Thursday, March 26, 2009

Short Ponderings

The kindness of God leads to repentance.

So when my kids disobey, my kindness toward them leads to their repentance.

Punishment (not talking about discipline), even when deserved and just, does not bring an inward change.

Love covers a multitude of sins and opens the doors to restoration and reconciliation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The NOW Syndrome

My husband is endlessly patient. He's kind of like God that way.

I'm not. Apparently I was taking a bathroom break when that gift was handed out.

So rather than patience, I have a syndrome. The NOW syndrome. I want an answer to my email NOW. I want to know what God is going to do in this situation NOW. I want your room cleaned NOW.

Life does not cater to my syndrome. People have their own lives to function in that, unfortunately, do not revolve around me. God . . . he just laughs at me, TDH is convinced of this. And my children certainly do not fall at my feet begging to know what I need them to accomplish right NOW.

Okay, there is someone slavishly devoted to my happiness, but I don't know if it counts since he is only twelve inches tall and covered in brown and white fur.

I can't stand waiting. And I'm talking about the important stuff—relational conflict, the teenage years, pregnancy . . . these things do not resolve themselves overnight.

I'm surprised I wasn't one of those kids who unwrapped her Christmas packages in the dead of night and then repackaged them and pretended surprise two weeks later. Okay, there was the baton I found one year under my mom's bed and practiced with daily behind locked door until she wrapped it.

What I've learned is that God wants to work things out in us in the waiting. To help us gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus is to us in that situation, so we can become more like Him to others. (I know, I've argued with him about it too, but He's not budging).

So the more we fight a situation or beg and plead to be delivered from it, the more we waste an opportunity to learn.

To learn about ourselves and to learn what God wants to be to us. He always makes provision for us, we just have to discover what it looks like and then hold on tight.

My default mode will probably always be impatience. But I'm learning to take a deep breath and look at things from a new angle, from God's angle.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Living in a Bubble

I think people fear being alone.

Not alone as in the-house-is-blissfully-empty-and-I-can-curl-up-in-front-of-the-fire-with-a-good-book alone.

I'm talking isolation from human connection.

I used to have anxiety attacks as a young child. Looking back I see them as moments of mind jarring terror when I felt disconnected from love, from humanity.

Lost on my own island of isolation it didn't matter that I bumped elbows, shared couch space and co-existed with human beings on a daily basis. I felt a galaxy of unbridgeable, frighteningly empty space separated us.

Space in which my emotions felt too big for me and too heavy to share.

And sadly, I don't think I was alone in feeling this way. I think many people feel disconnected on some level.

I think this is why people create movements of thought (or religions) that are based on the belief that people are a part of the whole (the New Age movement is a big proponent of this). Everything and everybody is interconnected.

When someone feels truly alone, they are at risk for unhealthy relationships. They crave interconnectedness no matter how damaging. Better to be with someone who blame-shifts or abuses than to not belong to anyone.

To be isolated without God is to feel despair and search for connection to something.

And yet sometimes, even with God, we struggle with living in an isolated bubble of knowledge. Knowing God loves us, knowing people love us, knowing we have "value," and yet it might as well be a million miles from us, so unreachable from the glass we look through that it feels untrue.

Believing that no one can penetrate the isolation, the concept of unconditional love is so risky, so unbelievable to actually chance.

Sometimes we have to push beyond what our emotions feel and live instead by what we know is true.

Emotions can be unstable, unreliable measures of truth, leading us to peaks of euphoria and canyons of despair, tethered to nothing but the whims of circumstance.

But if you make the choice to live by what you know to be true (sometimes you have to take that step on blind, teeth-chattering, faith)—God loves you, others love you—your feet will stay grounded in reality.

And we can choose to reach beyond the bubble and learn that we really can live outside the fear that separates us from others.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our Rock

My oldest son's class earned a trip to the mountains for a day of skiing and snowboarding.

As we pulled snow pants and gloves out of the closet, I realized that I'm a rather fearful mom at times (yeah, like I didn't know that already). Worried that someone or something terrible lurks around the corner ready to rip my life to shreds.

I've had to face this in myself now that my kids are at the age where they can start experiencing some breathing room and freedom (without their mother following them with binoculars and a walkie talkie).

The night before the snow outing I lay in bed in near hyper-ventilating panic, my writerly mind racing through every horrible scenario I've ever read about or imagined happening (if you're not a fearful mom, count your blessings).

In that moment, God showed me two ways of living my thought life—in fearful chaos or in trusting peace. The choice was mine.

I could pull and pull on the threads of "what-if" and watch my life unravel through fear-drenched imaginations, or take those thoughts captive and live in truth.

And peace.

Sure, those things could happen. But the odds are against them. And truly, how does worry help us? It doesn't prevent a darn thing and it certainly doesn't soften the blow if it does happen.

Fear warps life and prevents freedom, is what it truly does. Its purpose is to bind us into a way of thinking we were not designed for.

So why live there?

We were designed to trust in our Creator. That doesn't mean that bad things won't happen, but it does mean that He's sifted our lives through His fingers and He'll be our Rock through all situations.