I know how all this sounds. And its true — if I were to have my druthers in life, ‘easy’ would always be the way I choose. Even as I say that, though, something deep inside me resonates with the opposite, which is the only real Truth: all good things require blood, sweat, and tears. I’m into the “sweat” part now — being disciplined and obedient to get into the Bible, though it doesn’t make me feel smart or pretty. I hate that about the Bible. I am afraid of the Bible. I don’t want to read the Bible. But somehow, I know that the key to what my heart longs for is waiting for me there. What am I waiting for? The truth is, I am always needy, most especially when I don’t realize so. I am missing out on great things because I am afraid! What silliness. I’m afraid I’ll open the Bible to read it, and it will turn out to be just like any other book, only more complicated and boring. I can’t believe I still feel this way, even after recalling all the times in my life that God has stepped out for me, has pursued me and found me huddling in the corner, has been faithful.. faithful even to reveal Himself in His Word. Ever since I began walking with God, I have constantly battled reading the Bible — after surviving my parent’s divorce, after breaking up with boyfriends, after starting a new life, after stepping out in faith and fundraising thousands of dollars and packing up our first home and leaving family and flying across the BLOOMING OCEAN! The BIBLE! The issues are STILL THERE! They’re beginning to make me angry.

I so want this part of my life to change and am trying to make steps toward it — a while back, I wrote to the mamas, asking about breastfeeding and spanking and rising before your kids. I’ve finally been able to do it — Bryan and I, most days, get up an hour or more before Jones wakes up. I was thrilled by this. Then I would sit. I would look at the Bible. I would get up and make coffee. I would stand across the room with my mug in my hand and look at the Bible. I would journal and look at the Bible. I would ask Bryan a question. I would make some toast. I would look at the Bible, and maybe I would finally open it up. I would flip through a few pages, wondering, “How in the heck am I supposed to know where to go? How will I know when I get there? Which passages will provide light, encouragement, worship?” Then I would close the Bible, feeling at a complete and utter lost. This, with a few exceptions, has been my experience with the Bible. Just the fact that I experience such difficulty in opening it proves to me that therein lies something very important.

*Sigh* This post turned out differently than I was originally intending, but typing all this felt very relieving. Looking back, over the last several seasons of my life, I have been on the cusp of admitting all this, but I always wondered if my problem was perhaps just circumstantial. After all, I had a lot going on in life, a lot of major changes — my quick engagement to Bryan (five weeks of dating), a busy time of wedding planning (when is it not?), our surprise pregnancy after one month of marriage, my abrupt exit from “college life” into “MOTHERHOOD” (duh duh duh!), our interviewing and fundraising and preparing to move to Japan, then the actual move, the good-byes, the new culture and life — there was never time for the dust to settle, for me to stop and look at the picture, and so I was left with excuses, I suppose. But now I just know it. My heart just knows it.

I’m waiting, God! What next?

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6 thoughts on “Settling, yet feeling unsettled

  1. First of all, Jamie, thanks for being so open about what so many of us often feel about reading the Bible, but never admit, because we feel guilty about it (“I shouldn’t feel this way!”). Very brave of you. I think God loves it when we are honest about the way we are feeling. He already knows it anyway, so what do we think we are accomplishing by trying to hide it?

    I would like to suggest something that may help you break the logjam, so to speak. Get a copy of the translation “The Message”, translated by Eugene Peterson. I know, I know, it sounds like a paraphrase or some ooey-gooey-not-really-the-Bible book, but it’s not. It is actually a translation, put into modern usage and phrases, while still being faithful to the original Hebrew and Greek. Peterson’s goal was much like William Tyndale’s, who said that he was translating so the “the boy that driveth the plough” would be able to read the Scriptures.

    The Message is a reading Bible, as Peterson states in his introduction: ” There will be time enough for study later on. But first, it is important simply to read, leisurely and thoughtfully. We need to get a feel for the way these stories and songs, these prayers and conversations, these sermons and visions, invite us into the large, large world in which the invisible God is behind and involved in everything visible, and illuminates what it means to live here–really live, not just get across the street. As we read, and the longer we read, we begin to ‘get it’–we are in conversation with God. We find ourselves listening and answering in matters that most concern us: who we are, where we came from, where we are going, what makes us tick, the texture of the world and communities we liv in, and–most of all–the incredible love of God among us, doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

    I have been encouraged by looking at the Scriptures in a fresh way (after being a Christian for most of my life, and starting to gloss over passages-“yeah, blah, blah, blah, read it a million times”) through reading this translation. It has made me want to read the Bible in a way that I haven’t wanted to in quite awhile; to see what’s next in God’s love letters to me. All 66 of them!

    Sorry for the extremely long comment…if anyone is still reading at this point!
    I love you, Jamie!

  2. Kerri, that was amazing! Thank you!! I’m so glad to have you as a blog-reader.. it has benefited me.

    I’m looking around our bookshelf for a copy of the Message – I thought we owned one, I’m not sure, but it’s a great suggestion.

  3. Jamie,

    It was so open of you to share your struggle. Thank you for being so candid.

    It seems to me your struggle is not one of which translation to read, but an underlying fear of being disappointed. Perhaps, Bryan and you could do Bible time together in the mornings. I find it helpful to read out loud. If the two of you could read out loud together, you would not be alone in your fears, and he could encourage you. Two are much better than one when walking through fearsome territory. When you were ready, then you could pursue the Word on your own.

    Please know we keep you three in prayer every morning. Dan and I will pray for you in this struggle.

    Love, Carol

  4. Jamieeeee,
    I love your blog. Thanks for letting me know how you are REALLY.

    I miss the chance meetings with you.
    Wish we were still a car ride apart.

    I love you sister friend.

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