Three textures (bokeh, moon, and geometric) from Design Cuts
It's an odd title for this post, but it's what I am trying to do with the changes outside my control happening right now. Every unexpected turn of events is a teachable moment if I relinquish my need to control. I may have damaged a friendship beyond repair by my desire to "fix" what probably wasn't broken. I have cried buckets of tears, but in the end, it is out of my control. I have apologized, and that is all I can do. I really do want to "live at peace with everyone", but my humanness still wants to be in charge. This is generally counterproductive, and I make a greater mess than the one I was attempting to reconcile. And today, I have done all I can do. The rest is out of my hands. There are other changes, again, nothing I can do anything about, and mostly minor, but still unexpected.
So, I begin this short break between academic challenges with lot of uncertainty. The worst part is spending too much time inside my own head because I don't have million things to do with an equal number of deadlines. For me, this is it's own form of torture. The need for control without a particular task to accomplish means I end up rehashing stuff that needs to be buried forever. Then I go through the "what if" scenarios and imagine the worst possible future outcomes. It's a dangerous cycle and I know that, yet I get sucked into it over and over again when relationships change unexpectedly.
Relinquish. Let go.
Job had to let go in a big way when God allowed him to lose everything in a few days time. Job never saw it coming, nor did he do anything to precipitate the disaster. It was Satan playing games with his mind and his faith. And he handled the devastation pretty well until his "friends" tried explaining why it all happened to him. Then, Job succumbed to the human need to know why and to control the outcome, even to saying he wished he had never been born. He protested the unfairness of his plight until God spoke a little reality:
Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. (Job 38:2-3, NIV)
God's questions were little things like, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?" (v 4), and "Can you set up God's dominion over the earth?" (v. 33). In comparison to even the most dire circumstances man can imagine God is still greater. And HE is in control. No one else. No matter how much I think I should be able to control my circumstances, I cannot. Nor should I be able to.
Relinquish. Let go.
David had some issues letting go, and he paid for it again and again. He lost children because of his desire to control the outcomes of his circumstances. He lost battles. And ultimately, he lost the privilege of his heart's desire: building a Temple for the Most High. He came to terms with God's mandate that Solomon build the temple to the point of telling the people who wondered about the idea, "My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man, but for the LORD God" (1 Chronicles 29:1).
What a marvelous example of relinquishing control. Of letting go. Of submitting to God's decision in the wake of David's own actions. Gulp.
The Bible is full of stories of people who had to relinquish control in order to be within the will of God: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Hannah, Ruth, Esther (read that story if you haven't recently), David, Daniel, Mary (there's another powerful story), a group of fishermen from Capernaum, a tax collector, a Pharisee named Saul, and on and on. So who am I to think I can wrest control from the Father without repercussions?
Relinquish. Let go.
Even if it means losing a cherished friend. Even when only uncertainly looms on the horizon.
The LORD God has established the boundaries of the earth. It is He who set the sun, moon, and stars in their places. He is in control. I need to get out of the way and let go.
geometric texture from Design Cuts everything else mine Just when I think I have something figured out, it changes. I get comfortable in a situation and the rug gets pulled out from underneath me. Friendships elude and deceive me. Purpose is fleeting at best. I keep active, physically and mentally. I accomplish "stuff." I help others, try to fit in, rejoice and sorrow with the people around me, yet at the end of the day, I am alone in my thoughts, wondering what is so wrong with me. I shouldn't complain. I have a husband and children who love me. My needs are all met, and most of my wants are, too. I have hobbies to keep my hands busy, a direction for my vocation (at 50, it's about time!) and I am never bored. I enjoy mentoring and sharing my experiences with those who want it. People in general seem to like me well enough. People tell me I "inspire" them or "motivate" them to reach for their own dreams. I like knowing that my positive nature encourages others and that my strength can contribute to making life better for others. I know God's ways are so much higher than mine that I will never understand His activity in my life. I see Him move, guiding and directing circumstances so that I interact with people just when they need something I have to offer. But I'm lonely. Maybe my expectations for friendship are unrealistic. Maybe I need too much. But I don't think so. I don't necessarily want extended daily conversations or hours of "doing." I'd be content with a short text: Hi. Busy day ahead. All is well. Nothing more than that. Maybe time just being together--watching television and sharing snarky commentary. Easy stuff. Sharing moments. Inside jokes. Support for the hard times, the occasional word of encouragement when life gets complicated. I know Jesus had his close friends, so I think it's something God desires for His children. To date, though, in my life, I seem to have close friends only when it is convenient for the other person or if I can be useful in some way. I like being useful; acts of service is one of my love languages, but it would be nice if it went both ways. It's not all about me, nor do I want that kind of friend. But what joy there could be in a give and take relationship with another woman who shares my intensity and intelligence and passion. One where, if life gets busy, we are free to say, "I need to disappear for a few days; I'll get back to you--really." And then follow through. Instead, just when I think I've found that friend, I am unexpectedly abandoned, set aside without warning, leaving me hurt and again confused about what is so wrong with me. And I have no answer; I do not know. Post Script: While the circumstances that prompted this post are unchanged, I can see how my hurt can quickly turn into self-pity. THAT, is unacceptable because it indicates an unwillingness on my part to see both sides, which means I am not BEING the kind of friend I so long to have. I don't know any more about the path of the wind, but I am deliberately loosening my grip and trying to glide with it instead of fighting against it. It's not easy because I so want that kind of communion, but it's not up to ME. I must focus on BEING a friend, even when it's hard, leaving the direction of the storm to the Father. Lord willing, some of the storm's rain will fall on my parched soul and I will be refreshed. In the meantime, I must not linger on hurt or nurture a spirit of discontent. There is an answer in the activity if I am diligent to watch for it.