Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Folly of "My Idea" and The Abundance of His Grace



Sometimes I am really slow to get it.

After 40 years on this planet, I still marvel at my sheer ignorance in the ways of God. A thousand lifetimes devoted to the study and devotion of Him and His ways would never come close to fully revealing the mystery and depth of who He is.

At least I got that part right.

But so often I miss what is so glaring obvious to me this morning as I sip my coffee before the sun is up -- yes, me...the non-morning person. (Apparently God is answering my half-joking prayer that He would make me a morning person in 2014. But that's another story...)

What I am marveling over today is the divine comedy and utter folly of attempting to claim ideas as my own -- when clearly God has inspired them for such a time as this.

Specifically, I am referring to "my" wonderful idea to purchase a day planner in January as a way to motivate me to get up in the morning to spend some quality time with God, and fill in the page allotted to each day with what I feel like He is saying to me.

Ha.

"My idea."

Hilarious.

--

It's April and astonishingly the majority of the pages have been filled in since that purchase in January. I don't make it out of bed early enough every day. But in the last few weeks, I find that I need to get up and fill in those pages. My soul craves and anticipates it.

And especially this week.

To make a longer story short enough to not bore you or cause a rehash of epic proportions in my own heart, suffice it to say that it's been an emotional roller coaster over here as we look to sell our house of thirteen years.

We have had years and seasons of "not yet," and "wait," with the most recent being last year. I knew in my heart that God was asking me to lay aside my dream of moving our family to a bigger, more rural location, and I tried my best to comply.

It's been a struggle to lay down that dream time and time again upon God's altar of sacrifice. I too often have snatched it off to pet it and look at it and mourn the "wait" of it.

But in the last few weeks, the "wait" has felt like it has become an "almost."

So we have been looking at listings again. We have looked at a few properties -- and one that we fell in love with. We put our house on the market. We have a few offers. We put an offer on the house we loved. Yesterday, for the second time, they chose another offer. We feel crushed and confused about what to do with our house now.

Sell and where do we go? Choose an offer that lets us rent back to investors and stay in our home for what length of time? What if in six months, we are renting our own house for more money than our mortgage is now? What if even though we have a money for a down payment in the bank, we get priced out of the home we want?

We'd look like fools.

And if I know anything about myself and human nature...it's that I don't like to look foolish.

So...which way to go?

I can admit that I am sorely tempted to just quit the entire thing. To refuse all offers on our house and to yank that "For Sale" sign out of our yard and just lay down and whimper to God about my dream being crushed yet again despite our feeling like He was making a way for us.

--

So, back to the ridiculous notion of taking credit for "my ideas," and yes, this is where I skillfully tie these two threads together.

Back in January, I naively believed that the idea of buying that black shiny ugly planner was my idea when clearly, three months later, the pages I've filled would say otherwise.

Because God has been speaking to me. I have a tangible reminder (almost) every day as I flip back through the pages and my eyes stop on entries that prove that He does care and He is leading me and even today, that He is for me.


January 12 - I wrote the words of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

January 29 - The words of St. Augustine encouraged me to "accept whatever happens as from Thee."

February 11 - Ephesians 1:10, He reminded me that at the right time, He will "bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ Jesus."

February 24: I read that the Holy Spirit brings, "peace of mind and heart...a peace that the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."

March 1 - He promised to "keep me in perfect peace when I keep my mind fixed upon Him." (Isaiah 26:3)

March 11 - Sarah Young in "Jesus Calling," penned, 'If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you.'"

March 20 - God reminded me that not only is it okay to rest, He wants me to do so and has promised rest for me. (Hebrews 4)

April 2 - I mulled over the idea of discipline and the reality that no one enjoys it while it's happening, "but afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way." (Hebrews 12:11)

April 3 (today) - "Jesus Calling" smacks me in between the eyes as I read this, "Your capacity to experience Me is increasing, through My removal of debris and clutter from your heart."


I still cannot get over that last one.

Not written in my daily journal is how God has been speaking to me over the past year or so about removing the clutter and debris from my home.

I downloaded the book, "7" by Jen Hatmaker over a year ago, but didn't start reading it until recently.  I've traveled to Tanzania and felt conviction about the excess and largess that we own and frankly abuse or take for granted. I've recalled our course of Financial Peace and renewed our commitment to spend wisely and work harder to become debt-free.

I have been fixated on the clutter in my physical home and our finances, but I have completely neglected the "clutter of my heart."

Wow!

It's been so jam-packed with me, my family, my needs, my hang-ups, my constipated writing, my inability to discipline myself to get up and carve out a devotional life, etc. ad nauseum.

And today...now I can see it so clearly.

My idea to use a day planner to inspire me to "do my devotions" was never my idea. And maybe it is not so much about checking off a spiritual discipline either.

I know beyond any shadow of doubt that He has been preparing me for the disappointment of yesterday when we heard that "our house" was never our house and probably never would be.

Do I sit down in a ball of tears and rage about it?

Do I shake my fist at heaven and remind God that He promised to make a way for me and that He let this one slip by?

Or do I pick up this duct-taped journal and flip through the pages and let His words wash over my bruised heart?

This is what I choose. 

Today. 

Right now.

I close my eyes and breathe in gratitude at the marvel and wonder of His Epic Plan and that He loves me enough to remove the debris and clutter from my heart even when I was so blindly fixated on removing it from anywhere and everywhere else.

I chose to cling to what He whispered through His word in Psalm 118 just this morning:

"In my distress, I prayed to the Lord, 
and the Lord answered me and set me free. 
The Lord is for me, 
so I will have no fear..."

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