I was lying in bed thinking about how empty I felt. As I thought about some of my expectations, dreams, and thoughts about how life would be…I felt empty. I thought about different situations in life. I thought about times I felt lonely. I thought about moments when I felt alone in the world. I thought about dreams I had given up. I thought about losses. I thought about unfulfilled hopes. I thought about the reality of life, and how it was so different than I ever expected. I couldn’t plan for the future. I couldn’t plan for the good or the bad. In a sense it was the way it was. I was in a weird sort of funk.
Tears came to my eyes as I began to think about this empty place in my soul. It was not the first time I had had this conversation with God. This was not the first time I felt like only God could understand what was in my mind and heart. But this time felt different.
When I think about life, ministry, and leadership I think about emptiness. Leaders often face a certain amount of loneliness. There are times things happen, and they are far different than our expectations. Church culture has filled our minds with fairytales of how life will be, but it does not always turn out the way people expect it to turn out. People die. People are hurt. People divorce. People are abandoned. There is a loneliness which only God can cure, but there are so many temporary things in this life which distract us and attempt to take the place of God.
This place deep inside the heart and mind of humanity is a place which is sacred. This place causes us to live and to desire good things in life. This place is where we feel true Joy, a joy which goes beyond the temporary pleasure of a snickers candybar. There is a joy, which no one can manufacture or create. There is a joy which God dispenses to those who are hungry. I am hungry for this joy. I want to be filled with this sort of eternal happiness.
But there are many things which stop me from experiencing joy. I am busy. I am rushed. I am impractical. I procrastinate. I worry. I am anxious. All of these conditions take away that great joy. I heard a great man say to me, but you can decide to be happy. How can I decide? It is a choice. You can give attention to the things which are really important, and throw the rest by the wayside. Think about the things which matter. Think about the things you could never let go. Hold onto these things.
I need this joy. I need this sacred place in my heart and mind to be filled with the joy of God. I need rain in the desert. I need hope. I need peace. I need safety. I need…God.
Copyright 2014 Crystal Schmalz