Thursday, April 23, 2015

Closets in Paradise?

One day, while my children were still preteens, in the midst of a hectic day, I fled to the bathroom for some alone time. While sitting there, I cried; I prayed. I realized my helplessness and gave it all to my Father. Yes, He’s even with me in the bathroom.

I use visuals to help me process, so as I prayed, I saw myself frantically running around in a maze. I lifted the 3-D maze, as if a drawing in a coloring book, and placed it in a box of some sort. I gave the box to God, imagining placing it in His giant hand.

“So you won’t live there anymore,” I heard in reply.

Stillness. Quiet. Relief!

I need visuals. But, that’s me. They help me grow.

What if the kingdom of heaven is right under your nose?

How many times have we been carried away by a movie or novel that paints the splendor of a magical kingdom, whether in a far off sphere or within the minute world of fairies and such?

As children, we may have marveled at the thought or hope of such an existence. Who knows, perhaps even as adults we marvel at such thoughts. (I do.)

What if there is a kingdom with such promise that our human minds can barely conceive what it might be like? Yes, it might compute to us as a magical kingdom; a place where love reigns and doesn’t even need to triumph, because that’s all there is in this kingdom of Love.

This human lifespan, a blip on the radar of eternity might seem quite without purpose. What could we possibly achieve in this lifetime that will impact forever? Or – are we even supposed to be striving to accomplish such achievements?

And what if this kingdom or paradise is right under our noses?

How many inches is it from your nose to your heart?

It amazes me that our minds can think we believe certain ideas, yet sometimes our hearts can override those thoughts. How can our heart and our mind act so independently of each other?

Sometimes we wish something to be true so fiercely that we cannot imagine life in any other paradigm. Wrapping our heads around a reality so opposed to the one we imagined would unfold as we journeyed through life can be as simple or as complex as we make it.

If given the news we or a loved one has a terminal illness, we may choose to live in denial for as long as evidence permits. Or, we may choose to tackle it head on and seek out what we can do to minimize suffering or hope to find a different prognosis.

I’m discovering the answers to so many of my questions are simmering in my own heart, waiting for me to see them there, begging to be uncovered, as if God’s hidden them there for me.

I’m finding that built into us is the basis for healing, for comfort and for peace and love beyond what we thought was capable. All of this and more, because built into our hearts is a throne we can give to the One Who created everyone and everything; and He has all the answers and all the healing and all the love we need.

Personally, I think we’re sometimes afraid to look into our own hearts. I know that at various seasons in my life I’ve been fearful of what I might find there.

Good, bad or indifferent, if it’s in there, it’s a part of me. Avoiding it won’t make it disappear. Embracing it and exploring it allows us to see beyond thoughts that have held us captive in the concept of who we’ve thought we were supposed to be or what an ideal version of us could look like.

We are who we are. And we were created to be the ‘us’ we are – on purpose and as part of a plan far greater than we can fathom.

Exercise for the day – or week – or as long as it takes: Look into your own heart and allow yourself to see what’s there. God already knows the contents; you don’t have to be afraid. He’s the ultimate Protector, He knows what you’re ready for, He’s been preparing you. He’ll go there with you. For those of you who are “Friends” fans – this is Monica’s secret closet.

What we uncover may not all be pretty. Some may use the word courage to describe what it will take to venture into the darkness. It’s only dark because we’ve not let light shine there yet. Some might use the word surrender. But, eventually we’ll discover paradise.

God’s Word gives us great assurance over and over again. Here’s a taste of His goodness:

“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” – 1 John 3:20-21 (KJV)

With the visual of placing you into God’s loving hands, I bless you…. “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 (KJV)

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27 (KJV)  

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