Sleepless Nights (and a growing fear)

The past several weeks have been difficult and challenging.  I’ve spent countless hours awake a night, thinking.  Praying.  And all I hear is the silence screaming out in my head and echoing throughout my heart.  I’ve woken from dreams that I cannot understand, that vanish into the mist of unconscious thought.  And part of me knows that they were trying to tell me something.

I’ve been distracted by the silence.  So I try to fill it with background noise.  Music.  Reading.  Movies.  Conversation.  But nothing can fill this emptiness that I feel eating away within me.

I once knew where I needed to be.  What I was called to do.  I used to understand where I was going, who I was becoming.  But now I no longer recognize those dreams.

Yesterday I was challenged to think of what I truly want to do with my life.  Where do I want to go, after all the distractions, expectations, and commitments are taken away?  Who do I wish to be if I were free to follow my dreams without any reservation?

Several years ago I wrote that my dream job would be to travel across Africa to tell the stories of missionaries and share the light in the darkness of that continent.  Since then I have drifted off from that path, but my dream is still the same.

My heart yearns to return to Africa.  I want to chase after the light shining in the darkness and share it with the world.  I want to be an instrument of God, sacrificing all that I want, all my dreams, to walk in the Lord.

Sometimes I can barely hear, but cannot make out, the whispers that stir my heart.  I fear that I have forgotten what it’s like to hear His voice with certainty.

I used to know without a doubt.  Now, I doubt every single day.  And it is consuming me.

Nobody ever told me how hard it would be to live for Christ.  But then again, nobody ever told me it would be easy to follow the path He has set out for our lives.

My feet have found their way into the world of disaster response, wildland fire, and conservation.  I believe that God has placed me here for a reason, to learn and to experience all that I can.  And to see both the power (and destructive nature) of his creation and the blessings that pour forth in response to the suffering.  I am learning how to see disasters as marvelous, destructive blessings.  I am in awe as I watch a blackened field regrow into something beautiful once again.  I am constantly surrounded by His creation and the gifts He pours out to us through nature.

So I ask myself why I feel so distant.  I know in my heart that God has (and will) never leave me, so does that mean that I have drifted to far from Him in my journeys?  Have I lost focus on where He is leading me?

I am distracted.  I know it.

I’m distracted by expectations.  By others opinions of how I should live my life.  By what society tells me who I need to be to be successful.  Ambitions.  Wishes.  Hopes.

All I want is to live in the presence of my Father in Heaven.  To be in communion with Him, to know Him on a personal level.  And I want to allow Him to take control and lead me to where I need to be.  Where He needs me to be.

Maybe I’m exactly where He wants me, but I am to distracted by the future to realize the ‘here and now’ of His plans….

Maybe I need to clear my head of everything that has been (and still is) distracting me.  Maybe then I will understand where my feet are being led.

I know I’m not the only one.  I’ve talked to several friends who are going through the same thing, so my prayer is that we can quiet out thoughts and free ourselves to not only listen for the whispers of God, but to follow the pull on our hearts wherever He chooses to lead us.  I pray for clarity and for strength, wisdom and compassion, that we see the needs in those around us and act in accordance with the will of God.

God Bless and PEACE

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