Tuesday, February 24, 2015
God is my Shepherd. I won't be wanting.
These few months have been super hard. Pregnant nausea and exhaustion hard. Kids with colds and not sleeping well hard. Having important and healing, but difficult and painful conversations with the Husband hard. Still figuring out our financial situation hard.
We've sort of been in a season of reality check, and while I think it would be nice to intentionally enter those seasons as a way to reboot and purge and choose what we truly want in our lives and who we want to be, I have found that more often those seasons force themselves upon us. But I have also come to learn that they are a saving grace in many ways. A way that God diverts us from a path of destruction or even just a path of aimless wandering.
He wants more for us. He wants resurrection in our here and now - not just for eternity. He wants freedom and healing. He wants to rescue us from the small life we try to build for ourselves and to invite us in to his eternal story.
More and more, I discover that my idea of health and wholeness is so...blah compared to the life God wants for me. I settle for making it. I settle for survival. I am content with mediocre happiness when God wants true joy and peace for my heart.
I have been a control freak all my life. When life starts to feel like it's falling off the rails, my intuitive response is to pull the reins tighter. I try to manage and micromanage in a desperate attempt to grasp hold of whatever sanity I have left and I end up exhausted and frustrated and miserable and the people around me are miserable, too. And if there's nothing I can tangibly do to control, I control by worrying about things. I'm pretty sure Jesus spoke the words, "Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?" purely for my benefit.
I guess I'm just a slow learner because the truth is that the times of my life when God has worked miracles - when I have felt the most joy, experienced the most breakthrough, enjoyed the most peace - have been times when all control was completely wrested from my hands. Our adoption story is an excellent example of this. And yet, I still instinctually want control. I forget that control brings death, not life.
I want to be my own god. There must be a part of me that thinks I'm more trustworthy with the treasures in my life than God is, otherwise I wouldn't be so resistant to handing over the reins. Which is why I am learning to view these "reality check" seasons as God's good grace on my life. I hear his voice saying gently, "Little Lamb, you have wandered down your own path again and you cannot see the dangers that lurk ahead. But I have a better way for you - won't you choose it?"
And, usually because I'm desperate - only because I'm desperate - I say, "Yes. Thank you, Shepherd. I was so lost and I didn't even know it. I saw something that way that I thought could solve my problems, but I was wrong. I thought it might be an easier way. I forgot that your way - though often hard - is the only way I can really get what I need. And I forgot what kind of Shepherd you are."
There is a reason we all learn Psalm 23 in Sunday School when we are young. It is the perfect reminder of our identity and the truth of who God is for us. I need that reminder more often than I care to admit.
I forget so easily that the Lord is my Shepherd and I have all that I need.
He lets me rest and leads me to peace.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I don't have to be afraid because he is close beside me.
He has weapons to protect me and tools to direct me.
He claims me as his own in the face of my enemies and honors and blesses me.
He chases me down to give me good things to overflowing.
I have peace because I know that no matter how many crappy choices I make, no matter how many tragedies I endure, no matter how many times I get confused and trapped by my own good intentions, he will find me and take me home.
I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.