Thursday, November 13, 2014

I DON'T WANT TO MISS IT

It's no secret that this season is fairly busy for our family.  In many ways, I feel I've become a bit self-protective, wanting to hole up and shore up in an attempt to reduce the stimulus overload of ALL THE THINGS that seem to be happening ALL THE TIMES.  I want to do what God has asked of us, but part of me feels like he's asking too much right now.  Just being honest.

Many days, I've had a bad attitude and felt sucked dry.  Like everything and everyone was draining out my very life.  This has manifested in many ways.  One of them is that I've gotten "scrappier" according to John.  This is fairly amazing, because at no point would I have been described as a pushover.  However, when I'm out in public now, I find that my patience level for things taking longer than I think that they should has plummeted to a new all time low.  I do endeavor to be nice, but I have found myself vocally hurrying along waitresses and store clerks.  (Insert gritted teeth emoji right here.)

The other way that I find I have responded to this stress level is questioning everything we do.  Why are we doing this?  Should we be doing it?  Should I drop out of everything?  I've been forced to conclude that most of the things we are doing right now are things God has specifically put into our path for his own reasons and for our good.  Though it doesn't necessarily feel good right this second.

All of this leaves me with a choice that I always have.  How am I going to respond?

Clearly - I haven't responded well at all turns, and I'm seeing that growing cranky or annoyed does nothing to improve the situation.  In fact, it completely masks the goodness that underlies so much of our life.  If I don't wake up and choice gratitude and joy, then I could miss all the good stuff all around.  Obviously, I need a lot of the Holy Spirit's help with this, because it doesn't come naturally.  Even as someone that is usually disposed towards optimism, this season I've leaned more towards irritation, bitterness and weariness, none of which is fun.

So, this week I've been praying for a shift in my heart.  Because it is prone to wander far off course, and I am powerless to swing it myself.  On Tuesday night, we had the Immerse AR banquet.  I've help coordinate this event for the past two years, but this year, my only contribution was to host a table, and even that felt like a lot of work.  In my heart of hearts, my attitude was not great.  I LOVE Immerse, but I didn't feel like having one more thing to try to figure out and manage.

Tuesday night came and was such an immense blessing.  I was reminded why I love Immerse.  Frankly, I was reminded of why I love God.  He loves us so much and wants to see us joyful and restored and connected with others in love.  He loves orphans and is raising up the Church to care for them in more tangible ways.  Getting to be a part of that is one of the greatest gifts in my life.  The stress I felt leading up to Tuesday evening (will I be able to fill a table?  will everyone come?) all paled in comparison to the joy of getting to see God at work first hand.

And I so easily could have missed it.  It would have been easier to bow out gracefully this year because of all that is going on.  It would have been easier to stay home and watch mindless TV.  And I would have missed all the goodness.

Also, I would have missed seeing all these dear friends, which was such a treat!

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I'm continuing to ask the Lord to help me see the good stuff as gifts instead of burdens.  We have the privilege of joining with others right now to help find a car for someone who needs it, and I can either view that as an obligation that infringes on our life or be so grateful to the Lord that we have the opportunity to serve.  We are raising four precious children who adore us and want to be near us always, and I can either grouse about the lack of personal space or relish the laughter that comes so easily, especially when we turn our full attention their way.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

I have so very much to learn from what Jesus taught.  I need the humility and gentleness - clearly.  I'm sure anyone waiting on me in a restaurant will appreciate that.  And I need the rest for my soul that comes from his easy yoke and light burden.  I make it so difficult in my flesh, and I miss the good stuff - the gifts from him.  Lord - help my heart.

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