Sink or Fail

Written on February 12, 2014

She sits.

The mug is warm and full and fresh. White and foamy and new.

She thinks and she reads and she scribbles.

She pages and highlights and knows.

Be still and know that I am God.

She writes it in her journal, all scrawly and purple and earnest. Takes a sip.

The original Hebrew word for “be still” meant sink.

Sink and know that I am God. She writes this too, still scrawly and purple and earnest, enjoying the depth and layers that you find words wrapped in when you go into their original, literal meaning.

Okay.

She reads on, mug in both hands.

Another definition for this Hebrew word raphah is “fail”.

Fail and know that I am God. She puts the mug down and writes this as well, keeping with her habit of writing down the realizations as they come.

Wait.

Fail and know that I am God?

Really? She writes.

Fail?

Lifts the mug to her lips. Tiny, thoughtless sip. And back down.

Her fingers form the next thought before she has time to stop it.

And there it is.

I hate failing.

Can one know who God is without failing?

Failing.

Sinking.

That feeling in the summer. When you’re swimming. And you let yourself fall back into the water. And it feels good. The water swirls to cover you, and you float in the calm, and it’s cool and quiet and effortless and there’s a moment of complete calm.

But the panic. The need to breathe.

Sinking into God.

That sounds good. Releasing yourself into Him. He swirls and billows around you and you are safe and calm and invincible.

But what about the moment when it stops feeling safe and things don’t feel the way that they are supposed to and it’s wrong and you think you know what you should do and it seems like God is awfully quiet and honestly, these are people you’re dealing with and if you mess up, it will affect them in negative ways and you will be responsible and things are getting out of control and you haven’t prayed like you should and someone asks you a question and you have an answer that sounds pretty good and you have mulled over this problem in your head and you think you have got it figured out and you rush ahead and you deal with it and what you’re doing seems right and good and it is probably what God wanted you to do and why did He not give you a direct answer and you thought that in situations like this the answer would just kind of instinctively come to you and how does one know when they are going on their own ideas or when those ideas are planted by God and………

Fail.

Fail fail fail.

If she doesn’t sink into God, she will fail.

She feels stuck.

Stuck in all those times that she has barged her way through life.

Stuck because she knows what her problems and failures are, but she doesn’t know how to fix them.

Fail and know that I am God.

She has failed. But she so often forgets that God is God.

The thought of all the failing she has yet to do? All the things that she will do wrong? All the ways that she is not sure she is strong enough to change? Doesn’t know how to change?

It kills her.

She sinks to the panicky point. Where she needs to breathe, and she struggles, and can see the sunlight but not reach it.

She leaves her mug on the table- cold, mostly empty, and grey.

And days later, she is curled up on her bed, crying, because she cannot do this anymore. She hates it. She hates wanting to change, but never actually changing. She hates seeing problems, but not solving them. She hates being quiet instead of speaking. She hates not being able to talk to anyone about what she feels because she literally would not know what to say. She hates complaining when there’s not really anything to complain about. She hates that she spends all week with people, and then gets to the weekend and feels like she wants to be alone. She is scared because nothing is really turning out the way she thought it would. This is not what she had planned, and maybe that means it’s wrong. Doesn’t God give dreams and ambitions for a reason? Why is it starting to feel like she will never do the things that she always wanted to do? She hates sleeping instead of writing. She hates being less instead of more. She hates that her life seems to be producing… nothing. She hates feeling awkward. She wonders when and how and why she got so used to not talking. She hates being insecure instead of confident. She hates being jealous rather than content. Jealousy causes so many problems. It is never a good thing. She hates letting people down and being a disappointment. And what is this strange desire to go somewhere else? Like somewhere completely different? She doesn’t care if it’s on plane or in a car or even where it is- she would just like to go somewhere else. She hates always being a thought slower than everyone else. She hates wasting her time. She hates not knowing how to relax without feeling guilty about the work she hasn’t done yet. She hates that it is just all wrong. (Well, not quite everything is wrong.)

All this leads to many, many tears.

Days pass, and she finally reads it.

He led captivity captive.

She can’t be stuck in her sin and selfishness unless she chooses to be.

Because she is held captive by Freedom itself.

Those things that hold her and bind her and destroy her and make her despise herself? They are what is powerless and stuck. Not her.

They have nothing and offer nothing and are nothing when compared to her God.

She knows it.

And yet somehow she still has to learn it.

The Truth is overwhelmingly wonderful and it seems like she will never be able to believe it consistently and without a doubt and that is so discouraging. Rarely does she approach anything in her life with complete confidence, and then there is this one thing that she could be completely confident in, but she feels like she just doesn’t know how.

Will she never learn?

She writes and it feels like her writing has no meaning and she thinks “Okay. What do you want to say? What do you want people to get out of this?” and she can’t even figure that out. So if you feel like there is supposed to be a meaning to all this, she wishes there was. But the truth is, she doesn’t know what this all means and so there really is no concrete, definitive meaning behind it. She was hoping to get to the end and realize that she had subconsciously arrived at (stumbled upon) a satisfying, hopeful conclusion. Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way. She probably won’t even be brave enough to actually publish this post because GASP- then people would know how she felt/feels. And we just can’t have that. Perhaps in a few weeks when she is no longer feeling quite so much this way, it would be okay to share.

6 thoughts on “Sink or Fail

  1. And out of the silence sparks the pen – and it releases not words, but a song, like the psalms of David, like the daily dying of Amy Carmichael – the song whose tune we have all felt deep in our souls but nobody quite knew the lyrics – until with wrestling they were wrenched from a quiet soul.
    Valerie.

  2. I like the part about knowing what you should do but God’s really quiet. especially after thinking about all the stuff we heard this weekend…:) It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one. Thank you Jas.

  3. Wow what a DiBrandt style writing and feeling you are experiencing. You really expressed a lot of the mixed up feeling and thought mess that we experience at times and I can relate. Life has never been totally simple for me. Sometimes just taking a step towards the good,and the another and then another until some of the mess is in the rear view mirror. Then we can see the hand of God holding and moulding us in a way we could never plan ourselves. In the word of Ann Kiemel “God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it should be” Mom

  4. Putting the sentiment into words is a gift, Jasmine. You expressed it well. Thank you for sharing. And yes, I agree, Valerie summarized the thread of your post beautifully.

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