Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Live with the Questions

Every few weeks, I flip through my journal and review what I've written.

This time, I noticed deep concerns that were written in tidy sentences: "Lord, help me be patient . . . " and "I wonder about . . . " and I realized that I was just plain anxious about many things but not willing to admit it. A central theme emerged and that was this desire to know more. I wanted to know more answers about my health, about the future, about relationships, about decisions, about the results of my decisions. I wasn't content with questions, I wanted answers. 

Eve: or as I like to call her, the founder of womanly-angst. What if Eve wasn't so concerned about knowing more? What if, she responded to Satan's temptation in the garden of Eden with this answer. "You know, maybe God does know more than me. Maybe God is not telling me everything. Maybe I am missing out on some information. But God loves me. He invites me to walk with him, in the cool of the day, in this garden, and that is what I will do. I don't need to know any more. " What if she threw the apple over her shoulder and walked away?

The temptation to know can be based out of fear: fear of being surprized, fear of being wrong, fear of being out of control, fear of looking foolish. Information is easy to find. Google makes it easy. 

David, or as God nicknamed him, "a man after My own heart", took a different approach.

He wrote,

"God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
    I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
    or fantasized grandiose plans.

"I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
    I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
    my soul is a baby content." Psalm 131

To stop asking, begging, searching . . . like a newborn baby with it's mother . . . to be content, and just sit, and relax and trust . . . that's what David figured out was the real answer.

So, in honor of Anxious Eve, I wrote up a few index cards to keep beside my bed. They are statements about the things that I'm worried about and am choosing to not chase after answers but simply live with the questions. 

As I read these every day, I recognize both my anxiety (in it's honesty) and also my desire to trust. It's been a good exercise. 

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A prayer from Thomas Merton

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."