Growing Pains

While perusing my files this morning, I noticed a dated exchange of emails with a friend. At the time, he was traveling in South America, which sparked a memory of one of my travels. My true tale included quantifiable experiences (actual, earthly, physical—whatever you want to call it) and intangible experiences, too (spiritual, divine, and incomprehensible). A humorous misunderstanding followed when my friend assumed that my story was cut and pasted from a novel. When I clarified that the incident happened to me, and I’d written it, he suggested I write a book.

That’s the back story—this was my email response:

“My Mom has said many times that I should write a book about the strange things that have happened to me. But I rarely tell people about them because they must seem like fiction. Many things people just can’t relate to. I used to think God was making me be a freak with so many uncommon and inexplicable experiences. I didn’t want that. I just wanted to fit in. Now my goal is to be a freak. I’m kidding! No, now I realize I don’t have to tell anybody I don’t want to. Why invite criticism and misunderstanding unnecessarily? I’ve learned that keeping my secrets to myself allows me to pull off some semblance of normalcy. 🙂

Also, it’s not bad being “abnormal” after-all. Mainstream life has not proven to be enviable or worth aspiring to. I finally get it—His ways are not our ways. Follow Him and you get His ways. It makes you a minority, sometimes even an oddity, but the reward of life with Him compared to life thinking and living to fit in… There’s no comparison! Life before was only vaguely living, inside of captivity. Like being in a zoo must be for wild animals. Life now, with an awareness of the Holy Spirit, is unpredictable, always in my best interest, full of His power and presence, and always free of cages and captivity. I may have been lovingly pushed by God into this spiritual life, but now I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

I share this old email today, for anyone who is having growing pains from going “all in” with God. You’re not a misfit, you’re just in the process of adapting. If you’re stunned by unsolicited, indescribable experiences (that you somehow know are from God), be assured that it happens to others as well. You’re not alone.

You’ve been entrusted with sublime, divine experiences. Don’t squander them. Intentionally treasure them, protect them, and respect them for what they are and who they came from. You weren’t “tapped” because you’re superior to anyone. You were “tapped” because you are capable of serving others. You are to serve, not be served.  Your phenomenal experiences and spiritual gifts enhance your ability to help others. Have patience. Follow Him, listen, and learn so that when the time is right, you are able to handle yourself with authentic humility and great wisdom.

Isaiah 55:8-9

New International Version (NIV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.