"preserve me, o god, for in you i take refuge...you are my lord; i have no good apart from you. the sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply. the lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed i have a beautiful inheritance. i bless the lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. for you will not abandon my soul or let your holy one see corruption. you make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
i don't trust god's control in my life. i don't trust that he really gave me the kids he wanted for his glory and for my good. i don't trust that he really gave me the husband or the financial situation or the body or the friends or family he gave me for his glory and for my good. before you send an e-mail to share "the good news" with me, hear me out...
i think i know what life should look like. i have this perfect plan i've put together for my life, and the life god has given me lines up close enough to the one i think i should have for me to believe i've had control over it and made it this way, but because it falls short JUST A LITTLE in every area, i still fight and scramble thinking i have control and if i just fight a little more, i'll get it JUST RIGHT. maybe if it were way off, it would be a little easier to know i wasn't in control. maybe if i wanted kids and didn't have them, hated my husband, and was on the verge of losing my house and going hungry, i could easily believe that life is full of pain and i was made for another world. but the life i have looks so close to my "perfect" one. so i keep fighting for perceived perfection. and i keep winding up short. and i despair because i feel hopeless to ever get it right. so what am i looking for? heaven on earth. i want life to feel right. i want to stay in a state of peace. i want to pretend, even if i don't say it out loud, that i was made for this world. i want life to serve me well, and offer me the right husband, kids, look, friends, house, energy. i think all of these things are the real keys to life. so ultimately, i think having control and being able to move my life circumstances around like chess pieces is where true peace and life lies. i don't know how to play chess, but i'm guessing you win if you make the right moves. i keep making the right moves...the ones that should lead me to win, but just as i'm on the verge of winning, my opponent moves in and blocks my move. in the past, i might have thought this opponent was satan, but now i'm thinking differently. god hasn't let me get it "just right" because his "just right" is different than mine. his plan is for his glory and for my good; not necessarily the good i think is good.
i want ______ plus or minus ________:
- brett because i think he's pretty much perfect, plus _____ ( i won't air a flaw in cyber world, but fill in the blank for whatever you wish your husband did or didn't do :))
- the kids i've got because i love them more than i could ever love another kid, minus blakely pooping her pants every day for 2 weeks or kennedy asking to eat 28 times a day
- the way i look because i'm "fearfully and wonderfully made" (right?), plus 6 more inches, plus a bigger head (i have a peanut head), minus a few inches from my hips, plus bigger eyes and a smaller nose, blah, blah, blah
- the mind i have, plus more creativity, minus a constant need to maintain perceived order
- the schedule i have, plus more naps
- the house i have, plus a california closet.
- etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc
get my point? do you like my equation? it looks good to me, and i think if all of it really happened, THEN i would be happy, because THEN i would be in control and THEN god would really be good (and i wouldn't just be saying it out of truth). but this has been the story of my life. i know god has been gracious to me. my life is full of blessings, and i can honestly say i wouldn't trade my life for anybody's in the world. but i also think it's funny that god has allowed my life to keep lining up more and more closely the older i get to my perceived perfect life. because now i think he's showing me that i'm "almost there", and i live in more despair now than ever. i lived my whole life dreaming about the future. when i would feel hurt in my heart, instead of entering into the pain and asking the lord to meet me there and heal me, i would suppress it and think about something fun. for example, when i was working, i felt a lot of anxiety regarding my unhealthy fear of authority and quest for approval, but instead of taking those 2 years to enter into these dark places of my heart and ask god for healing, i spent 2 years dreaming about the day i would have kids and be a stay-at-home mom since that's all i ever wanted to do, because then all my problems would go away. i didn't deal with those fears; i suppressed them and lived for the future. so here's one of the (probably many) things that have led me to where i am today: the future i've "lived for" for 29 years is here, and i'm still the same me with the same baggage. when i thought about my perfect future, i forgot that sin and brokenness would exist there too. i guess i thought that girl i saw in my future would be a different person. i'm changed, yes, but i'm still me. duh. so i thought restoration and redemption came through fixed circumstances, not through the person of christ (even though i would have said it did). my "fixed circumstances" are still broken. the kids i've lived to have still disobey me and embarrass me in public and hit each other and demand every ounce of energy i've got. the husband i counted on to fix my life still has flaws (imagine that). the perfect days i had planned for myself as a stay-at-home mom are often marked by exhaustion and loneliness and telling k and b to read to each other because i don't want to read the same freakin book again. the countless kingdoms i've built here on earth...the places i've tried to find life...aren't lasting. i don't know if you got this message from the song "eve" by sandra mccracken i posted awhile ago, but my favorite line is "when your kingdoms have crumbled down, where are you now?". my old answer would have been "screwed and depressed because life didn't work out like you wanted it to". the words of the song, and the refreshing and life-changing truth, is "sweet redemption rings in the air; sweet redemption will hold you there". god dwells in our broken places. he is a god of redemption, and he loves entering the filth of our hearts. he lives in the rubble of my broken kingdoms, even knowing that i'll build more today, tomorrow, the next day and the next. growing in a knowledge of his unconditional love and grace towards me...letting it grip my heart and not just remain a truth in my head...is leading me to trust the only one who is good.
"you are my lord; i have no good apart from you." - psalm 16:2