Tonight, church looks like stretching out under freshly washed bed sheets with a lavender candle flickering on the side table. I can barely hear the hum of the dryer over the worship album flooding through my headphones. It is Saturday. Sabbath. These ordained moments, preciously crafted to remind me that rest was never an afterthought. These moments, intricately designed to still my soul and return my attention to Father God.
Tomorrow, things change. I have known this for going on four weeks now, and have forced myself to be cautiously optimistic. Whenever someone asked me if I am excited for what is to come, this is how I have described myself, trying not to let on that change has never been something that I have relished, especially when the plucking from all familiarity is completely beyond my control.
This place is where I come to tell the truth: I am deeply afraid. But you already knew that. Fear has never had to force its way to center stage in my life, simply because I have never really had the courage to stand up to it. Perhaps what I’m realizing tonight, the truth that leaves me lying awake, is that that is beginning to change, too. It is an uncomfortable revelation, because I have learned there is a certain feeling of security that comes with allowing fear to run the show.
That verse about fear and love not being able to coexist? I’ve always known it. But what the mind has filed away doesn’t always find its way to the heart, and trust is a path not quickly or easily worn.
Call me crazy, but I feel like I’m about to go on a date with God.
I never went on many dates, but on the rare occasion that I was asked, I would always stand in front of the closet for what seemed like hours trying to decide between classic black and something more bold and adventurous. I would fret over the possibility of getting spinach stuck in my teeth or saying the wrong thing, after which the date would consist solely of awkward silence. And I would try to recollect all the small details about my life that seemed impressive and enticing. The possibility would absolutely terrify and excite me.
Something is different about this, though.
He already loves me. Just the way I look tonight. I am unarmed and I am undone.
Nothing I could boast will impress him. No flaw will deter him. But I try anyway. Like Gideon, crouched in hiding, I whisper through the tears: surely, you have chosen the wrong person for this victory, this wild love affair.
His response is always the same. He simply asks me to trust him through the uncertainty. He asks if he can go before me, and I can tell, he’s hoping this time his pleas will get stuck in the cracks of my worn out heart. His face is tender as he quietly speaks a bigger truth: striving has never been the way to meet love. I breathe deep. We both know that I am exhausted.
A friend told me this years ago, and her words have never left me: everything Jesus is says that it is okay to be weary. Everything about him says that it is okay to be uncertain. We simply have to be willing to bend a little, and it is okay to acknowledge that flexibility doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice and discipline and showing up, even when you’re scared, and even when inspiration seems to have stood you up.
For the first time, perhaps in my entire life, my hunger for the love weighs more than my fear of the uncertainty. It outweighs my perceptions of control and safety, which can’t save me, even on my best days. My hunger for this love affair is more intense than any desire for success or popularity or any trivial thing that I have worked to earn.
Because what I can be certain of is that if I let him go before me, I can trust that he will catch me. He will dust me off and sweep me off my feet again. I can feel him beginning to win my heart; fear being crowded out as he patiently woos me.
And I want to keep showing up for this. Because the greatest love stories always grow from uncertainty, closing your eyes, and leaping anyway.