When you get to a place in life where you look around, and all you see are bits and pieces of what you think your life is supposed to include, you get a sense of frustration. Well. I do.
I’m leading a bible study. The title is Restless. And I am. Restless, I mean. And thankfully I am finding I am not alone. Jennie Allen, the author, talks about threads in our life. She means all the different bits and pieces in our life that God has allowed or given or placed.
For me these include my skills as a writer. My book that feels as if it will be perpetually in progress and never finished. My desire and love for teaching. My job at my church. My husband and my role as his wife. My insatiable love for music. My children and my role as their mother. And my longing to work for Mike Mercer at Compassion First.
Some days, and in some ways, I am desperate for these things. I want them so badly I catch myself gritting my teeth in anticipation. My muscles flex. Relax. And flex again. I take a step and act one of these out for a minute or at least the length of the scene, almost like I am in a play. But when I have to come back to the mundane it’s as if I changed the channel. Turn off this little part of me that was minutes before glowing and growing and good.
It’s not me. I mean, it’s me, but the glowing and growing and good? That’s all God. See, we don’t glow alone. Actually we revel best in darkness when left to our own accords. But where the glory of The Lord is there is freedom. And light. And tall shoulders. And kindness. These come out when I am functioning in the gifts God placed uniquely in me. With me. For me to use, so just maybe someone will look and see Jesus has been here.
It’s easy to be motivated and take off at a steady gallop when the path is clear and lit up and narrow. But widen that sucker up and you’ve got gnarly bushes. Trees that throw apples at you. Dangerous predators lurking.
But the truth is nothing important has changed. Even if your road looks totally different all of a sudden. You could be standing at a fork in the road like Robert Frost, deciding between what looks predictable and what looks like an adventure. But God is still the same. Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow.
And when you realize this you begin to see that you aren’t actually dragging around seven separate threads. There’s a knot at the top. This God who is the same if he were seven single strands or the beginning of a very finely woven tapestry.
And you start to feel like maybe these threads have a commonality. Maybe my writing, my desire to teach, my heart for the girls affected by sex trafficking, love of high schoolers, music, wife, mother. You catch a glimpse of a common denominator. They all have the potential to bring God all the glory. And you begin to pray for real. Not that the path would be smooth, but that you’d have better shoes with which to walk your path.
Because that’s what God promises. Not straight and narrow. He offers us peace while we go through it. The shoes of peace. And your desperation preoccupies your mind.
Then at dinner the waiter brings your fortune cookie. This was inside of mine.