I enter stage right and take the platform. My heart is pounding, and my hands are clammy. All eyes are on me. As I fumble to adjust the microphone, my eyes lock with yours, and a deep sigh escapes me.
“….How are we doing so far?”
I look out at the audience who were all
crazy enough courageous enough to join me in my 30 Day Challenge- A challenge to quit thinking, quit talking, and quit trying to solve our problems! To instead, give it to God and ask him to show up and do a miracle in 30 days!
My eyes catch a group of you who respond to my question by sporadically jumping up and down and whoo-hooing like you are front and center at a Katy Perry concert… If this is you, you already feel God working in your life, and can barely contain your excitement for how He will continue to show up for you throughout this month!
I am with you!
Others of you are somewhere in the back. I can’t make out your faces because you are rocking back and forth in fetal position, and are murmuring things under your breath that I can’t quite make out. You desperately know you need to quit, have courageously decided you were going to quit, but equally question whether its humanly possible… If this is you, you likely know exactly how many more days, hours, and seconds are left of your 30 day challenge (I have 16 days, 11 hours, and 46 seconds!) You have also likely gone to bed before the sun set a handful of times last week, because you realized if you couldn’t talk or think about your problems, than really…what is there left to do?
Deep Sigh. I am with you….
Then there are those of you who are breaking for the doors the second you see me hit the stage. You have already adamantly thrown up your hands and QUIT ‘quitting’ and have yet to decide if you are more mad at me for suggesting such ridiculousness, or at yourself, for in a moment of bad judgment, following suit…. If this is you, then you’d likely come hunt me down if it weren’t for the fact that I live with 8.4 million other people, and the chances you will ever find me are minimal, at best!
I get it, I do. The truth is, I’m kinda ticked at me too!
So I’m with you…
ALL OF YOU!
And have danced between all 3 emotions, over and over! In the last 4 hours!
But no matter where you are at, or what you chose to let go of last week-
You should know,
It’s not Gods fault.
In the last couple months, I have been anything but shy about airing my frustrations with the Lord. In my desperation I have demanded answers, questioned why, and wondered what I could have done to deserve this. If you recall, it was only two weeks ago, that I screamed at God, punched pillows, and made no apologies….
But what I realized this week is that my current reality is not the ‘Divine torture chamber’ that I made it out to be! (Torturous, yes.. Divine, no…) and that the answer to every question I screamed and sobbed into my pillow late all those nights (and of course, before I ‘quit’ all that!) was right there all along…
in James 1:16-17 it says,
“Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
My most poignant questions had asked God: …Why me? …Where were you? …Why would you do this?
The Lord’s response: You got it all wrong my child… I am good. my plan is perfect. I am the creator of all beauty, and though your circumstances and emotions may change (often abruptly) I never will.
I believe this verse begins with a warning to not be misled, because He expects that some day we will be! That when things go disastrously wrong that He knows we may lash out at Him in response…. That we may demand answers and throw punches…. That we won’t know where to turn or who to blame…
…And that ultimately, we will get it all wrong!
You see, the last couple of days have been a disaster; a barrage of spills, and toys! …Bubbles were dumped on the rug, UNO cards were found in my bed, pennies were eaten, and it seemed like every stuffed animal got a ‘bath!’ (…and yet, now that I think about it, I don’t know if my daughter ever did!)
When I couldn’t bear to step on, yet another Lego, and was one more “uh-oh Mama!” away from losing my – already dwindling – sanity, I made the decision to shut it ALL down! No more tv… no more “shnacks”… and FREAKIN. NO. MORE. TOYS!!!!
To be expected my 2 year old threw herself on the ground, kicking and screaming in refusal. Once her yelling had died down, she then proceeded to sulk and roam around aimlessly, not knowing what to do with herself amidst the space and silence.
Moments later though, and too my surprise, her whimpering turned to laughter!
I looked to find that she had ascended her Father’s back, and had completely transformed him into a “Ca-BYYYYY-Oh!” (learning also, that if you kick him under the ribs that he will indeed, go faster!)
I watched as she squealed in delight, taking turns between riding him like a horse, and plopping into his lap to glide down his legs like they were a slide.
That day my daughter learned something new (and wildly entertaining) about her father! Something she may not have fully grasped about him, had she kept pouting, or the distractions been present.
We have the same opportunity, in each moment, and through each emotion, of this 30 day Challenge!
And while I hesitate to kick my Heavenly Father under the ribs (…though I secretly wish He would move faster!) I have found that it often takes quieting my distractions, and putting my ‘mess’ in it’s place. It takes adamantly deciding to quit questioning, quit kicking and screaming, and – for the LOVE - to quit sulking, so that I too, can learn more about my Father.
To learn something I had all wrong…
That while our circumstances are unquestionably bad, our God is forever good in spite of them.
While our emotions may change on a whim, that our God never will.
And while He often allows pain and uncertainty in this life to come, that we can be just as sure His goodness and perfect plan will follow suit.
So don’t be misled…
It’s not God’s fault.