Thursday, January 18, 2018

The gift of not knowing

There are mornings when I wonder what I'm doing...when I've just spent hours working on a blog and I walk away and come back to reread it and all I see is blah-blah-blah.

And painfully I realize I should have pressed the delete button hours ago.

Who was that person that took over my body and brought such rambling and non-sensibleness into being? Surely not moi?

I should know by now that when it feels like the words are stuck...when it's an effort to birth a thought...that maybe the baby's not ready to be born yet.

Seriously, I need to print this out and tape it to my computer: Unless the Lord builds the house...or the blog...they labor in vain to build it. Amen?

Yeah. So. Let's try again. Let's start at the very beginning as the song says...

On January first to be exact.

I was in my typical New Year's Day Resolution Mode which consists of sitting on the couch, coffee cup in hand, staring out at a bleak world, muttering 'I need to make a change (heck, many changes) and this is the day I'm supposed to do it but I have totally no idea where to even begin.' 

And then I realized with that attitude this probably was not going to end well, which was soon confirmed when I shared this hopelessness with my ever-patient husband, who sat there and let me go on and on and on about the past year and how incredibly hard and painful it was, and if this New Year isn't any better I'm running for it...somewhere...anywhere...I just can't handle another year like that ...followed by sighs and tears and sobs.

That's the spirit!

But once I calmed down, as I always do, and started to breathe again and had rinsed the tears from my now very puffy and sad looking face, God did what He always does in such cases...grabbed me by the scruff of my Cuddle Duds and and sat me down on the couch with That Look and said, "I've got this."

Oh really? Yeah, I saw how You had this last year...hospitals and sickness and death and loss and depression and change after change after change. 

And now I feel lost and staggering and hope-less and not sure if You really are there and if You are, I'm not sure I like how You show it!

There! That told God!

That there wasn't a lightning bolt at the end of my tirade only proved that He is merciful, for surely I had it coming.

But this is where the good stuff starts...

That Honest-to-God stuff that only comes to the surface when you're too tired to push it back any longer, so you Let Go and Let God.

Ted and I talked. I mean, really talked. It was one of those life-and-death moments where you know you have nothing to lose so you let it all out...the good...the bad...the ugly. The shattered dreams...the derailed hopes...the fear of the future and of living in it. The unanswered questions...the doubts...the truth that lately this life is not what you asked for, but what you got. And you wonder if you can keep on keeping on. Or if you even want to.

And that's when God broke through my silly little mind with a truth that has stayed with me ever since...that has been confirmed over and over again not only through His Word, but through the books He has put before me and the people He has placed in my way. Ready?

Let go of all your expectations...your hopes...your dreams. 

And begin to live open-armed, present to what each day brings you in whatever form it takes...for blessing or hardship. Nothing happens that hasn't already passed through My hands.

It's time to let go. Give up even the right to know and understand why I give...and take...from you. Why I lead you where I do...and why I allow what I allow. I love you and I always work everything together for good.

You can't control your life. You never did. You only thought you could.  

You need to trust Me.

And that hit the proverbial nail on the head. Through it all, I had slowly stopped trusting Him. Somewhere along the way I had decided to take over the reins of my own life, believing that if He couldn't give me what I thought I needed...deserved...wanted, then I would. I had set about to create A Life According to Arlene.

But I was exhausted. And found myself a long way from Home. And from Him.

In the end, I found I couldn't save myself. Or my mother. Or my husband. Or anyone else that had hurt and suffered this past year. But I sure had tried.

And God had allowed bring me to this point.

I'm beginning to understand now that life will always surprise us. Suddenly everything we have worked for or hoped for or trusted in can betray us...many times without reasons or explanations or answers, though God knows we look for them and hope to find comfort in them.

At those times, all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other...second by second, day by day, month after month...

Not knowing what is to come, but Who will be there...with what we need...when we need it.

I am finding there is incredible freedom and relief in this letting go and being willing to live in the moment...

Simply trusting that He really, truly does have it...whether or not I can see or understand what "it" is.

And that often times the pain and sorrow and sadness we think will destroy us will only increase our capacity for love and tenderness and a richer life. A win-win situation that I no longer need to fear.

"Perhaps the real point of life is simply to wear us down until we have no choice but to start abandoning our defenses. We learn that the way things are is simply the way they are meant to be right now, and then, suddenly, at long last, we catch a glimpse of the abundance of the moment- abundance even in the face of things falling apart. Embarking on a journey without knowing quite where we're headed, or even why we need to go, we are freed to be open and curious, ready to find out, rather than obligated to find the "right" way." Katrina Kenison

So this year, my desire it to keep my arms open and one foot in front of the other...

Trusting that I am on a new adventure...holding on to the strength of not needing to know...

Simply allowing God to bring life as it needs to come...without my permission or knowledge or acceptance.

It's good enough to know He is, and will be, in the midst of it.

I pray that this year all of us will embrace the life He has given us...with open arms and willing hearts. And through it all, whatever comes our way, we will testify of a God we can trust. Always.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk <a href="">A Boy and His Tunnel</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

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