Change has become the new normal for my life. I always thought that I was pretty good at change but that was when my life had a fluid consistency, like the comfort of a classic black and white feel good movie, so adding a little splash of color and adventure now and again was welcomed. For some time now I’ve thought that going back to a little consistency would be nice. The colors flashing speedily before my eyes get a little overwhelming. I’ve been waiting for the comfort of some good old classic black and white…and I’m still waiting.
Last weekend, I was reminded of something so simple and yet so vital to living the spirit-filled Christian life. I was reminded that, like the Rich Young Ruler, I too must be willing to live fully abandoned to God. It occurred to me that all the changes and all the dissatisfaction I was facing were a result of my having this perfect image of what my life should look like; what I want to do everyday, what I want my house to look like, how I want my relationships to be, etc. I’ve been focusing so much on “I” and “me” that I was missing out on what plans God may have for me. If I’m not willing to give up that which I think will make me happy, there will be no room for what God knows will give me eternal fulfillment. Who knows, maybe God and I have some of the same plans but I can’t know that if I’m not willing to be ok with losing everything in order to make room for the abundance of Christ’s blessings. I believe that God gave me a simple object lesson to reinforce this truth over this past week.
Transportation is one of those rich blessings that is often taken for granted until it’s taken away from us. My husband, being a mechanic, was doing some much needed work on his car last weekend. He got done as much as he could but not enough to make the car drivable for the week. He told me that he would have to finish the following weekend when he had more time but this meant sharing my car throughout the week. Because Andrew works nights, from 2pm-4am I would be without a car. This wasn’t a huge inconvenience because I didn’t have any major plans that I couldn’t work around, however I really dislike being home alone; especially at night. It is being home alone at night when I’m apt to sink into my depression.
The one thing I really didn’t want to miss is volunteering at the church on Tuesday night with the middle school kids. I remembered one of the volunteers lived close by, so I had a ride and something to do during one of the four nights without a car. Even so, I dreaded going into the week knowing that Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I’d be home alone. Then, things started falling into place. Each day I had a conversation with someone that said, “I’ll come pick you up to do_________.” By the time Thursday night rolled around, I had been able to get out of the house three out of my four nights alone without a car!
I could have been really resentful and complaining about having this freedom taken from me. Yes, initially I felt a little trapped and anxious about not having the control to go wherever and do whatever I wanted, when I wanted it. However, I trust my husband with the mechanics of our vehicles, I trust his hard work, and I had to choose to trust God that I would be ok for one week without transportation.
At the end of the week, I had gotten out so much that I actually began to think, “wow, it would be really nice to have a peaceful night at home!” I felt very alive, fulfilled by God’s mercy, and blessed to have a community around me that cares for me.
Trusting God with this one small thing helped me to remember that if I trust Him with everything else, my life will be so much more fulfilling. My ongoing worries had been about how I’d keep my house clean and healthy food on the table once I started my second job, when Andrew and I would be able to start planning a family and, when we did bring our first child home, how I’d be able to take care of that child and still have enough income…and on and on my worries weighed me down like treasures of which I was unwilling to live without.
It occurred to me, that unlike the rich young ruler who, “Disheartened…went away sorrowful,” that if I were to leave behind these momentary worries and followed Christ with full abandon, that God’s plan for our needs, house, and family would fall into place.
This world is so entranced by technology, cell phones, nice cars, the Jones’ way of living and whatever that looks like for you. Many of these things have their place and benefits. However, if the question is between living my life based on my plans and possessions and basing my life following God’s plan, I’m going to choose God’s plan. I’m going to go back to the basic black and white movie with the slow dialogue and simple lifestyle over the fast paced High Definition color with surround sound any day.