Friday, February 12, 2016

A Trip on the Merry-Go-Round

Yep, you read that title right. And no, I'm not giving any secrets away. You'll just have to wait and see what that means. First, it's confession time.

Let's see. It's been, oh, nine days since I wrote the post about letting go. How has everybody else done with that one? Because this girl right here has some serious short-term memory issues.

Last week, it was really something. It was a normal Friday morning. I had my to-do list full of hopeful expectations for the day. Morning to early afternoon was devoted to homeschooling my cousin, Corinne, and getting through my to-dos. Afternoon to evening was given to my nanny job. There wasn't much wiggle room.

But what I didn't account for as I carefully scrawled in my plans was that within the hour, my mom, dad, and younger sister would all start feeling sick. Like, really sick. Awesome.

It felt like I put my planner in a blender and watched it get mushed into a million, tiny pieces. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. I was running around the house, juggling teaching with setting up activities for my two youngest siblings, while making lunch for everyone and caring for the sickies - all before I had to get ready and leave for work.

I'm fine, I told myself. This is no problem. I can serve my family. That's great.

My emotions weren't buying it. NO! This is not okay. This is an absolute disaster! Serving your family was definitely NOT on the to-do list!

And unfortunately, my emotions were winning out.

How dare they all get sick like this! I thought, as I rushed up the stairs and stormed into my parent's bedroom. "Can I get you anything?" I punctuated that question with a deep sigh, just to make sure they knew exactly how much this was inconveniencing me.

I know. I'm cringing over here, people. And umm, this is probably not a good time to mention that the sickness my family had was the same one I had had a couple days prior. So, I was mad at them for getting the sickness I gave them? *cough* Not a star moment, huh?

The joy I had felt during devotions was gone. I mean, like, packed-up-and-went-hauling-to-the-airport kind of gone. All my good expectations? My desire to abide in His presence and let go of my control? They must have all decided to take a family vacation that day.

And I was left, stuck on my own merry-go-round of bitterness, self-pity, and straight up angst. For those of you who know what I mean, that is not a fun merry-go-round to be on. Or get off of. Because once you're on that thing, it only spins faster and faster and faster. Eventually, the world around you is just a splash of colors and you're feeling so sick that you'll give anything to make it stop. But the longer you stay on the merry-go-round, the faster it goes. And jumping off that flying circle is going to hurt. A lot. It's either that or puking your guts out. Neither of those options sound very appealing.

Why, oh why, do I ever get on the merry-go-round?

But even as I hesitate in that swirling chaos, I hear His voice. In the jumble of color, I catch a glimpse of His outline, standing there. His arms open wide. He's calling to me. Me? The one who disobeyed Him in the first place by getting on this wheel of death. He's standing there and I can just make out His voice, "Come to Me, you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

And I jump.

On the morning I acted like a decapitated chicken, I could sense His prodding, sense His voice calling me back to Him. I knew I was wrong. I knew that my attitude was downright rotten - and that it was only getting worse as I allowed it to continue. But I didn't want to stop and admit it. It felt better to be upset.

Remember the story of Martha in the Bible? What were Jesus' words to her? "Martha, Martha, you are worried and burdened about so many things..."

Yikes. Am I the only one who can relate to that? That word "worried" means "to be anxious, troubled with cares, to seek to promote one's interests, caring or providing for". Wow. How often I seek to do good, but allow the cares and concerns of the logistics or the busyness to overwhelm me? But that's not just all. I was frustrated with my sick family because I wasn't able to get to the things I wanted to do. Selfishness. It goes back to the heart posture.

I love the contrast of Mary. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, simply looking up at His face, enamored with all that He is and catching every word as if it were gold. It was as if she didn't even hear Martha's shrieks of injustice and demands for help. She was undistracted. Undisturbed. Focused on her Lord.

That's where we have to have to start, friends. At His feet.

Because eventually, that to-do list does have to be attended to. That housework won't vanish on its own. That college paper won't write itself. That volunteer work is wonderful and right. We're not called to do nothing. But where is your gaze? What is your focus? What is your heart posture?

" thing is necessary..." Those were Jesus' words to Martha. Is He saying the same to us today? In all your striving, all your busyness, all your good intentions, have you misplaced your One Thing? Your One Love? Your One Need?

Don't let the merry-go-round entice you. I'm telling you from experience, that circular contraption is not worth it. Ever.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Let Go

I'm just going to get this out of the way. I'm writing this post for me, okay? Because I desperately need to hear these truths right now. This is soul-preaching here, people. Let's go.

See the picture on the right? Go on. Turn your eyeballs over there and read it. What do you think?

You know the verse, right? "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) We use it all the time - on our mugs, our wall decor, our jewelry.

But if we know this verse so well, what's the big deal about "letting go" versus "being still"? Why does it matter?

The difference might very well be insignificant to you and that's alright. Remember, I'm writing this to myself. And self needs to be reminded of the difference. ;)

I like control. I like planning. I like feeling like I know where I'm going and understanding the steps needed to get there. But unfortunately (actually it's quite the opposite, but my controlling self likes to think it's unfortunate), being in control isn't exactly my job description. There's Someone else who owns that title. No matter how often I forgot - or simply ignore - the fact.

It amazes me. I've been through several major seasons in my life where He's had to teach me to trust His guidance - and He's always proved faithful. In spite of that, when I find myself looking at an unknown, an uncertain future or a big decision that needs to be made, I feel the pull to try to take control again. My fingers begin to itch and I slowly inch my way toward the steering wheel, hoping no one notices if I just use a couple fingers to help with the navigation.

Like, really? When I sit back and think about it, it's absurd. It's really the most illogical thing ever. I have a perfect Heavenly Father who's promised to work everything in life for my good and His glory. Out of anyone in the world, I should be the most fearless, uncontrolling, peaceful person.

So, why do I still feel my fingers itching for control?

Because for some crazy reason, I think that I know more about my life than the One who dreamed it up before the world was born. I think that I can figure out this next little unknown better than the Author of Redemption.

And it's in those moments when I need to be reminded to let go. Not just "be still". But let go and know that He's God. 

Let go of that doubting little voice. Let go of those past experiences that keep me shackled in fear. Let go of that desire for control. Let go of that worried grasping and clutching for answers NOW.

Let go and know that He is God -
   that He is my good Shepherd,
   that He means it when He said I shall not want;
   that He will lead me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake,
   that I need fear no evil, for He is with me;
have faith,
   that He supplies everything I need and will need in Christ,
   that He can direct my heart as simply as water running over His hands;
   on His promises of good,
   His proven faithfulness and my Father's heart for me;
be confident,
   in the revealed character of my God,
   that He will make me know His ways and lead me through every season.

Okay self. Don't let the reminder of these truths keep you from letting them impact you. Yeah soul, these questions are for you. One quick note. Letting go doesn't mean inactivity. Sometimes it does. But other times, it'll simply mean letting go of the fear of moving forward. Dropping the excuses you've been hanging on to for so long.

What are you holding on to today?
Are there areas in your life you've been fighting for control?
Has the Lord been whispering to your heart to let go of something? To let go and give it
to Him, because you trust Him?
Have you been holding on to excuses for inactivity? Do you need to move forward in something you know the Lord is urging you in?

If you answered "yes" (like me) to any of those questions, the next question is: What are you going to do about it? No, don't move on to another website, another task, another distraction. Right now. Do you hear Him?

"Let go and know that I am God."

Will you?