December 22, 2014

When Holiday Cheer Is Lacking But You Don't Want To Just Be Going Through The Motions

Last week at church during worship, I had a vision.

It's one I have 'seen' before years ago but this time, there was a bit more to the end of it. The first time I experienced this, I didn't know what I was seeing, but this time I recognized Isaiah 52 right away!

I can't recall what we were singing or how long this lasted, but as I worshipped with my hands raised high and my heart bowed low, I was saying the lyrics while singing a different song.

It's one filled with, "How Long"s and "Come Quickly!"

In this weary world... oh how we need a Savior!

Suddenly, while my eyes were closed, I saw a scene unfold in my imagination... the rhythm of the song in the natural realm shifted and changed and the vision slowed and came in to focus:
I saw a woman, handcuffed and chained, dressed in rags sitting on the ground. She looked defeated and worn out.  SUDDENLY keys appear within her reach, but she is so used to being chained that she doesn't notice that that which will unlock her bondage is right at her feet.
She finally sees the keys, timidly reaches out for them -eyes darting all around.  She unlocks the chains and hesitantly crawls to her knees... she slowly stands up and dusts herself off.  As she stretches and stands up tall, suddenly the cuffs at her feet become a Bow, and the keys in her hand become Arrows.

 She looks down and sees what is happening and immediately she becomes like a skilled archer, confident and fast, quickly releasing arrows (which are keys to freedom) and never missing her mark.
(End of vision.)

My first thought was, "That which holds us bondage can be used to bring others' freedom!"

I was thinking back to the arrows and the bow and I heard God whisper, 

"It may bend you, but it will. not. break. you!"

Are you a fan of Christa Wells? Yeah, me too! I immediately thought of this:

I came back home and journaled this all out and found myself wondering what I am chained to... what is holding me back right now in this season? I know I have been set free... but aren't we all really looking for needing to learn more verses for our freedom song? It seems there are always parts where we're not yet singing an unchained melody.

I was telling the Lord how this Christmas, this Advent, has been harder, quieter, and I have fought off the feelings of just going through the motions!  Oh I know... I know the dangers of that and I refuse to do it. When I am numb and doing things merely out of habit or tradition, I am left feeling empty and alone, instead of filled and full of joy.

But this Christmas has yet to feel very Christmasy for me.

I keep waiting... anticipating.

For I know Advent.  I know that He is always coming for us!

I find when I feel I am simply going through the motions that I am most often running from Him.

Not on purpose... not consciously anyway.
No, it's that I tire of waiting.

I know Advent and I read of the 400 years of silence, and my heart can't take another ten minutes and I know that I am weak but before I know what is happening, I take back the time I set aside for Him because in all the waiting, it can feel like nothing is getting done

But even now, with every list checked off and everything wrapped up and tied with a bow, my heart wants what it wants.  

But what it wants, I just don't know.

This unsettling... this eyes wide open to the weary world, but not so much to the rejoicing... it pushes me to open my Bible in prayer... and I see it... I say it... and then I begin to feel that it's true:
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You will destroy all who are false to You and like [spiritual] harlots depart from You.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works."
                                                                        Psalm 73:25-28 Amplified

Yes. This. 
This is what my heart wants.
But sometimes I forget!

I love how it reads in The Voice:
"But the closer I am to You,
my God, the better
because life with You is good..."
Amen and Amen! 

It's sad but it's true: Sometimes I need to be reminded! Maybe you do, too!

Maybe you feel chained up, locked in, and anything but free... maybe you, like me, can look around you and read the headlines and feel all the feels of weariness but not the feels of rejoicing... can I encourage you to remember that He has given us the keys to our freedom.  They are right there at our feet! And oh how I pray that in the next few days, a weary world will rejoice and He will set our feet to dancing!

Here's to freedom!

Here's to Advent coming 
   and He is here!

Here's to Life with God is good!

Here's to a babe in a manger
   and God came near!

Lord, let us remember!


  1. Yes, my friend, God has indeed come near!! Sometimes I get caught up in the weariness of the world and forget! Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Isn't it nice to know we are not alone in how easily we can forget! Praise God He really has - He really DOES - come near!

  2. Every word, every comma, every image you write here, resonates Karrilee, this may be the best thing I've ever read of yours. Perfectly expressed in every way. xo

    1. You are way too kind, my friend! So glad this resonated - it just confirms that I am not alone here! xoxo

  3. Loved this, I too have not been feeling the feels of rejoicing this year, great reminder to draw close to Jesus. He is where our help comes from. Merry Christmas Karrilee!

    1. Amen, Tobi! Merry Christmas friend! Praying the feels of rejoicing sneak up on us all!

  4. Beautiful! I have been in that place so often and it is always good to keep God's Word in front of us as a reminder. I'm thankful that this Christmas and Advent has been very different but still feel those tendencies creeping in.

    1. Jo - I am so happy that this Christmas and Advent has been different... praying the rejoicing continues!

  5. Your words go deep into my heart. I want to have that JOY that comes with this season, but I feel chained to my emotions right now. Continuing to reach for it as I pursue Him!

    1. Praying that the feels of rejoicing bubble up from within for us all, my friend! Reach for it... something about those who seek will find! Love you!

  6. My favorite psalm is 73 - thanks for sharing - when i first read it in college, i wrote in the margin: this isn't true of me yet, but I want it to be!
    i'm a little farther along at 62 ! but miles to go - grateful for the Song Who came in a manger and set us free. Thank you for your post! visiting from Cheerleader this morning.

    1. Oh I love this... I love that you have allowed yourself to grow into it... to claim it for yourself! Some days - I feel it and know that it's me... other days it is more like a declaration of faith! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. This is so timely - I have NEVER before seen a year where so many people I know (myself included) feel so low at Christmastime - I feel like there's an especially strong spirit of oppression on us this year, and praying for us all to be lifted up from under it!

    1. Amen Julie... I am praying in agreement! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Amen. I love the part about needing to learn new verses to our freedom song! Sometimes, it seems as if we think the freedom song is case specific and then should morph into a remembrance song--when in reality, it's the same song for every challenge--we just need to learn new verses!

    1. Amen, my friend! Sometimes we think we know that song by heart - but we only know the first couple of verses... and we all know - it's those last ones that really bring home the power! ;) I loved that part too! Thanks for picking up on it!

  9. Anonymous5:33 AM

    I love how God speaks to us and through us to reach others. Today your post spoke to me as I reflect back on my Advent, my preparation for the King, and realize that there are many times I was just going through the motions because, you know, things had to get done. I want freedom from the chains that hold me back and I want the ability to walk each day shining for God. Praying for all this season that we feel God's presence as a beacon in our lives to then shine for others. Blessed you joined The Weekend Brew and happy new year!

    1. Amen, my friend! I want that too! Let's lean in together! Happy New Year, Mary!


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