Zip: 25812; Coal: 72.8%

Well, I am out of energy.  Even though I slept 12 hours yesterday, tent sleeping on a slope is not the most refreshing.  I was seriously out before the sun was gone last night.  
So let me give a bit of a summary post tonight:

Notable anecdotes, no online spoilers, you'll have to ask in person: 
-60's Roadside Attraction Military-style Coup
-Jack Spratt & His Wife, and the Grandkids, and Fifi & Bruiser, and the Jones'
-Grafton Supply and Demand

Miles travelled:  approx. 843  (averaging 18 mpg, which is 3 more than expected, Score!)
Money spent:  Let's skip this one until I look at my bank statements...
Gifts acquired on the tertiary goal of trip, antiquing: 3
New hobby furthered by trip: canning

Tonight I am crashing with the cool kids at Christians for the Mountains at ground zero (or one of many ground zeros) for MTR, in Ansted, WV.   They have already been super helpful in the 2 hours I have been here. 

Right.  Time to crash.


Truth: We can't all be bodybuilder Grannys.

Yesterday, I was praying while driving and, I began with, "God, what the hell am I doing?  What is it that I am looking for out here?"  I feel so distracted, when there are all these things I should be doing for this project.  I should be talking to anyone I can about their opinion on and relationship to coal.  Instead my attentions are stolen by daydreaming and judgement.  That led me to my common recited prayer of "God fix A, B, & C that are drawing my focus away from the vision you have given me."  I was racked with guilt about my inability to concentrate on what I thought should me my primary focus.

Then God threw the brakes on.  The message He gave me yesterday was very plain: "Quit fussing."  It was a hard one to hear for me.  A friend in college told me "Jenn, guilt is from the Devil, conviction is from God."  I will take it a step further and say, "Conviction is from God, guilt is from separation from God."  I was definitely feeling guilty, not convicted.  For the sake of you guys who suffer the same self-demand, let me lay it out.

"Quit fussing."   What if I am not broken as I think, or in the way I think?  God made mankind in His image.  All of me.  Those root parts of my being, beyond the superficial layers, the things I really know about myself, they are in one way or another a reflection of God.  Some of my traits might not look like a reflection of God after sin comes into the picture, but the foundation just might look a little like the Lord.  

Anger is not condemned in the Bible, it is just restricted to righteous anger against injustice and defamation of the Lord.  God sees and loves where the stubborn comes from.  He loves and knows the character traits that have resulted in my over-obsession with details.  I am not saying that our human developments on all these things are right or good, but "in the beginning" it was.  

Asking God to "cure" my stubbornness restricts his room to move.   It's like those stories of Granny's lifting cars off little kids; we wouldn't be so amazed if we knew all the Granny's were bodybuilders.  Paul gives this account in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, 

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  

In our weakness He is strong.  Not, how I have always read it, "in our weakness He will make us better to show His strength."  Just as God does not promise an easy life, He does not promise to take away our thorns, but promises to use the very things that vex us.  It makes me smile.  One of those exhausted, "okay, fine, you're right again" kind of smiles.

By constantly condemning all the things I think are wrong about me, I have restricted God's room to move.   So much time in prayer is spent praying for my "thorns"  to be removed instead of being drawn closer to God.  But then I remember Julian of Norwich's exertion that our prayers would be best spent simply praising and glorifying God, that the only true petition we need to bring before him is, "God, let your glory be shown."  His promises of clothing us more than the lillies, of never abandoning us, those promises are enough.  When we know them way deep down, as a part of our base understanding of how God works, how our lives work, we don't need to petition God to take care of us.  We already know it and can instead sing praises for the work he is already doing.

Jesus promises to open doors when we knock on them.   He promises, and to say, "Well, it depends if I am at the right door.  And He might not want to open it right now, anyway," is a plain cop out.  You can drive yourself in circles trying to answer these types of questions.  I know; I do.  Instead, I am trying to cling to the truth and promise of Matthew 21:22, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

God promises to be an active presence, and I believe that He already begun, that He is moving and realigning the desires of my heart to match His own.  Without believing it has begun, at least to some extent, I am left confused and scared about when will it start, and maybe He is waiting for me to be ready, and what about making a living?  The truth is, it's not about my timing; my timing sucks.  I will never be readied for God to come begin His work through me.  God's timing is better than ours, and they rarely seem to match up.

Believing God is already active in me means trusting myself more.  I am led more by intuition than anything else.  And you know what?  I think that that's probably okay.

Blogged from Java Joint, Charles Town, WV-  Zip: 25414; Coal: 72.8%