I’ve spent a lot of my adult life whirling through quite randomly. From where I lived to clothing style to hair colors to furniture to jobs to boyfriends, I just chose whatever came my way, what was easy and didn’t stress me out. None of the furniture matched and I couldn’t care less. My career was like a Jackson Pollock and I tried whatever came along and sometimes worked in one place for two days before quitting and trying something else. It didn’t matter to me and I only wanted to be happy and carefree.
But poorly made furniture breaks and careers become increasingly difficult to start over and youth and beauty fade and the men who treat you like a princess until the next morning come and go. And all you’re left with is your choices and your regrets and your bills. And sometimes a wicked hangover. I don’t generally give in to regret because everything that I’ve done has served some kind of purpose even poorly made furniture. And the truth is that I wouldn’t be who I am without all these things.
But if I weren’t learning something from them and making better decisions now, that would be foolish. That whole “fool me once” thing and that whole “insanity is doing the same thing over and over” thing – we can’t keep repeating history. Something’s gotta give. Great movie title, solidly passable movie.
So maybe it takes me longer to find the “perfect” dresser and maybe I don’t dye my hair blue when I wanna and I have to think twice about whether or not to take a job offer. But I’m at a place now where I can be pickier and I know that it’s better to take the time to search high and low while balancing in the restful knowledge that every little thing’s gonna be all right. Or maybe I just miraculously stumble upon the one I love through no great effort of my own, and maybe all the planets align – because that makes much more sense in the explanation of all good gifts than a sovereign loving gracious God – and we get what we need AND want most at exactly the right time.
Do you believe that? That’s the real question. Do we truly believe that there is a God who loves us and is working behind the scenes to get us where we need to be? I don’t. I’ll be the first to admit it. There are times I’m sitting in my self pity and despair and I think there is no way out of this mess or there is no way this is going to work out. And I know that in that moment I am raising my fist at God and daring to think that my brain can contain His capacity. Where was I when the stars were placed in the sky and the mountains were raised from the dust and all that jazz? So I come way way way back down off my high horse and I take my place back under His wing and I find that there is no other place in the world for me but in that very spot. In the warmest embrace from the One who loves me more than I could ever imagine or hope for – the kind of embrace we are given the smallest glimpse of when someone human loves you and holds you so close you feel as if you are melding together seam by seam and cannot bear to move for fear of tearing your skin. And that is how close our God is to our hearts. And when we move from Him, we feel that ripping of our souls – except He follows. He pursues. He hunts us down, as our pastor Camper Mundy likes to say. All the days of our lives. Except not the soap opera. Though some of us feel like we’re in one at times.
And so after all this time, I am pickier. I am choosing wisely for the sake of the One who loves me most and who provides and who wants to give such good things to me. I can make things happen. I am great at moving and shaking. But it’s like spinning my wheels – a whole lotta noise and chaos and dirt shifting – but what for? I am made for so much more and I must rest when I am called to rest, and work when I am called to work, and strive when I am given the task of striving. And then rest again. Unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain.