I am learning, much too slowly, that real life is in the messed up to-do lists, the interruptions, and the hard parts. My reactions or responses to these things decide the glory or grief in my own heart about them.
I remember back in the day when certain verses from the Bible seemed nebulous, for someone else in far away realms. I accepted them at face value…they weren’t meaningless; but now with enough real life going on, (messy interruptions) they’ve become mine. So now, Jesus promising that thirsty people coming to Him will get a drink and will have streams of living water coming from deep within them, challenges me. I certainly could use that when I get news of struggle from someone close to me. Default for me has never been to feel an encompassing trust in God as soon as I put the phone down. No, it is more like get ready for a tailspin straight into the bog, emotionally.
I want that to change. Because there will always be hurting people for whom I must pray and to whom to give comfort. (Frankly, I’ve thought often that it is easier to go through tough things myself than to watch a child or a family member struggle.) But I have this habit… I guess that’s it…a default setting that has become habit for me. I spiral, badly. I need counseling! Immediately! Or so I think, in the moment. It feels terrible and out of control and even embarrassing. Spiraling into depression helps no one. Not them. Not me. Hopelessness has got to be THE worst monster to encounter.
I want to respond better to what feels like bad news or conflict to me. I always SAY that I will pray and I do pray. Still, I do this journey through the bog. My bogs are horrid and unhelpful and feel hopeless. I tend to say stupid things that hurt, not heal. I have been doing this over and over. And I am truly sick of myself for this.
So there’s my confession. Hopefully, by writing it down like this. This ugly reality … I will change the way I respond. I want to be like the tree by the water that thrives and produces fruit because I am filling my mind with the stuff of a living, flowing stream.
I want to be cheerful, productive, flexible … excited about what God is doing instead of always dragging myself out of hopeless attitudes. When someone needs a lift and a way in their wilderness; please let me be prayed up and encouraging. Oh, and there’s that instruction right in the middle of how to get along with people in Colossians. “And be thankful.” Honestly, that one startled me momentarily. But think it through. Having a thankful heart moves the bog back quite far, for when relationships get tough.
Most of all, I want to view the hard parts and the interruptions to my plans as God’s way of making life interesting to me and follow-able to others. Every new day another opportunity to feel hopeful. What part of your life story will sell the book?