Let’s make this a Favorite Friday. This is one of my favorite posts and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I’m on a Runaway Train of sorts again, these days, so it seems appropriate to revisit the promises here. Turns out it was almost exactly 3 years ago I wrote it.
August 12, 2010
I’m going to blame it on the hormones of my almost-9-month-pregnant body. As I’ve explained to a few friends, it’s EMOTIONx100. It’s Crazy on steroids. It’s actually not as bad as it could be.. which is frightening. Because I hate being out of control. (I think I’ve covered that on here. 🙂 So when my emotions take on a life of their own, I’m extra frustrated with my lack of control on how I perceive the world.
So lately my emotions are a Runaway Train… taking me to Worry-and-Anxiety way too often. I’ve been to visit Being-Annoyed-With-Everything frequently, and then the train dropped me off in House-Stress and I’ve been stuck there. Think old, Western, ghost town… I’m there alone. It’s abandoned and dirty. I try to escape, but it’s usually only after I’ve been wallowing in the mud for a while, so it’s really exhausting to leave. After sitting there in the mud for a while and being annoyed, I have started to remember that I can pray about this and it helps. So I have done that a bit, and I get close to leaving, and then I get distracted by the Baby-Store there and it starts all over again.
The Baby-Store at House-Stress is not as much about all the cute baby things, as the scary baby things. Right now I’m trying to figure out where his clothes will go. I had it all figured out, and then it changed (another thing I get annoyed with), so new plan. New plan which will cost money. Oh, yeah, House-Stress is right next to Money-Dilemma-City, just a short jaunt that I take all the time. But Baby-Store reminds me of all the inconveniences that come with small house + new baby, and mostly trying to keep the house in order with a small child and how-is-that-going-to-happen?
Money-Dilemma-City has stores like Going/Back/to/Work, House~Taking~Longer, and Health!Insurance. I wander around these establishments picking up the various ideas that are showcased. I sit down with them and ponder them for far too long, and pretty soon I’m so distracted and delusional I don’t even know where I am, let alone how to get out.
Then one day I decided husband needed to come to some of these places with me… because I was tired of traveling alone. Oh my, this was not a good idea. It turns out that I can stomach my own worries far better than I can deal with him being stressed about anything. Probably he needed to be exposed to my concerns – I’m not regretting that. But since I get stuck there, he does too. And I should have known better. There is nothing worse than traveling with a crabby husband. Or getting lost or stuck with one. I’d way rather be lost or stuck with a girlfriend. 😉
Ok. So let’s get out of this place.
It’s a long road. The Runaway Train doesn’t take you back. It only takes you from settlement to horrible settlement. The only way back is walking. And the only one who knows the way, is my Jesus. He’s been sitting by- observing, being sad for how pathetic I am, waiting for me come to him for help.
Finally I do.
My morning dev has a verse:
“Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:64
I walk over and sit down next to him on a dusty park bench. He is leaning against an enormous rock. (Don’t forget, this is the desert.)
“You didn’t promise me a new house… did you?” I say slowly, knowing the answer to the question.
“That’s not the promise…”
“You didn’t promise me a clean house, either. Or enough money on one salary. Or affordable health insurance.”
“Wish I could have.”
“So how do I get out of this place?! I’m so frustrated with where my brain is going. I’m so focused on all these crappy things that I don’t really want to be thinking about. I’m like trapped in being annoyed with all this stuff, but I want to be happy. I know there are good things, but there’s like this immense fog of worry that stands before me! What am I supposed to do?”
“It’s not about what you do. It’s about who you are.”
“Yuck. I’m horrible. I’m a mess and I’m mean. Yuck. I don’t like that answer.”
“No, you’re a new creation in Christ, remember? (2 Corinthians 5:17) You’re a child of God (John 1:12) and you have a job here… a few, actually. You are God’s building project, His handiwork, created in Christ to do His work” (Ephesians 2:10).
“Ok, good. That is sounding good. Keep going. I need a purpose other than worrying about all this stuff.”
“Well, first of all, you need to put away that old self… put to death the evil stuff like anger, and lies, and covetousness, and slander. And Daily, you need to do this. The sinful you that wants to come out and overtake who you are in Christ, will continue to do battle with this good stuff. But that’s not what you are now. You look like me now. So every day you put to death the old. And it is thru Faith that you can be sure that I will make you new. It’s not because you are so smart.”
“Right. Ok, yeah. So coveting and being angry and even being worried, probably. I need to give that to you.”
“Yes. And then you can dress yourself in who you really Are – God’s chosen one. Put on those clothes in the morning. Holy things like compassion, forgiveness, patience, contentment and love. This is what your life should be about. These are the things you want to focus on – cause I know you want to focus on something. My life was about love. Your life should be about love. It’s about other people. It’s not really about you as much as you want it to be. Act in love. Forgive constantly. Build a good marriage. Raise your children in my name. Figure out what you can do Today. Don’t worry so much about tomorrow. Take care of business, but take care of my business first.”
“I’m still going to struggle with all that other stuff.”
“Well, ye of little faith – have some faith. Yes, you will. But I’m right here. Give it to me. That’s what I took to the cross – all your shortcomings. All your sin. I took care of it. So let me take care of it daily, too. Trust me with it. I will drown it in the living water that I promised you.”
“There’s the promise.”
“That I can always give it to you. That you will make me a new creation. That despite all this yucky stuff that I worry about, I can live a life about Love and Joy, and I can Celebrate, instead of mourn.”
I look off into the distance. A breeze blows the sand. I can see hazy, colorful mountains in the distance. I can feel the warm sun. It’s gorgeous. It’s not foggy. I half expect him to be gone when I look back – like in a movie. But He’s not.
“I hope I don’t come back here.” I say.
“I’ll meet you wherever you are.”
Comfort. In 2 Corinthians, Paul says
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
It’s not about me.
“Ok, I’m done here. I want to go home and live my life today and not worry so much. I want to focus on the good things. I want to be of use to you and my family.”
“Good. But it’s a long walk. I mean, I just want you know. It’s dusty and you will be tired. And you will frequently be distracted by the towns we walk past. But I’ll walk with you. Keep your eyes up ahead, on your girls and the baby and your job as a wife and mother. Keep it on your job as a friend and a child of God. You are joined forever to the Lord and you are one spirit with Him (1Corinthians 6:17).”
I stand up. I look around.
We are leaving tonight for a little family vacation. We are all looking forward to it. I want it to be relaxing. I don’t want it to be me unloading on Brad because I have him to myself for a few hours. I make a mental note of this, and start walking. ‘What can you do today?’ I have laundry that needs to be folded, packing that needs to be done, and a van to clean. I can be very thankful for all that has been provided for us and that we have scrounged up the cash for this little trip. Let’s focus on the girls’ excitement and the healthy family that will be taking this trip.
And there it is again –
Be joyful always; Pray continually; Give thanks in all circumstances; for it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thes 5:16-18
Do you have a favorite verse or promise that can bring you back from the desert?