I'm curious about the tension between what is and what could be.
I don't want to settle for what is, if it could be better. And I don't want to settle for what could be, if my picture of could be is too small. That's what I love movies, tv shows or books that that feature entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, explorers and inventors.
So, once in awhile, I try an experiment of my own:
I ask the Lord to give me a bigger picture of who I am. I ask Him to broaden my thinking, expose my fears, and help me see myself the way He does. I try to brainstorm beyond what I'm used to, think outside the box of my 'normal' way of thinking and explore new ideas. I ask others to pray this way for me too and open myself to their thoughts and discernment about my life. I've been praying this way for the past four months.
Ready for the big reveal?
"Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." Ephesians 2:7-10 (The Message)
What God has revealed these past four months is this: My life is His project.
Imagine if the next door neighbours were building a house. They planned, designed, got all the necessary permits and papers and began to get to work. What if I decided to help and bought some windows for them. They'd stare at me, tilt their head a little and perhaps ask why I was getting involved. It would be arrogant of me to think that I knew what their house needed. I don't know the plans. I haven't seen the design. I don't know the vision for the whole project.
But, Heather, you say, isn't that what you were asking God for the past four months? That you would know the plans .... get a glimpse of the design ... catch a vision for the whole project of your life and then align your energy and activities with what God wants? Yes, I suppose that is what I was asking. So did I learn anything about God's plan for the project of my life? Yes, I think so.
I observed that, for reasons I don't understand, God continues to value and allow illness and pain to be part of my story. I also observed that He has provided vast resources of comfort and ease that allow me to take care of my pain and find rest and enjoyment as well. He is doing something through my writing and continues to surprise me with that, both the results and my enjoyment of it. I've observed that my desire to spend time with Him and have Him show me the landscape of my soul has been helpful in my expression and writing for others as well. He's revealed that every other part of my life weakens and suffers if I let go of this desperate dependance on Him to be first in my life. When I cling, abide, stay close to, keep my heart and mind focused on His love and His Presence ... my ability to love my husband and our sons and friends increases. I'm able to do my tasks around the home with more intention and gentleness and allow interruption or changes in ability/productivity, due to pain, to just happen and ... roll with it.
He has shown me that, like a simmering pot of homemade soup, flavours take time to develop and often the moments of action or 'results' are small compared to the hours of preparation or simmering - so to speak. The quiet moments in our home of cooking, laundry, paperwork, lighting candles in the evening, creating a restful environment are the 'simmering' moments and cannot be rushed or pressured to produce results. Meaningful conversations happen, laughter happens, chasing the dog around the kitchen happens, kindness, grace and love happens and it cannot be forced. Those moments are gifts and they are perfect as they are.
I'm glad for these past few months. I'm glad that I opened my heart and mind to exploring areas where I thought I may be giving into fear or worry or settling for less. I'm glad that others have prayed and spoken feedback into my life.
If I am truly God's workmanship, His project, His creation, then I don't need to understand it all. I need to trust Him, follow along with what He appears to be doing and be present in the moments that He gives ... always watching for what He is up to rather than trying to figure it out on my own.
A lesson I will probably learn again and again and probably one more time.
Grateful to realize I'm not in charge.