I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.__Jeremiah 10:23
“Commitment”…..”Control”…..”Conceipt” : the gros mots of my life.
In the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to inspect with hyper clarity some aspects of my life that I had been avoiding.
With the dissolution of my plans to Laos, I whipped myself into a confused and chaotic frenzy. Where to go, what to do, what does this mean?!
I have this default setting: the Run Away setting. I suppose that’s the flight instinct. Fight instinct is reserved for deepest passions-the rest of life gets the Flight “Bye Felicia” response.
My heart is a three-headed dragon: naked, dancing moon-child, rigid abacus-using pencil pusher, and heedless reckless-feckless-dangerous Joan of Arc. The flight and fight.In all of this, there’s the overwhelming sense of “me”. MY way. Hah, oh brother do I want it my way. Specifically the unconventional, intentionally upsetting way.
If I couldn’t get to Asia by means thus attempted, then damn it there had to be more ways to try. Fighting, fighting, fighting for control over circumstances that were so obviously out of my hands. Charging headlong in one direction might seem brave, but if investigated closely, you would see it was not charging into battle-it was running full speed ahead from the life I could feel biting at my heels. The life a part of my heart wanted but wasn’t allowed to mull over.
Because Asia isn’t in the plans for right now, this means that right here and now is what I should focus on. Texas. North America. The beast I’ve been fighting is a part of me-a part I’m slowly-very, very slowly-opening up to. I take baby steps.
Commitment. Rather, the fear of. This isn’t only reserved for smooth talking men who sigh relief and let you go–it’s also a reality in that gypsy woman who can’t settle, who fights, who flies. One of my favourite songs of the moment says “How can I make you stay, when it’s easier to let you go?”–a question everything in Life is asking me. I couldn’t choose a church family to connect with because that meant opening up and letting myself make connections. I couldn’t decide on an apartment because that meant letting tiny, baby roots grow. I’m an absolute professional at leaving circumstances when I feel walls closing in. If I don’t like something, or are afraid of it, you bet your life I’m outta there. Before giving anything a chance to make a home in my heart, I make sure to leave first.
Not only was I avoiding the commitments to people and places, but really to life itself. It took me a solid amount of time before I got my “No fair I can’t believe Life didn’t go as planned” tantrums out of the way, so I think I’m safely out of energy for any more of that. I had to pony up, or saddle up (that’s a saying , right?) or pull my bootstraps up, or put on my warpaint, or you know…be an adult.
God. God is so perfect, guys. Like really, PERFECT. He knows exactly how to relate and communicate and love me. A stone wall might seem impervious to a drip of water; but over time, that steady drip of water wears away at the wall. Slowly, patiently, almost without notice. Then one day, that wall isn’t a wall anymore. God does this with me. Slowly, gently. He suggests, He encourages. He is absolutely unrelenting, and absolutely gentle.
When I run and say “Bye” to people or organizations, the response is usually a confused “Bye?”. Not anymore. Those churches I tried to avoid? Texts from members. Every. Single. Day. “Hey Rebekah, we hope you are doing okay. Praying for you. Thinking about you. We appreciate your time. Let us know what you need. We are the Body of Christ. See you Sunday?” Let me tell you, these people are unrelenting. I try running to the next church, and that body of believers latches on and will. not. let. go. I think about quitting my job and moving out of state: my employers love the heck out of me. The neighbourhood moms I tried to avoid talking to now ask how they can pray for me. I am so overwhelmed by cushions of people who gently, patiently wait for me to stop scrambling around and breathe.
But you know the killer part to this whole thing? IT’S NOT ABOUT ME AT ALL.
It’s about the children I work with, the people I can pray for, the time I spend with Jesus, the family I reach out to. Once I stop flailing about and stomping my feet because I don’t get my way, I see His way.
Isn’t it amazing, the thought that the people we are destined to be, are within our reach? We just have to be willing to grow. What if all that time spent trudging through the slush of pride and hasty decisions was spent proactively living in surrender? Wow, what a concept.
Clearly, I’m still in the middle of this lesson. I’m happy to report that I do indeed have a new church family–several actually (okay, so I might still have a tiny commitment issue). I found some cool international social groups to hang out with so my need for the cultural spice of life is being met locally for now. Most importantly, I’m letting go of who I thought I needed to be (strong, independent gypsy who doesn’t EVER stay for anyone or anything–i.e. The One That Leaves), and am opening up to the person God is so patiently encouraging me to become (The Joyous and Willing).
This is the most fitting song of the hour: