when all is stripped away

Have you ever felt like all was stripped away?

I have felt like that during this time recovering from surgery. While my surgery was not that serious (believe me, I am not making a bigger deal out of it than it was, especially considering my 2-year-old nephew had open heart surgery… now that is serious), it was definitely a shock to my normal way of life.

Gym membership? Gone. My ability to exercise at all? Gone. Acting class? Gone. Piano? Gone. Guitar? Gone. For a time even my ability to sit up was gone.

All was stripped away.

I think of that worship song that seems so appropriate…

“When the music fades, and all is stripped away.”

What is left when the “music fades”?IMG_1401
Well, for me it was a lot of
time to sit. To ponder. To be still. I am not one to sit around and watch movies for hours on end. I can hardly sit through one movie without feeling completely unproductive and ADD. So there was plenty of time to be quiet.

And in that quiet time, I heard the Lord so much more clearly. I felt so much more near to Him. It’s funny how sometimes it takes being stripped away of the things of this world to really seek the Lord like never before. And on top of that He revealed some really insightful things to me – for instance, just how great my love for writing really is.

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” – Charles Kingsley

See, if I hadn’t been forced to be quiet, to be still, to have the “comfort and luxury” of my life stripped away, I might not have ventured down this new path I am on. One where I am actually getting some projects off the ground. One where my time is no longer limited by the daily distractions by which it previously was. One in which I have discovered a new passion, or at least a whole new vision for that passion.

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.” – Billy Graham

I think we can get stuck in ruts. And sometimes they’re not bad ruts. But they’re ruts nonetheless. We can get comfortable. And comfortable can be a dangerous place to be. We get limited in out thinking. We begin to rely on ourselves, to think we can do it on our own. We begin to look inward, thinking we “got this.”

But when all is stripped away, we are left with nothing else but to look Jesus square in the face, to come face to face with His truth.

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C.S. Lewis

The next part of that worship song goes like this:

“I simply come.”

When we simply come, having nothing to offer the Lord but our heart in its purest form, He does some amazing and unexpected things.

While the limitations of my body were so great during my recovery – I couldn’t even do so much as stretch – the limitations of my mind were lifted. By allowing all to be stripped away, the Lord stretch my heart, my mind, and my soul. He allowed me to pursue Him more fervently, to hear Him more clearly, to follow Him more closely.

That’s a place of being stripped away with which I can not only merely come to terms, but I can gladly welcome.

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