January 25, 2011

Pardon Me

. . . for sounding like a broken record.

I find myself learning the same lessons over again, and I almost feel that therefore I am not making progress, but I'm human after all . . . God is patient with this impatient child, and I need some reinforcement in my life.

I intentionally took time off from work this week to rest . . . but ironically, I am horrible at resting. I thrive on busyness and tend to gain self-worth from my schedule. I panicked at this week's empty schedule and started filling it as fast as I could . . . then spent all day yesterday cleaning, running errands, working out, out of guilt for having a day off.

This is totally counter-productive. I took time off of work so that I'd come back refreshed and rested. If I spend this week feeling guilty and frantically trying to keep myself occupied, I will come back to work feeling exhausted or as if I'd never taken the time off to begin with.

I guess you could say I had an intervention from the girls in my small group last night - they insisted that I take time to shut down and truly get away, even if I am staying in the area.

I know they're right . . . and I do want to actually take a vacation. I'm just really bad at it, unless I do something intentional - so I'm working on that. Isn't that ironic? That I have to work at resting because it doesn't come naturally?

Part of it may also be that busyness is a distraction. If I'm too busy to sit still, then I'm too busy to think about the things in my life that I'm unhappy about or don't understand. I'm also too busy to get bored. Clearly I cannot handle being bored, let alone sitting still. If I'm too busy to sit still, then I'm too busy to become occupied with my impatience.

Lately I've been caught up again, feeling that my future is going nowhere, that things will never change, and that it's all my fault. I've been scheming and predicting the future, and my predictions never look too hot. I've been under the hallucination that I'm in complete control, and my circumstances are the result of my own rebellion, mistakes and foolishness. Therefore, I get frazzled, stressed, anxious.

Well . . . let's face it. God is a God of peace, not disorder (1 Cor. 14:33)
and He wants all of me, even for my thoughts to be in His loving care (2 Cor. 10:5).

When I'm freaking out and allowing fear to paralyze me, I'm disregarding God's character. I'm forgetting that He is in complete control, even when I cannot see what He's doing. I am not surrendering my thoughts to Him. I am forgetting His promise, I am forgetting what the Gospel is all about. That He will never leave nor forsake me - He made a covenant with me, and it's on lock. Going back to the last post - He works all things together for good, and nothing will be able to separate me from His love (Romans 8:28-39), not even my perceptions of my circumstances or my perceptions of Him.

Anxiety and worry, especially about the future stems from unbelief. Satan will use any foothold he can grab, and all too often I find myself in these cycles for too long before I realize what's happened.

It's not my job to worry about the future (Matthew 6:33). My job is to live a life that is fully dependent on Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
-Proverbs 3:5-6
When I think that the future, or the straightness of my paths, is within my realm of control, I'm giving myself too much credit.

If God is who He says He is, then He's calling us to live a life of peace. A life where we depend on and lean on Him - even when we don't understand, even when we're impatient, even when things aren't working out the way we thought and hoped they would.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to live this way? To trust, as He's calling us to, that He is in complete loving control, and that He uses all things for His plans over our lives? Instead of allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, to walk in faith, even when our steps our shaky, knowing that He's gone before us and will always be with us?

Not depending on my own ability to see, my attempts at predicting the future, my fickle emotions that can change with the drop of a hat?

I cannot see into the future, even though I sure try a lot. I am not called to worry about tomorrow, this week, this year, or even the next 10 years.

What I can do is choose to live today. To take this day and acknowledge Him. To let go of my anxiety and false sense of control. To surrender. To trust, to rest, to deny myself daily. To remember God's character and promises.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
-Psalm 62:5-8

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