Monday, April 29, 2013

On Walking the Path of Gracious Uncertainty

Grounds for Sculpture pathway - photo by Linda Bush
I have a penchant for worry and anxiety and a desire for control.  I do not like to not know what is happening next, nor am I one who easily “wings it.”  I like plan and purpose and certainty.  How often I have told people, “I am a black and white gal.  Tell me the black, tell me the white, and I can deal with it.  Put me in the gray area of uncertainty, of not knowing, and I go crazy.”  It is probably one, if the THE, most difficult areas of my faith and my spiritual walk with God.  I want to know what is going on, what will happen… I just HATE HATE HATE not knowing.  The down side/curse of being one who has a very active imagination and healthy sense of creativity is being able to think of the millions of things that COULD happen… and usually they are all negative.  I project what may take place if this or that occurs or doesn’t transpire.  My mind can materialize vast scenarios for any unknown.  It takes me to weird and wild places from the logical to the completely outlandish… to places I should not let me go. 

I confess that, like termites, these times eat away at the foundation of my faith in God to know what is best for me.  Like a bratty child whining from the back seat “Are we there yet?” I shamefully bellyache my prayers and drone on and on. Trust is not a natural gift/talent for me… sitting with a quiet and gentle spirit while God is doing what He deems best in my life for His glory, for my obedience and growth and honing into the holy woman of God He sees in me (something I am blind to most of the time), comes with great difficulty.  It is hard labor for me to sit on my hands and not meddle and maneuver and manipulate my way into just that – MY way.  Instead of my heart singing the hymn, “Have THINE own way, Lord” I sing Frank Sinatra’s signature anthem at the top of my lungs… in spite of the knowledge that when I have chosen to walk that slippery slope of disobedience, I always fall down and hurt myself and God and others.

After reading the beautiful and poignant (and timely) devotion in today’s “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, I am again reminded how my patient and loving Father knows best.  I must learn to embrace His gracious uncertainty.  I may present my requests to His listening heart, of course, but I must learn (and be content and satisfied and rejoice in the fact) that His ways are not my ways, and that there will be times when what I want to happen now may not be part of the present and future in His grand scheme.

Oh God, forgive me for always wanting my own way and wanting to know it all right now.  Give me courage, grace and strength to look to You only, to trust You only and welcome the uncertainty of my future that I might, step by step and moment by moment, grow in faith as I walk along the path You have designed for me in love before the world began.

Gracious Uncertainty

. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2

Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ann Voskamp's Website for Today

Photo by Linda Bush - Cape May Sunrise
Today I'd like to invite you to a very special few moments of quiet bliss - a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart/soul.  Go over to Ann Voskamp's website "A Holy Experience" and look at her blog for today entitled "How to Make a Home".  CLICK HERE

I love the way this woman writes - it is a gift from God, and she is a magnificant photographer, able to capture life in ways words, even hers,simply cannot.  She is the author of "One Thousand Gifts" which I highly recommend and which is featured as April's Book of the Month.  I also participate on her "Take the Joy Dare"  and I try to Twitter three joys daily based on her guide.  Some days I fail, some days I can think of many.. but each time I do it I feel I'm building a few moments of eternity by thanking God for the blessings right under my nose that I'm guilty of not seeing in the midst of my hamster-wheel busy-ness.

So, please treat yourself to a few moments of joy... a respite from your crazy day.  I encourage you to grab a cup of tea and linger there.

Blessings and joy,

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