It’s easy to lie to ourselves, to deceive ourselves. I’ve never fully understood why it’s so simple to ignore the truths that are right in front of our faces, and yet… I found myself caught off-guard with the realization that I’ve been doing exactly that.
A few months ago, I was off work one morning and it was quiet, the kids were sleeping and even the cats were leaving me alone, and I sat in this leather recliner downstairs and had a rare couple of uninterrupted hours with just me and God. And I remember feeling so aimless at that point. Telling God how I don’t want to just go from day to day and arrive at my 50th birthday to look back and realize that all I’ve been doing is just going day to day. Like living paycheck to paycheck. Of course I realize that there is an element of taking things as they come, and like it says in Matthew, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
But, just as it takes time to build a great skyscraper, no contractor begins construction without receiving the blueprints from the architect. There’s intentionality within that day to day job on the construction site, and even though the average passersby may not see what it’s becoming, the workers keep on, because there is a purpose there. So I’m good with the day to day philosophy, but I also want to know that what I do and say matters. That somehow it contributes to God’s kingdom, and that God has a plan.
That’s what God was talking to me about on that quiet fall morning. Where we go next. And as time has gone on, that conversation has been very much on the forefront of my heart.
At least in my thoughts and on paper.
But about a week ago, I was once again shown how that really isn’t enough. That an understanding, or even an agreement of God’s plan, amounts to nothing by itself. Just like those building plans – regardless of how much time and energy and passion the architect has put into this grand design, down to the very last, seemingly insignificant detail. If those plans just sit on a shelf somewhere, written off as a pipe dream, or the contractor begins only to realize after the project begins that he’s in over his head and walks away from it, leaving only an unrealized dream. The architect never sees his work finished, no one can ever walk by this amazing skyscraper and say how amazing and how much effort and love must have went into this project and how amazing the architect is. How great of a designer, and overseer he is.
God’s the grand designer – the architect of everything. I want my life to reflect His goodness. I want people to look at my life and know that it’s not my plan or vision, that I’m just following Him. But that only will happen if I actually follow His plan. If I stop holding back, justifying in my mind how “yup, I heard you God, I know what you’re wanting from me right now, and it’s on my to-do list. I didn’t get to it yet, because hey, I’m busy. I’m tired. It’s the holidays and I have a lot going on. I have laundry to do. I have a headache. Watching a movie sounds too good to pass up right about now (because I of course need some time with the boys). But don’t worry God, it’s okay, it’s still on my to-do list.” Or even, “okay God, I started, I helped out this one time, but you couldn’t possibly want me to keep going – that would require discipline and endurance and perseverance, and that scares me. People having expectations of me, scares me…so surely You didn’t mean to keep going… so I’ll back off for now…but I did make progress, so that’s enough for now, right?” I can justify my own fear and my own inability to stay the course a million different ways. But that day about a week ago I mentioned?? I felt like I was a kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Like the servant Jesus spoke in his parable of the talents, that was unprepared for his master’s return – he just hid what was entrusted to him. He didn’t actually do anything.
I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, but I wasn’t being honest. I wasn’t taking an impartial look at what I was doing, or not doing as the case may be. Instead of saying yes and lining up my priorities with God’s, I basically just said that I’d get around to it eventually, and sat the list on a shelf to be a pretty little pipe dream, instead of trusting that when the designer of the universe tells me that His plans are possible, He’s right.
I believe He’s given me a chance to get back on course. That His prompting was not just a matter of telling me I’m not really getting it right at the moment, but to correct me and encourage me to trust in Him.
So I’m going to spend the next few days coming up with a plan, to start here and now. To pick myself up and keep going . . .