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pay attention va

October 9, 2015

When I set out to write a blog post the words are written in my head first. One of two things always happens:

  1. I get to the computer and start typing and get anywhere from 3 words to 3 paragraphs in and my whole post shifts to something different and I usually learn a much needed lesson or Truth
  2. God doesn’t even let me get to the keyboard before the words are flipped in my head and I learn something!

The latter happened Wednesday night as we drove across Arizona under a bajillion stars. I had just hiked rim to rim of the GRAND CANYON. Can we just take a moment to let that sink in. Here’s photo proof I HIKED 23.9 MILES.


Anyway, so there I sit, riding under the bajillion stars, and a story comes to mind and I start “writing”. I get to a point and decide that once at my computer I’ll type for you “God and I wrestled with something” and then I would put in cute little parenthesis for you to read that would say… (this “something” is too sensitive for me to talk about right now, email me if you’re curious)

And then that word shift/learning thing happened. Crap. I have to tell the whole story don’t I? And as I “wrote” in my head this beautiful realization of what actually happened that afternoon started coming to light and I realized that I must lay down my armor to tell you the full story, Brene Brown style.

Here it goes….

I don’t do anything without music. So after a mile into our hike of “ohhhh” “ahhhhh” that canyon is BIG, it hit me I was going to be walking for like 3 years and I might as well hunker down and get focused, aka listen to my perfectly planned and organized “Hiking” playlist. (I need to note that I was carrying an extra 10 ounces in my pack with a back up cell phone battery so I wouldn’t run out of music- you can tell I was serious about this)

I pull out my phone, pull out my headphones, and plug them in. I find my perfect playlist and hit play. The music blared through the phone speaker not the headphones. But wait. They are plugged in. I wiggled. I fiddled. I did the whole spin trick. Needtobreathe continued to blare in the canyon. Blaring music in a perfectly silent and beautiful atmosphere is NOT hiker etiquette- so the headphone situation was at about an 8.7 on my “this is a crisis” scale. Dad noticed and walked over to me and fiddeled, jiggled, twisted but nope…music still blared. WELL. Full blown crisis mode. HOW WOULD I SURVIVE THIS 80000 miles OF WALKING?!!?!

Admist the panic I heard: “You won’t get married”

Now. When I say “heard” I do not mean an audible voice. It could have been God or the wind or satan or the bird that flew over my bead…I don’t know where I heard it…what matters is that in that moment those are the words I thought of and I WAS PISSED.

What do you MEAN I’m not going to get married?

O, I was MAD. Like fire breathing, anger spitting mad. But since I couldn’t throw anything but myself off the canyon walls I decided that my headphones all of a sudden not working wasn’t a coincidence or just some “bad luck”. It was time for me to “pay attention” but WHAT?!?!? Why did THIS have to be what I had to pay attention to??? Couldn’t I pay attention to the beatiful scenery and the fact that my feet hurt already.

With nowhere to run and no music to distract me, I had no choice but to press into the anger. There was NO getting out of this one. I was 7 miles from the bottom. 7 miles from the lodge. 7 miles from WINE.

I was so mad, I told God I wasn’t talking to Him anymore. HOW DARE YOU. If I started sidetracking to another far more enticing topic I would think about that whole not getting married thing and I’d be furious all over again.

There was no magical moment. There was no breakthrough. There wasn’t even really a “finish line” to the whole ordeal. But as I replayed the story in my head 4 days later, I realized the anger wasn’t there anymore. I felt 100 pounds lighted. While riding in a car across Arizona, under the bajillion stars, I realized some type of burden had been lifted. I was ignorant to just how much anger I had been carrying amidst the “His timing” “I trust Him” “His story for me is better than the one I can write myself” stuff.

Of course, He knew I was carrrying all that anger, but I needed to acknowledge it.

Do I really believe I won’t ever get married? Nah. Maybe. I don’t know. I definitely don’t believe that “voice” was a prophecy over my life. But the “You’re not getting married” sentence stirred something in me that needed stirring. God knows how I feel about getting married and I now KNOW that He knows it. On the South Kaibab trail, we had a really real (and occasionally vulgar) conversation. I left something down there, anger, a burden, whatever you want to call it…down in that canyon…and I did not carry it out.

As I continued to “write” this post under the Arizona sky, I asked God for a verse or something Biblical to connect the dots to Truth. I never like to publically post my opinion without first running it through His filter. I didn’t get a verse but I got Peter. O sweet Peter. He walked around with Jesus. Peter (as did I’m sure everyone else who hung out with him at the time) thought Jesus was going to kill all the enemies, take over the throne, and rule with the disciples next to him showered in success, glory, fame and riches.

Could you imagine thinking all that and then being told your buddy, your friend, your supposed savior of the world, would hang on a cross and DIE? I’d be a little confused… and for sure mad.

In Mark 8 (the famous “get behind me satan” verses) it says Peter rebukes Jesus when He starts talking about his death. Google defines rebuke as expressing sharp disapproval or criticism… anger! Peter was mad.

In the verses following, Jesus doesn’t tell Peter that his anger is not valid. He doesn’t even tell him to stop being angry… He does however, remind Peter to set his mind on the things of God and not man.

Just like Peter, I had to acknowledge that I was mad. My dreams of getting married align with Peter’s dreams for Jesus being the hero…the dreams are “our way”…but just like Peter, I don’t have the BIG PICTURE… yet. So my reaction is anger.

I’m struggling with how to end this post because in Peter’s story we know how it ends, with mine, we don’t.

All I know is that in that canyon, my headphones didn’t work because I needed to let myself feel something I didn’t think I was “supposed to feel”. Trust Him! Have faith! I had forced myself into thinking all those things about my future while ignoring the very real emotion of frustration and anger. Now, instead of ignoring those feelings I’ll continue to acknowledge them, humbly asking for trust and faith because, like Peter in Mark 8, my dreams are my own and my persepctive is small.

As I was packing on Wednesday, getting ready for that 10 hour road trip through Arizona, I almost jokingly plugged my headphones into my phone, went to music, and hit play.



If dad hadn’t been on the side of the canyon, fiddling and twisting my headphones to make them work with me, I would have thought I was crazy. But no, he was there. And when I walked into his cabin to show him they worked he smiled.

He knew he had witnessed God telling his daughter, “VA, I need you to pay attention.”

xoxo, va

One Comment leave one →
  1. Virginia permalink
    October 9, 2015 8:56 am

    Amazing. What insight you found on your adventure into God’s world. He is There and He is with you and He has a plan for you and He loves you.

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