I stood in line getting my favorite fountain drink, and a woman at the front of the line asked for a specific lottery ticket. It wasn’t available. She said it was too bad because it was her lucky kind, but she requested another one. The clerk said it wasn’t available either. On to choice number three.
“Oh, we’ve got that one!,” the clerk declared. The customer joked, “Well, it’s about time!”
The relief was short-lived when the clerk reappeared from behind the counter to deliver the disappointing news: “I’m so sorry, but we must have sold out of that one, too.” Several of us in line laughed and someone said, “Well, she’s just messing up your entire day!” The customer chuckled and succeeded in securing a ticket on her fourth attempt, then said, “If that’s what messes up my day, I have a pretty pitiful view of my day.”
Don’t let the unimportant things of your day bear too much weight. We all do it from to time and usually rationalize our perspective.
It’s good when we get a reality check reminder.
Sometimes I ask God for things or results just to help me feel better.
I recently caught myself telling God something like this: “I trust you and know you will provide. And I’m asking you to set this up by the end of the day for my peace of mind.”
I am okay with being specific in prayer but I knew I was praying with contradiction:
I trust you and know you will provide, God.
Now, let me set some benchmarks for you.
I chuckled at myself.
Sorry, God. I can be a bit bossy at times. I’m working on that. Mostly, you’re working on that.
Wanting God to help me feel better never trumps trusting God to help me become better. Growth is always better than comfort.
But it isn’t easy.
I woke up rested yet weary.
It’s an odd juxtaposition, feeling physically rested yet emotionally weary. At first, I thought it was spiritual weariness I felt, but I laid in bed and prayed and realized that wasn’t an accurate assessment.
It’s been worse.
Sometimes, several kinds of weariness collide, creating an overwhelming combination. To me, it’s helpful to identify the weariness. It helps me know some options to specifically help: getting to bed earlier, praying and reading Scripture before getting out of bed, being patient with myself and others through the day, writing, serving. It’s also helpful to isolate the weariness to remind myself of its limited impact. It doesn’t consume or define me. It doesn’t wreck my life or my day.
Weariness is temporary. It is limited. It is always survivable.
I sat at a volleyball game.
I have no young children in sports, but I have an adult daughter who is in her first year as an assistant coach. And I find joy in supporting my girls no matter their ages, whether it’s in person, written and sent in notes, or through goofy text images.
When I’m able to step into their worlds for a brief moment, I get to take a glimpse of their lives, challenges, and relationships. In the past year, I’ve completed half marathons with my oldest while catching up on everyday life, and I’ve helped my youngest decorate her first classroom and pack up her house.
I sat at a volleyball game and sighed with appreciation. I watched my daughter encourage her players as they made big plays and experienced frustration. I watched her husband sit nearby and help by running the scoreboard. And I sat in the bleachers among friends and strangers. Some had children playing. Some had grandchildren playing. And there were a few, like me, who were there to support others. I sat among that group and sensed community. We came together to support people we cared about, no matter their ages or relationships.
Community is a good thing. We might cheer for different sides, but supporting those we love and others we hardly know is worthwhile, especially alongside others.
I recently asked someone to read through something I had drafted but wasn’t comfortable hitting “send” until someone I trusted took a look for accountability. I needed an extra step of filtering.
What if every response we made – with our words, actions, or even facial expressions – ran through this filter:
In a way, I am responding to God.
Would it change your response?
Because the truth is, despite the person to whom you’re responding, your response is always connected to God in some way. How are you honoring or dishonoring him? How are you reflecting him? How are you trusting him?
Before you start bending your responses into what you think God would stamp “approve” upon, I’m not talking about scrubbing all communication to seem squeaky clean. God isn’t squeaky clean. He is pure, but in his purity, he has some of the qualities that can make us squirm a bit – anger, justice, power – things we might doubt we can purely portray. We’re more likely to rationalize, misusing them at times and avoiding them other times.
Responding with and to God in mind doesn’t mean people will always respond the way we want or expect, just as people have a variety of responses to God himself. But why not have the courage and respect to try? Why not respond with truth and love?
One of the Scriptures taped securely to the front of my “divorce folder” is Galatians 5:6b: “What matters is faith working through love.” That filter for my response always makes a difference.
To go or to leave. They seem the same, but there is a difference. God can prompt and lead both. One is to go out of and toward another place. The other is to leave something behind.
We need to leave behind what God intends for us to leave behind, that which burdens, preoccupies, or dirties us. Let God filter everything so that you only take forward what he intends to use. We will need some things as we go, but we will not need some things as we leave. We can only see the difference when we trust God to oversee the packing process. As we trust him, he will not lead us through situations for which he has not prepared us, although it will often feel that way. Those feelings are often a prompt, a reminder that we can choose to trust God yet again.
Along the way, we will face some of our old problems. Remember, you are not the same person as you were the last time you dealt with it. Again, our feelings will betray us. It often feels the same, but we’ve changed in the meantime.
Old problem, new person.
I’d rather deal with an old problem in new ways, letting my growth carry me farther. I’d rather continue to trust God to equip me in strengthening and healing ways. I’d rather leave behind what he says for me to leave and go where he says I should go next, not because I think my next step will lead into some sort of perfect situation. In fact, it’s less about the step and direction and more about whom I’m walking with. God is a good companion and trustworthy navigator.
I want to be relentlessly faithful.
Intentional, not like a puppet.
I want to walk by faith even when I don’t see, yet I also want to keep my eyes wide open for whatever God wants to show me.
When you consider your faith, what do you most want?