Wednesday, January 23, 2019

When Life Stops

We've been socked in with snow and freezing rain for a couple of days now--AFTER a 3-day holiday weekend. It's a small picture of what I've been wrestling with this month: stuck with no direction.
As a wife and mom, life has been full of change. I was married young and there was always a path forward: college graduation, teaching, raising children. I'm near the end of that trail and struggling with not knowing what's next. The last few years included additional classes and a published book. And now, here I sit. In the snow. With quiet. And no clear path in the "what's next in my life?" scenario.... And I realize how spoiled I really am.

God and I have done some talking, "What next, God? Where do I go from here?"

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might," Ecclesiastes 9:10. In other words, do what I've given you to do.

Laundry, meals, and dishes? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Youth ministry, counseling, prayer, meeting other's needs? Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Home improvement, companionship, support for husband and family? For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

Volunteer work in the community and schools? I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

And as I run through the list of what I've been given, I find I'm not fighting the fact that "there's nothing to do," like a bored child--although I feel that way sometimes--instead, I'm fighting a desire for importance and identity. Having added time with little direction, fewer boundaries and no clear end point brings an awareness of what I've enjoyed for so long: being out and about, seen, known, appreciated; getting to know new people and places, anticipating adventure. The opportunities that lie ahead are points into a nebulous future. I'm not satisfied. I want a line. Now. But God is drawing me back to the foundational truths of my identity in Christ; of the need to choose humility and lowliness and acknowledge Jesus as my only Source of importance. And it's good.

Although it's not the hardest thing I've ever done, it's a bit of a desert. My prayer is that I, like Caleb and Joshua, will move forward in faith, grateful for manna, content with today's routine, seeking to please the Lord in the small things, waiting patiently, fighting the inner man who desires sloth, gluttony and makes excuses for both--even if it's 40 years--because I am confident that God's got this. And, as you've been saying since paragraph one, but were too polite to blurt, "It's not about you." You're right.  And that's where this has taken me. Stop. Look. Listen. Live.

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalm 16:5-11)

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