Daydreaming In The Wilderness.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak at an evening worship service where people of all walks of life gather together. It’s a time where life stands still and people enjoy the presence of one another and worship as the body of Christ. But, what happens when chaos abounds all around us and that normalcy is interrupted? What happens when that chaos begins to enter into our daily lives? I think I speak for everyone when I say; the past few weeks have been ones of uncertainty, heartache, and pain for the world. We are aware of the hurt that is happening, globally, locally and within our own lives.

 

I was given the topic of the Promised Land, but my heart was too plagued by the events of the week to focus on anything else, so I did my best to speak about the beautiful land in the beginning, but here is where my mind and heart wandered by the end of sermon writing. I hope and pray that you find yourself in this message this week. My friends, daydream in the wilderness, it’s got to be good for the soul.

 

This past week I haven’t been able to give my attention to anything but the world. This world that is broken and dark and at times incredibly scary. This world that makes me long for a Promised Land that is filled with all those good things that the 12 talked about when they reported back to Moses.

 

I don’t know about you, but this week I have been frustrated and upset. Upset that I live in a world where hate exists, where love doesn’t always seems to win over the hearts of people, and where evil is lurking at every nook and cranny of the universe.

 

I’ve cried, I’ve prayed, I’ve journaled, I’ve read news stories and had conversations, yet I’m still mad, and God is meeting me there. God is meeting me in my own brokenness and frustrations and I find that to be so incredibly beautiful.

 

You see, this Promised Land seems to be something that I’ve been trying to dream up for the past week. I wonder what it was like; I wonder what they were thinking. Some people were not excited about this new adventure, but some were. They knew about what was to come in this new land, and it seemed good by the reports that we read in scripture.

 

I wonder if they were walking around in the wilderness for those 40 years daydreaming about that Promised Land, thinking about things that they wanted to be there. The fruit that was juicy and delicious, the river that was filled with water daily, or the security of knowing where they would place their heads every night. I wonder if they daydreamed about those things, if those things made their mouths water and their heads and hearts wander to that place of hope, because one day maybe that security would become a reality.

 

I’ve walked around this week daydreaming. Is anyone else with me? Is anyone else daydreaming of better tomorrows? Here’s where I’m at. I’m going to walk this line of honesty and vulnerability with you.

 

I want to live in a world where people love each other. Where hate doesn’t exist and people don’t go around killing one another.

 

I want to eat food because it’s healthy and the right thing to do, not because I’m shaking and on the verge of passing out because I haven’t done it in a while and my old habits are coming back again.

 

I want to look at the people I love and see hope fill their eyes, not sorrow and fear and hurt. I want them to not hurt themselves or starve themselves or look for ways to walk away from this world all together. I want them to eat ice cream at 2 AM, after having pizza for dinner. I want everyone to enjoy the beauty of a sunset and the simplicity of the flowers growing through the cracks of the sidewalk. I want people to walk outside and look up, because the stars are so incredibly beautiful.

 

I want to see that Promised Land. I want that land to have no hate or war or eating disorders or self-harm or bitterness or shame or abuse or anything that makes my heart hurt, that makes little kids die of cancer, that makes my little brothers best friend commit suicide, or that makes people walk into movie theaters with a gun in hand. I want it to be filled with love and joy and peace and safety and security. This is my daydream as I’m walking in the wilderness, waiting for that promise land.

 

We can’t pretend that we have all the answers. We can’t slap on the, “everything happens for a reason” statement, or the “God makes all things work together” quote. It won’t work. Not this time. We have to be people of action, people who have their feet on the ground ready to live in and out that daydream.

 

I don’t know why things are happening; you don’t know why things are happening, but they are. Chaos is all around, globally, locally, and within our own lives. But, I have a daydream that I am dreaming about, it’s a dream that I want to live and lean in to daily and I pray that you will join me in that.

 

Maybe your wilderness daydream looks different, but I think that we can all agree that we want to be walking, talking, breathing Promised Lands for this world. We can cover a lot of ground when we all stand together, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with our brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world, saying here we are, use us as the promise land to the rest of the world who is walking around in the wilderness.

 

We simply have to hang our hats on the unknown grace and peace that only comes from knowing Christ. The grace and peace that meets us in our bitterness, in our tears, in our anger in our confusion, in our upset texts and phone calls to those we trust, and in our empty prayers.

 

We stand here, knowing that the Holy Spirit has filled our hearts and lives, so we reach up, holding on to the one who holds us in that grace and peace. We don’t have the answers my friends; don’t pretend to have the answers this week. Let the world know that we are just as hurt and broken and confused as they are. We are angry and upset and longing for answers.

 

We serve a God who is greater than this world, a God who loves us in our wilderness and in our daydreaming, and I find that to be the most reassuring thing that I’ve heard all week. I’m resting this week in the unknown answers to my hurting and upsetting questions, knowing that I serve a God who will wrap his arms around this hurting world right now and always.

 

One day, my friends, we will find security and peace in our Promised Land and I cannot wait to see love conquer all things and peace flood the hearts and lives of all people as we worship as one body. Until the day, until Heaven has completely come to Earth, we keep on daydreaming. Amen.

Communion: A meal I no longer want to skip.

Communion is such a beautiful and sacred part of the worship experience. We gather together to partake in the bread and cup as the body of Christ, but what happens when some of us struggle to come to the table?

Mental illness is swept under the rug in the church and we often steer away from anything that makes us cringe, feel uncomfortable, and question what we believe. The reality of it is that people are daily putting on happy faces, covering up scars, and walking into churches like they have their lives together. The church has become a place where those who are struggling, often struggle in silence.

For years, I have battled an on-again/off-again relationship with an eating disorder that has come to steal, kill, and destroy anything good in my life. I have been consumed by what I look like, what goes into my body, and how the rest of the world perceives me.

Communion has always been such a hard thing for me to partake in. I look at this Holy meal as another meal that I have to grin and bear because I can’t let anyone know what is going on.

But I know I’m not alone. All around the world people are battling this vicious disease and are feeling the same way. Three meals a day are hard enough to sit through, let alone another meal where people call it Holy and blessed.

I would often think that something was wrong with me. People were receiving these elements and becoming teary eyed because they were so happy and I would become teary eyed because bread and juice are just another thing to add to the calorie counting chart.

This week at church we had communion together, but this time it was different. As I was walking to receive the elements this week, there was peace and understanding that this meal was not specifically set out to make me miserable, but rather to make me feel fed and nourished, but in a good way.

As Pastor Jackie called me by name and reminded me that the body and blood of Christ has been broken and shed for me, a transformation began to sink in. The words, “The body of Christ broken for you, Brittney” transformed my thinking.

Christ calls me by name and invites me to this table daily. It’s a table that has been prepared with healthy and good food that is designed to nourish and replenish me, not to harm me.

It’s a meal that stands as a reminder of what Christ has done for me and what Christ can do through me.

As I ate of the bread and drank of the cup, my thinking was not on calories, what I look like, or what people will be thinking of me, but rather, it was on the reminder that I am enough, I deserve to be healthy, and food is not the enemy.

The battle was won, but the war is still being fought. It has been a 10-year battle, but yesterday a transformation began to happen. I became teary eyed as I realized that not all food is bad and this Holy meal is prepared to serve as a reminder of who Christ is.

If you’re battling this mental illness, know that you are not alone. If this meal that people see as Holy and sacred is one that you want to skip, just like the others, I invite you to look at it as an invitation to believe in better tomorrows.

As you drink of that cup and eat of that bread, you’re giving yourself nourishment to keep going, to keep fighting, and to keep seeking truth.

You’re not alone, there are lots of us who weekly have to choose if we will partake in the meal that is set before us or step back while others enjoy the feast.