The high notes of a saxophone seep through overhead speakers overpowering the hum of steam turning milk into frothy bubbles behind the counter of confections. Jazz music isn’t what brought me to Starbucks. It was the hawks circling me on a walk yesterday that encouraged me to drive here this morning.

Their broad wing span gliding in a halo, against a backdrop of marble blue cloudless sky, affirmed something inside of me is dying. An instinctual aerial assessment from birds looking for prey provided an awakening to the truth.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Resistance has become a habitual part of my daily life. A heavy boulder I carry around that threatens to plug passion from pouring out profusely the way it usually does.

When I’m under stress, I resist love from others. I walk around with an armor of self-protection no one can penetrate. It’s why my weekly rhythm here on the blog isn’t, well, a rhythm right now. More like a pebble thrown in to the swells of rich word extravagance in the community of faith writers.

What I have to offer feels small, worthless, and insignificant.

I’ve been hesitant to share this with you because I fear it may sound like I want your pity when what I really need is your prayers.

During times in the wilderness, when joy turns into a meaningless wandering, we have a choice to be hunters of truth or become the hunted.

This morning, I’m at a round table in the midst of a busy coffee shop, choosing to listen for Presence in new surroundings and give resistance a shove in the corner. I don’t give in to disappointment, fear or hopelessness that easily. I told you I was stubborn, remember?

But this is perhaps the first time I’ve come this close to surrendering. Letting unknowns peck away at my resolve until there is nothing left but the carcass of the person I used to be. Nothing left of the Jesus I’ve made in my own image, which is exactly the point of a waiting season, isn’t it?

My friendship with Jesus is being painfully reoriented and perhaps Advent is the perfect time for this.

When all we’ve known is stripped away — all the ways we’ve measured outcomes and reasoned away chaos and suffering — we are left empty, with nothing but the mercy of Jesus and His Almighty, “YES.”

Preparation for the coming of Jesus doesn’t mean we must have everything perfectly figured out. No, it’s the realization that what we think we know about Him is really just one small star in the galaxy of His attributes.

With every arduous step on that walk yesterday, I was dying to myself while those hawks circled above me. Underneath my tattered layers of resistance is a fragile seed of sacred hope; a belief that our dreams will flourish as trees of life for others to rest upon.

In the meantime, we wait for rescue, attentive to signs of His nearness.

And press publish when resistance tells me not to.