Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is it just me, or am I going in circles here?

That's exactly how I felt the other day. Like I've been going round and round and round on some kind of really awful merry-go-round. It's exhausting--because every now and then I get hit with a ton of bricks, or a grand piano, or an anvil (very Looney Toons) of reality. I'm never going to triumph over this, not in this life, not in this flesh. And then I think, what's the point then? Why am I trying? Why do I fight the good fight and press on and all that other stuff?

Because to give up would be unthinkable.

It's hard for a perfectionist to accept never reaching perfection. It's hard for someone who is compulsive, loves controls, and is great at making neat little to-do lists to have to throw all that away because God doesn't work that way. I've come to the earth-shattering conclusion that God doesn't fit in a to-do list. Not time for Him, not His plans, not Him in anyway. He's so much bigger than my to-do list.

One of my cousin had a seven year plan that went something like...go to college...graduate...start a career...get established in said career...then get married. Yeah, his seven year plan got thrown off course when he met, fell in love with, and married his wife. We all had a good chuckle. It's great to have a plan but don't ever expect God to follow it.

Sometimes He'll go along with part of it...almost like He's humoring me, I think. And then just when I think I know what the next step is WHAM! There's a sudden plot twist and we're going in an entirely different direction. Well, it's probably not an entirely different direction but it feels that way for the girl who needs the security blanket of to-do lists and a nightlight of control.

I realize that my 'need' for these things signifies a lack of trust in God's sovereignty and goodness. If I believe He is in control and will only do what is best for me, then I wouldn't worry so much and have to compulsively account for everything. I could just follow Him--mistakes, trips, falls, and sidetracks included. If I didn't rely so much on my own ability to do things right, I could be free to just follow Him. Because God is bigger than my greatest falls. He is stronger than my biggest weaknesses. He has already triumphed over that which I can never triumph.

So I do go in circles. I think we all do. It's part of the human condition. Call it a thorn in our side, or the weakness of flesh, or human stupidity. The name doesn't matter, it's how we deal with our not-so-merry-go-round of life that counts.

I'm not sure that I have a neat tidy concluding paragraph. I think I'm still working on that--in my heart, in my life, in my head. If I ever get it figured out I'll be sure to share it. I'm sure it will be quite profound. But I think the lesson for me today is to find peace somehow in the fact that I'm not going to get it right. But Jesus did. So I don't have to. It's not about what I can do for God or for myself...it's what He can do for me. What He already has done, is doing, and wants to do.

There's something very freeing in that for a perfectionist like me. It's not just accepting sin and going, 'oh well, we're just fallen.' (I had someone say that to me once what I had to confront them about the sin of gossip...I mean, really...oh well, we're just fallen???? REALLY?) It's more about accepting grace to cover those sins, grace to make up for the reality of our fallen state. Grace is either enough or it isn't. Jesus is either bigger than us and our sins, or He isn't. God is either in control, or He isn't. God is either goodness and love, or He isn't. And I either trust in these things and more forward in obedience...or I'm say that all those things aren't true. Fact. Period. Exclamation Point. !

So I won't give up. I'll keep on keeping on and all that other good stuff. And I will try to start every day in a shower of grace, a nice long bubble bath of His goodness, soaking in all He has already given me. Then choose to dress myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, and followed by a strong suit of armor--truth, faith, righteousness, and peace. Because if I start each day already covered in and filled up with God's truths, I've got a shot at getting away from that not-so-merry-go-round. If I can really build each day on the foundation of Him, then maybe the set-backs and upsets won't be so devestating to me. And if I can just learn that God is already perfect, I don't have to be...then I have a chance at becoming perfected through His love.

I wrote what you just read several days ago. Last Friday morning, I think. And this morning (that would be Tuesday) God pointed out something else. A parallell point which I feel that I should add--that He wants me to add.

First--a backstory...my brother is 5 years older than me so when I was in high school (the peak of the drama years for most of us) I went to visit him at college. I stayed in a room with a couple of his girl friends (girl SPACE friends) and listened to them talk. The one was pouring her heart out about what some guy had just done or not done or whatever, and the other tried to reassure her that he was a jerk, or he didn't mean it, or whatever. And I remember thinking: this doesn't go away in college/ It's all still a mess and people are still stupid and boys are still horrendous? Great.

So fast forward to this morning...thinking about a situation entirely different save for the fact that people are still involved. And I realized: this doesn't go away. Ever. It's still a mess, and people are still stupid. Enter God's sweet voice...
So you're going to have to find a better way to deal with this.
Because you have a right to be hurt, or angry, or frustrated.
But you can't act out on those feelings,
and you have to do more than complain to me about it all the time.
I'm more than your sounding board.
I'm the source for your strength, the answer to your questions,
the only option for choosing something better.

So that was my breaking news for today. It's not going to go away...the main players may change as I go through my stages of life but the plot isn't going to differ too much, the dialogue will stay largely the same...unless I choose a different response.

Apparently we're all on two merry-go-rounds here....or maybe a merry-go-round and a ferris wheel....or a scrambler...or anything other amusement ride that goes in circles. A circle with God and a circle with people...and maybe even a circle with ourselves. Learning and re-learning the same things, struggling with the same struggles, feeling frustration/pain/confusion from the same situations. Haven't I been here before? Yes, I have...and I think I'll continue to until I do that which God has invited me to do--choose something better. Choose Him. The ultimate brass ring. Hmmm...I guess that's a neat, tidy ending paragraph. If only doing it were so simple. 

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever been on a Scrambler or a Merry Go Round or even a Ferris Wheel, totally enjoying the experience at first. Looking all around, taking it all in. Then you realize that this is getting a little old and you are getting a little dizzy. But you fix your gaze on something that isn't moving - the center support of the Scrambler that is supporting the whole apparatus, the center of the Merry Go Round where the wonderful music is (especially if it's Bland's Park and the music is real, not recorded) or the building in the distance that doesn't move no matter how many turns you make on the Ferris Wheel. Well, God is that "center" - never moving, always supporting. Our problems happen when we take our eyes off of Him. When we look on Him the secure feet-on-the-ground feeling comes back and we can step off the ride without falling. Just my 2 cents.


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