“When you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.”
Plowing through Facebook updates, I scroll quickly past political diatribe, cat meme, prayer requests from people I don’t know in real life.
Suddenly, a photo of a bright yellow wooden sign with simple black lettering stops my scrolling.
For some reason, it brings tears, sudden and hot. I blink, and read the phrase again.
I am in a season where I am trying to make sense of my story. And in this messy process, of trying to improve relationships and resolve conflict, I sometimes feel unheard, or misunderstood. Or that my version of that story is being challenged. That others may not trust my story.
I grew up being told to trust God, to trust Jesus. And yes, I tried. I understand that trust is a spiritual practice. I’ve written about that before in many venues. And we should trust God. But not to the exclusion of trusting our God-given instincts, our God-crafted story.
And I’ve also taught and written about finding God in the story of your life, listening to him through your experiences, whether formative or mundane.
One of my favorite quotes is from Frederick Beuchner’s Whistling in the Dark: “When you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.” Tears are a window to our souls.
Then, at church this week, our pastor asked two questions “what is God’s vision for your life?” and “whose script are you living?” He described a season when he realized he was living according to a script that someone else (with good intentions) had crafted for his life, and he needed to follow God’s script. He described a time of prayer, fasting and solitude, in which he asked those questions of himself.
So this week, part of my Sabbath practice was to take an hour or two and pay attention to my tears and to those questions. I spent time in solitude thinking, and doing what I call “journaling outside the box.” I use a sketch pad and art-quality colored pencils to write, draw, play. It is at once an exercise in self-examination, and a time of questioning God. What is your vision? What gifts have you given me? How do you want me to use them?
I name the truth as I see it: my spiritual gifts, StrengthsFinder themes, Eneagram type, loves, desires, struggles. I try to listen to God through my story, and mostly, I try to trust it. I ask questions, brave as I can.
What would happen if you did the same? If you thought about those questions: whose script am I living? What is God’s vision for my life? What do you think it means to “always trust your story”?