Exodus Series: A Creative Break

I literally have no energy to write this.

I am overwhelmed. I am frustrated. I am emotional. And even though I had planned to cover the next few chapters of Exodus by carefully drawing the images and meanings out of the text, I find myself not necessarily in the descriptive mood. I’m in a creative mood. And even though I planned to lay out what God has been showing me in Exodus, I can’t help that every fiber in my being screams to just express my emotions, to lay them out bare. And maybe the emotions I’m feeling will actually put the text, put what Moses and the Israelites and Pharaoh were feeling, in a new light.

So, here goes.

It’s been a week.

You know, one of those weeks where variables coat the air like the thick Texas humidity.

I have to do this.

That still needs to be done.

He needs this.

She wants to go do that.

I still need to do these things to prepare for tomorrow.

Variables swarm around your head like moths to a flame, but you find that these moths only burn in the fire of your overwhelming frustration.

School starts back amid a global pandemic.

You don’t have a good grip on your classes yet.

You need to prioritize the checklist for graduation, while also worrying about what you are going to do after.

This person at work needs their classroom unlocked when it should’ve already been unlocked.

Variables–unrelenting, frustrating variables.

And then just when you think it can’t get any worse, the burdens add on.

You forgot to fill out this form.

You still need to buy another book that you thought you didn’t need but, in fact, did need . . . until the professor e-mails and says you don’t need it.

You keep having to buy necessary things, but this heavily weighs on your delicate and tight-gripped frugality.

You need to meet with several people at different times to discuss different things.

Something bad happens that leaves you enraged and saddened, but you can’t do anything about it. Can’t process the delicate anxiety-oppressed shell it leaves you in. You thought anxiety was an old friend in your life–but even old friends make brief reappearances, I guess.

It just all becomes . . . overwhelming.

And then . . . and then . . . and then you start to feel the tiniest distance from God.

And that frightens you more than anything.

You meet with Him in the morning, and you know He is with you throughout the day, and you pray that He focuses your heart on Him constantly throughout the day, because you know you forget Him.

You know you forget Him when you get so caught up in your own life.

And I can’t help but wonder if the Israelites forgot God within those 400 years when they got so caught up within their own miserable and suffering lives?

Did they spend the beginning of those years praising the God who used Joseph to make a way for the small nation of Israel and to grant them a place within rich Egypt?

Was it a slow fade from praising God to forgetting Him?

Did they only begin to cry out to God in those last few years of the 400-year period, suddenly remembering that the God of the universe is the God of their fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

Did they suddenly remember His promise to deliver them back to their homeland?

Let me tell you–I have known the weeks that feel like I’m in the land of milk and honey.

And I have also known the weeks that feel like I’m just one small Israelite squatting down in mud and straw and making bricks. Striving to meet a quota set by the Egyptians. Striving to meet a number, an expectation that takes every fiber of energy out of by body, mind, soul, and heart just to meet.

And in that moment when I’m squatting,

back-hurting, heart-crying, brow-sweating, soul-crying . . .

that’s the moment when I remember I need God.

I need Him to deliver me.

But more than that, I just need Him in general. How else am I supposed to live? How else am I supposed to feel that this breath of life He has given me has meaning when I’m squatting in a mess trying to build my way out of it but only end up with a pile of bricks that I won’t even use?

This is one of those weeks when I’m crying out to God. When I start to feel myself mark a distance between Him and me, despite knowing He is here.

Despite knowing He is God.

Despite knowing He will fight for me.

Despite knowing that He wipes away my tears.

Despite knowing that all this stress and worry and fear and anger and frustration and pain and hurting and anxiety are merely feelings that get swept away in His love. That got swept away when Jesus bled on that cross and promised me a home with God in heaven one day in which these emotions won’t have so much power over me.

I am the insecure Moses, wondering what the heck God is using me for.

I am the crying and doubting Israelite, wanting God to save me yet doubting His methods of saving.

I am the angry Pharaoh, defying God’s power by claiming I have enough power of my own to get me out of this mess and struggle I’m in.

If I had enough power, though, then I wouldn’t be the crying and doubting Israelite, now would I?

It’s really just all a mess.

I’m really just all a mess.

But aren’t we all?

Aren’t we all messes inside that cry out to God the moment we feel too overwhelmed by our troubles and insecurities and emotions and anxieties before proceeding to forget about Him and doubt Him when He tries to save us?

We are lucky He is a gracious and compassionate God!

I don’t know what you have been experiencing this week. But if it’s been anything like mine, then I feel your pain!

And that pain leaves us feeling something like this:

But we serve a mighty God!

There is no overwhelming emotion,

no quota of bricks,

no imaginative distance between Him and us that He cannot overcome!

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Really, at the end of a week like this . . . what else can you do?

Casting all my cares on Him who cares about my cares,

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