Aug 7, 2012

Prying my fingers open

I am learning to hold things loosely.  Even people. I am learning I am simply in control of quite simply, nothing.  Yes, I try to be a good steward of what I am given and base my decisions on sound principles, but if someone asked me what my five year or ten year plan was, I would say, "I don't know what God will do then."  I am quite simply at best on a one year plan.  I've learned that God simply asks me to follow and He will do the controlling.  So far, He has orchestrated some breath taking events in my life that I would have never put on my five or ten year plan, so I've simply stopped making them and I just ask God to show me the next step. I don't mean I throw my hands up and do nothing.  I mean that I work at my very best at whatever I've been given and then when God shows me to move on, I don't cling. I've learned that God is good and trustworthy and am daily trying to meditate on Him and His character in a complete surrender and dependency on Him.  I am finding that as soon as I lay something down, I often want to pick it back up and gnaw on it for a while. But I am learning that complete surrender is sweet balm on the soul.

This all seems so well and good. And I don't seem to have terrible trouble with this when it comes to life events such as job changes, a new house, a move.  However, lately, I've noticed that I have the most trouble with this when it comes to the people around me. Lately, I've had some serious angst at people who seem to not be living their lives in a way that shows a surrender and love for God when they claim to know Him.  And then in those moments, I want to control them, avoid them, or just be plain frustrated rather than love them.  I see a bad decision being made, and I feel angry and wish I could change their minds and hearts for them. And then God has to remind me, that He is the pursuer of their hearts and minds and He has the situation under far more control than I.  And God has to pry my fingers open and force me to give that person and my angst and frustration about them to Him.  I'm sure you can see the irony here.  As I want the people around me to know, bask, and surrender in the love of God that I am so enjoying and use His wisdom, I'm angry and frustrated when they don't.  Say what?  If I believe that a surrender to God begins and ends with love, then can't I act loving towards others even when they aren't acting in the same belief?  Do I trust that God REALLY can handle their poor choices and is calling them to Himself in all His wisdom and love?  Do I really think that He isn't at work or that things are out of control or maybe it depends on me?  In my head, no.  But in my frustration and angst, maybe I do.

Here is how it plays out when I grip people too tightly:

I see a friend who was badly wronged by an individual try and get revenge on the individual's whole family and take them down instead of offering forgiveness - as if revenge would bind their wound (it never does).  I'm all of a sudden not feeling compassionate.

PRY.

I see people who claim to want good marriages caught in the trap of porn and smut novels and they excitedly recommend the books to me.  I know I need to have a loving chat about what it does to the mind and to marriage but I really just want to avoid the whole thing.

PRY.

I see an abusive marriage and a co-dependent spouse who really isn't doing much about it but is letting it continue.  It's exhausting hearing about something that never seems to change.  So I get sharp and frustrated when I hear it again.

PRY

I see moms who brag far too much about their way of child rearing and try to one-up each other in "best practice".  I feel like I need to "prove" why I'm such a great parent all of a sudden.

PRY

I see a person who is so busy judging all the people around them, that they have set up an impossible standard for anyone to actually meet.  They always know the best way to do something and the funny thing it's always their way.  Then it's expressed in obvious disapproval and condescension to everyone around.  Now I'm just mad and pretty much just want to write this person off.

PRY

An the list can go on.  As I get closer to God and see His truth, goodness and love, the more it can point out  what ISN'T around me.  And then that can go two ways.  I can get mad, point accusing fingers, speak Christianese at them, be condescending, avoid, speak sharply and show my frustration when forced to be around them. I believe this is what is called "not seeing the log in your own eye but seeing the speck in your brothers."  But now my fingers are holding on tightly and I am choosing to carry around a great weight.  Now all of a sudden I think I must see more clearly than God.  And now all of a sudden, I am acting nothing like Him.

 Or I can let it go and trust that God has their heart in mind and is in the process of changing it.  Not me.  My job is to be God's tool when He needs me to be by speaking truth into their lives as gracefully as I can when He prompts me to, and the rest of the time, just love them and let God do His thing.  God's goal is to care for His children and heal hearts.  I need to be compassionate and trust God to just be the God He has proven Himself to be over and over again.  I always think of that old poem, "The Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson, where no matter what the man does and tries, God will just not give up pursuing him.  You see many people around me may not have fully given everything up to Him yet.  It may prompt them to act in revenge, control their spouse to an extent that is abusive, engage in fantasies that were meant for their spouse only, try prove their worth as a parent, but God is relentlessly pursuing their hearts and I have no idea what ways He may be using to get them for His own.

And besides, who says I always have it together myself?  God is still relentlessly pursuing ME.  I am constantly and painfully surprised by the rocks He seems to dig up and turnover in my heart exposing the ugly underneath.  I believe as we walk this journey, the more we can actually see clearly our own motives of the heart and the ugly around us. Following God is a journey, not an event that we are all on. But instead of pointing fingers and gripping tightly to judgementalism, I seem to feel God gently nudging me to hold lightly.  To just love people and let Him work it out. It is NOT my job to change them, control them, or heal them.  I am simply a tool that God might choose to use in their life and I am only called to a life of love which is bound up in truth and grace. It all begins and ends with love and that is all He has called me to.  It's such a peaceful place when we hold people lightly and let them go to a God who CAN change and heal them.

PRY.

3 comments:

  1. I don't know if I've ever told you this before, but you should seriously write devotionals. I hope God never stops prying stuff from my hands until the day I die.

    It sounds like you all have had a wonderful summer as a family. I've missed you and hope that you have time to blog even though you're going back to work! No pressure or anything ;)

    Going serious amateur might be a better way to explain what I'm trying to do, but yes, I would like to make it more than a hobby.

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  2. It's hard to let those feelings over other people go when you really just have the best of intentions, isn't it? Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. That's such a hard lesson to learn! But you are so right. I love when you write what my heart needs to hear. I just read Megan's comment, and I heartily agree! I was thinking the same thing :) I love it when you include devotional posts here (almost as much as I love pictures of your cute kiddos!) :)

    ♥ Bethany

    www.happyhomemaker.me

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