Last night I sat talking with my weekly Bible study/discussion group (over beers, because, y’know, it’s called Beer with Jesus for a reason) and the topic was Jesus in the wilderness when he was being tempted by the devil. Three times Satan tempted him and three times Christ resisted. Heck, I can barely resist temptation once, let alone three times.
The refrain of “into the woods…into the woods” has played through my mind all morning.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Into the woods, it's time to go, I hate to leave, I have to.
Into the woods. It's time and so I must begin my journey.
Into the woods and through the trees, to where I am expected…
Until last night I don’t think I realized I was heading into the wilderness or “into the woods”. I can pinpoint something that happened last week that feels like the starting point, but really the wheels have been in motion much longer. That seems how it usually goes. Things are building and bubbling under the surface long before they make their presence known.
Oddly enough, I’ve been remarkably calm about the crises and problems that seem to be popping up all at once and that’s really not my standard MO. I feel like I’m a person who panics and gets stressed out at every little thing. I often joke that I’m paranoid about things – car troubles, appliance issues, health problems, money worries…you name it, I always feel that I overthink things and worry oh, so much.
Interestingly (to me, anyway), one woman in the group last night was dumbfounded when I said I wasn’t naturally a calm person. That I usually freak out when things seemingly go wrong. She said she’d never have guessed that and when I said I suffer from anxiety issues, she started to question her ability to read people. Apparently I have a great poker face.
What followed is another lesson in perspective for me. I see myself one way and I have learned in the past year that it is quite often a one-eighty from what other people see. I’m pretty confident in who I am – or who I think I am – and then I hear from someone else that that is not at all who they perceive me to be. God has sent many messages my way the past couple of weeks about perspective, but I’m still piecing it all together as to just what it means. I may never know, but at least I am pausing a lot more to consider the possibilities.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
The way is clear, the light is good. I have no fear, nor no one should.
The woods are just trees, the trees are just wood.
“The trees are just wood.” The trees are simply there. Merely set pieces or props in the theater of our lives. They can’t hurt me. They are simply there and we’ll pass by them all on the journey and move on. Move forward.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
Into the woods and down the dell, the path is straight, I know it well.
Into the woods, and who can tell what's waiting on the journey?
“Who can tell what’s waiting on the journey?” Well. That says it, I think. Or it at least says a lot. Who can ever tell what is waiting for us just around the corner. I had no idea that I had a healthissue coming last year until I hit that brick wall and realized something was wrong. I wasn’t planning on getting a new (or new-to-me) car any time soon until the mechanic said I’d be better off buying a new car than pouring a huge sum of money into repairing the one I already have. I have to make a trip tomorrow and I know where I’m going – meaning I know the physical location of the building and in what city – but I don’t know what may happen during that journey.
Into the woods without delay, but careful not to lose the way.
Into the woods, who knows what may be lurking on the journey?
Into the woods to get the thing that makes it worth the journeying.
Into the woods…
So that’s where I am today. I’m heading into the woods. Heck, I may already be a ways down the path since I only realized less than 24 hours ago that I was in a wilderness period. But for the first time I can recall, I don’t feel like the trees are closing in on me. I don’t feel like I’m in the middle of a dark forest where I can’t find my way. Oh, that may happen the further I head into the woods (I have no idea how many times I’ve used that phrase and refuse to go back and count), but right now when I close my eyes I see the woods around me, but the path is wide and the light is bright. I know I have to go through the wilderness to get to the other side. There’s no way to avoid it. The journey is not always joyous. It is not always easy and I don’t believe this one will be all hearts and flowers either, but I am so appreciative of the peace I feel inside – the peace that I know is from God – that is helping me stand up tall and move forward.
“Into the woods to get the thing that makes it worth the journey.”