This past week has been a blur. Aaron and I have been reminded that the future is so uncertain, no matter how obsessive and neurotic I am about planning. We are in an intense waiting period -- and I have to say -- it isn't exactly fun. We both engaged in interviews, and we are both guilty of looking for housing on Craigslist for an embarrassingly long time. Preparation for the changes that are bound to come, right? Preparation is fine and dandy, but why is it so draining? Shouldn't preparing for what's to come provide more ease than anxiety? If my stomach is in knots after all of this "preparation," than I think it's safe to say, I'm doing it wrong.
The problem is: we are passionate when we have big ideas. It's not so much that the passion is wrong, it's just that I am addicted to "potential." I scheme about future plans, I dream about the perfect job, I create rigid routines and schedules for myself and our family that I can't necessarily maintain, and it's all so far removed from the "now." I don't know if it's just easier to be consumed with the "potential" in life or if I am just too stubborn to accept where and when I've been placed in the very specific "now." Regardless of why I do it, I know that rejecting the present is weighing me down and labeling so much of me that I wonder how obvious my frustration is to people I see at the grocery store or walking my dog. I wonder if they can tell that I am absolutely livid after coming to grips with the truth of where my joy really comes from.
In the coming days, we should know where we'll be living come April or May. We have some strong opinions, and it's absolutely horrifying to realize how clearly rebellious my heart is when thinking that the plans I have for our family might not align with God's perfect provision. I mean really, how arrogant is that? I have never so clearly seen my control issues until this very strange season, and let me tell you, they are deeply rooted as if to declare, 'hey lady, we're here to stay!' It's not just control issues; it's entitlement, it's pride, it's arrogance... and somehow resentment and bitterness show up to the party and linger longer than anyone else.
And in the midst of all that loud ruckus, there is a quiet, still voice that I pray will prevail -- stronger and louder every day.
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
-- James: 4:13-15If the Lord wills it! We are so puffed up, aren't we? I find myself so concerned with things outside of my control that it actually diminishes my gratitude and ability to see those sweet blessings.
If you're anything like me, you may read those verses and initially want to slam your head against a wall. How discouraging, you may think, that I am so diluted with talk of this and thoughts of that. But Christians, take heart! How reassuring is it that the Lord has a will specifically for us -- that He plans for us.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.
-- Romans 8:28And we know that it is a good plan! Much better than anything we could dream up on our own, because He is perfect and time does not hold him; He sees the entire canvas and we see the smudge of paint. We are the smudge of paint, and yet He concerns himself with us! He not only concerns himself with our individual days, but he wills it for our good. That doesn't mean every day will be easy, but rather that He is always working it out for our good (and His glory). What glorious truth is this? What a trustworthy God! We can lay our hearts at the foot of the cross, our anxiety, our "trying" and know that He is worthy even when we are not. Let this be an encouragement to you as it is to me if you too are enslaved to these issues of control.
Also, if you struggle with this too, I'd love to chat sometime over coffee... (or an online coffee date?) The Lord knows I need to keep these truths at the forefront of my heart.