Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 328 - a wonderful paradox

Ahh. Home.

From Tifferson Continued
Spontaneous vacations are lovely and especially glorious when they're near the ocean and spent sprawled out on a white, sandy beach. As perplexing as it is... I'm home today feeling a little bit of bewilderment.

Glad to be home though. There's something about returning home that is just plain wonderful.

Due to the overwhelming volume of conversations I've had with people lately about... singleness and relationships... I thought that I'd just spend a little time pondering it with you all. Just my thoughts. That's all.

Dunno about you... but it does seem like everyone around me is getting married... having babies... buying houses... and I am nowhere near any of those things. I have a job. I am still amazed that I do have a job and I'm working. So very thankful for that. Someone called me a widow the other day and for a split second, my mind said "no I'm not..." and then I remembered that I am. Kind of like when someone says your age and you're almost shocked that you are THAT old... because you just don't feel like it. It's hard to believe. It's sometimes hard to come to grips with the fact that I'm 28 and I'm right back at the beginning. I'm almost 30 and most notably... I'm alone. Even if I met someone tomorrow, started dating them... I doubt I'd get married before I'm 30... doubt I'd have kids before 35... almost like almost getting to the finish line and then having someone say, hold on... not you... you're going right back to the starting point. Better luck next time around.

It's not so much a bad thing. At least I'm a different person now... having experienced a few things... just a little bit wiser having learned from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones again.

Deep within my heart (and also pretty much all throughout the middle and up to the surface as well), I desire relationships. I want friends. I want a best friend. I want a boyfriend who will eventually become a husband. If I dwell on the fact that I have many good friends, but not a best friend... and also no boyfriend... it does tend to push me into some spiraling cesspool of loneliness. Some mismatch between what I dream and desire versus what is my reality is what breeds disappointment. I have to say though... that although I dream and desire for things that elude me at this particular juncture in my life... there is Something and Someone that I desire even more... and that is an active, growing relationship with God.

I know that all of you who have grown up at church... you know that this is the "right" answer, but is this the answer that aligns your head, your heart, and your spirit? I would venture to say that for the vast majority... the answer is no. You know that this is the right answer because either you've learned it at church or you've heard someone else say it and they sounded super spiritual so you're going to say it too. This might not be the case for everyone, but I know this was the case for me for the majority of my life. OK... you can feel free to counter me on this... but as for me... I think that what I learned growing up... was how to play a certain role at home, at school, at church... and how to be a fake.

I remember reading somewhere in Mere Christianity (I think...) that if you desire to be a certain way... just do it... act the part... and the heart behind it will come later. Correct me if I'm remembering wrong. To a certain extent... this might be true. In college... I remember always coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes. I would break down and wash them with full-on bitterness and anger in my heart towards my roommates... but all the while telling myself that I'm training my heart for motherhood... or to fulfill some sort of thankless role that women inevitably grow into. Maybe my roommates were thankful for my service... maybe they didn't even notice... I think I hoped that they'd notice so that they'd be guilt tripped into washing their own dishes so I wouldn't have to do it for them again. Evil. Anyway, either way... that was a pretty darn sinful attitude to have in the midst of my "service". Maybe my actions showed what kind of person I wanted to be... but my heart wasn't quite there yet. At least, it gave the appearance of service... and with the added bonus that the dishes got washed. At least. But... was that a heart that is pleasing to God? Is that the heart of a joyful giver? Not really. Those were the actions of a faker. The hands that serve with the face and heart full of bitterness and the opposite of love... nope. Contradictions.

Then I swung in the other direction... where if I didn't feel like doing it, I didn't do it at all. My excuse was... "my heart's just not in it, so why bother?". This is not right either.

I cannot force my heart, my mind, my emotions to line up. I feel what I feel. My heart wants what my heart wants. My mind thinks what it thinks. It is what it is. Everything is all mixed up and in disarray. No peace.

I think part of what is so amazing about God is that... when we seek Him with everything we've got... everything just falls into place. Living life on my own terms, in my own timing... all it's shown me is disappointment. One disappointment after another. I used to say that I'm not a pessimist... I'm a realist. It's very realistic to know that everyone will let you down, that disappointment is inevitable, and that the only thing you can count on is yourself. And then, I myself, let myself down by my own failures and imperfections. Who do I have to count on then? No one person in this world, definitely.

Responding to God has been the best thing that's ever happened to me. He is the only One who never disappoints. NEVER. Living in obedience to Him makes everything fall into place... makes life make sense... the more I pursue Him, the more I want to. The more I obey, the more joy I have. The more I choose Him, the more energy I have to choose Him. It is a wonderful paradox that has made me a believer in good... someone who hopes... someone who no longer looks at the worst of things, but looks at the best parts of every situation. God did that. Not I.

I don't know what lies ahead for me. I don't know what lies ahead for you. Instead of worrying about it or focusing on what we don't have... how bout we just... enjoy where we are right here and now? Be thankful for what we do have, do what we can to work towards what we don't have... and leave the rest up to God. We can do our part up until a certain point and then it's out of our hands. Trusting that the hands that we leave things with... are the biggest, the best, the most capable, the most powerful... the ones that have only good planned for us... is the best possible place we can leave our stuff.

OK. My brain doesn't feel like it's made a good enough point to stop writing but I'm going to stop anyway. I'm tired of sitting here.

Quote from my Bible reading commentary:
Nehemiah refused to become discouraged and give up. Accomplishing the will of God is dependent upon remembering that He is Sovereign over the affairs of our lives. Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Heb. 13:5-6).
Another one:
Behind all the world's evil is Satan, going to and fro in the earth . . . walking up and down in it (1:7) in his continuous effort to destroy all that is good. But Satan is under the constant surveillance of God and can do nothing without His permission.
Satan assumed that, like every self-serving person, Job was faithful only because God would reward him. During his intense suffering and testing, Job's wife even suggested that he curse (renounce)God, and die (2:9). She too had suffered loss, but it seems that her greatest loss was her faith in God. Job realized he was not the owner of all he possessed, not even of his children, but he was merely the Lord's manager of things entrusted to his care. From there, it was just one more step of faith for Job to accept that God, in His infinite wisdom, had the right to reclaim His possessions anytime He chose. Instead of cursing God, Job worshiped Him, saying: The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD (1:21).
Spiritual victories do not just happen; they are dependent upon one's faith in God and faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Apart from the indwelling power of His Spirit and His Word, all efforts to live a victorious Christian life are doomed to failure. To remain faithful in the midst of trials, we must develop a love for God's Word which creates a confident faith in Him.
God, our Master Planner, is still in full control. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Heb. 13:8).


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