Writing is a bit like tossing Scrabble tiles on the table only to discover you’ve accidently made a real word. I rarely simply sit and write something from scratch that is either clever or insightful.
I need to have a million words out there and then find those few that say what I really mean.
Sometimes this happens when I’m practicing the Examen. I write my prayers of thanks and concern and confession in a journal. Every once in a while, words that just spill from my pen are poetic and sweet or wise and specific. Sometimes God gives me words I didn’t know I had about feelings that I could not keep inside and they turn into thoughts I offer to you.
Just the other day I wrote this: “I have feelings that seem like worry – but they are pushed aside by what must be trust.”
Interesting …by what must be…
What must be. I didn’t write that worry was surely pushed aside by trust. There was no certainty or finality. No confidence that I’ve arrived where I am no longer concerned about the world around me because I’m at peace, assured that the world is in God’s hands. No, there’s still that question – that puzzle.
And this is what I write after my last post? The one in which I essentially claim to be “all that” with great authority and conviction that I am not afraid.
Good golly, Miss Molly.
As contradictory as that may seem, however, I believe I can explain why I lack a measure of confidence and, yet, am not afraid.
You see, my lovelies, the heart of the matter is determining two things:
- First of all, Who is in charge?
- And then, who is making the plans?
When I wrote Overcoming I was responding to the condition of the world. I was looking out my window, at social media, at the nightly news and pushing back against a society that seems bent on division and fear and “us/them”.
I was also seeing the blurry changes on the horizon that may affect how my family’s apple cart may be upset.
I was looking out at those things over which I have not one ding-dang bit of control. I cannot appoint a Cabinet position or solve the issues of poverty, race division or gun control, school lunch programs, or what national value should be placed on the arts and the environment. I do have power to voice my opinions and cast a vote of confidence or disagreement. I can lobby and make telephone calls. I have a front yard for signs and the ability to clearly make my ideas heard or read by those who hold the purse strings and the power of the final ballots.
But I do not hold those issues in my two hands. I do not wield more power than any other voting citizen or constituent.
What moves me today, though, are those thoughts, ideas, and plans that I am making on my own in my small world. I am pondering those decisions Tim and I make on a daily or weekly basis that little by little change what we do, how we spend our money and time, and what we determine is important or insignificant.
The other day, I was contemplating my own plans – the upcoming retreat I am co-hosting, a morning when I will speak of reflection and prayer, and how to move forward with a little writing project I hope to complete very soon. Plans that I believe with all my heart come from Jesus. I believe they come from Him because I’ve asked Him to let me know. Maybe not audibly but in the encouragement of others or the spark I feel slowly building into fire and determination.
When I make plans and accept challenges, I just have to trust that Jesus is giving me the go-ahead. I have to trust that it is His voice I’m hearing. It is His smile I see in the affirmation of others and the gradually-cleared path to my next step or destination. It is the warmth of His holy face beaming down to warm the chilly responses of those less convinced. Or worse, the icy storms of those who hope that I will return to “I’m not good enough to…”, abandoning my dreams, plans, and challenges.
When I make those plans, worrying is pushed aside by what must be trust.
So goes the life of a girl still trying to find the truth and keep her balance. A life of continually seeking the hand of God … and not the approval of others.
What do you think… Can trust push worry aside? Let’s talk.