So I woke up this morning to an unusual amount of pouncing. Gus and Winston decided that the bedroom would make a fine race track, complete with hurdles and ditches to fly over. I think they must have made the circuit at least five times (whose counting? I lost count after three!) I could hear the carpet pulling as they made their way round the bend, up the hallway, and onto the bed. It was like one big race, or chase, with them coming full speed ahead and then crashing to a dead halt right on my bed. I must have yelled or screamed or tossed the slipper or something to get them to stop, because when I finally was awake enough to really get mad, they were sitting calmly on the foot of the bed, staring at me with that look that says, "What? Who Me?" Yes, you. And you (with fingers pointing right back at them both!)
I made it out to the kitchen, started my coffee (Oh, praise for Java), and then after feeding and doing the kitty duty (boxes, etc.) I settled into my chair by the window. I wish I could say "Ah, relax," but I couldn't settle in like I usually do. I was fed up. Plainly put, my level of frustration about just everything was at the boiling point. I was tired of this whole mess. I was mad that my morning was roused up by a race through the house. I was feeling blue, and then depressed because I haven't gotten a job yet. Have you experienced this same thing? Sometimes it only takes one thing to set your spiral downward into motion. One incident can turn a pleasant attitude into grumbling and despair.
It shouldn't be this way, but I find that it happens so often. Perhaps it is just because I have a lot of my plate (not a good excuse, but it is mine today) or perhaps it is just because I truly am feeling pinched by frustrated plans?
I cannot come to terms with my life right now. I am living it, but I don't like it. I don't want this to last much longer, I want it to be over. The problem is that my wants don't seem to match up to His timing. My wants are taking over my life, they are first and foremost, and the more I focus on them, the more frustrated I become. I know that I shouldn't do this. I know that if I focus on Him, then I feel much better. But, I still do it. Especially when I feel pinched by the unfairness of life.
Unfairness is an interesting thing. We cry foul a lot, don't you think? It doesn't matter what the actual issue is, we just always seem to be able to spot injustice. Rightly or wrongly, with proper motivation or not, we tend to zero in on unfairness and how it affects US. "It is not fair," you cry. "It is just not right." Yes, I know. I say it too, now more frequently than before (as I recall -- in truth -- probably just as much as ever! LOL!) We want everything to be fair. We want people to treat us kindly, to be respectful, to be thoughtful. We raise our children and train them to be the same way. We teach them the golden rule, and when the rule is broken, either by them or others, we try and explain this whole messy thing called, "Free Will."
Free will is something I wish never existed. It is the bane of my existence and yours. Not only did free will get you into deep doo-doo with your Heavenly Father, it still wrecks havoc in your daily life, throughout all your relationships, and ultimately within your self (your psyche). It is the reason you are on the outs with God, your Mother, your Father, your brother or sister, your husband or wife. It is the reason you are sitting miserably right now, lamenting over some poor choice, some bad decision, some option or path taken, that didn't deliver all that was promised to you. It is the reason you choose to do your own thing, to go your own way, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It is the very reason you are who you are, and it can prove fatal spiritually if you leave it go unchecked.
Free will is what gets us into sin, and then keeps us there. It is what makes us what to do the thing we know we shouldn't. It also forms our opinions (how did we get so opinionated? Free will of course!), our attitudes, and our character. It is the impetus for so many things, so many failed and faulty ways and means. It really is a sham, a noose about our neck, and it leads us away from God and into the arms of Death.
Thank you, TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. Yes, it was this little fruit that sprang forth this blessing called "Free Will." The tree itself wasn't to blame, for after all it was GOOD and was one of God's creation and provision. It wasn't really the fruit either. The fruit simply was the catalyst or the outward sign of an inward choice. Man was created by His creator with the ability to choose to obey or disobey. This was inherent within man at the time he was formed from the dust of the earth. The desire to choose to obey was there. The will to obey was there as well. The problem was that temptation, that little nagging doubt, those first few troubling words were absent...for a time. Once doubt was added to the mixture, and stirred up a bit, the choice of whether or not to obey came into question. The matter of the will, the desire and then the motivation to do what the desire wanted, swung into action. Sin was birthed as a result of one single choice.
Not all our decisions are sinful. Not all our choices are bad. Some of them are null and void, simply choices that neither better nor harm our present circumstance. Some choices, however, are clearly of the sort that they can bring great blessing or serious hurt. Some choices can literally change our life, upset the balance of our nature, and cause incredible damage to the hearts and minds of others. It is hard to believe that one little choice has the power to alter another person's entire spectrum of being, but it is true. Consider adultery or suicide. One choice to indulge in a passionate thought outside the sanctity of marriage can ruin an entire marriage built upon the foundation of trust and fidelity. One time, that is all it takes. One moment of pleasure, can change the balance of a relationship, damage not only hearts and minds, but the lives of children, extended family, and one's own relationship with the Lord. It just takes one moment of FREE WILL to utterly destroy the blessings of wholeness.
Suicide is a similar choice, often made by the most desperate of individuals. Studies have shown that the after effects of suicide damage and destroy the lives of those around the person who chose to take their own life. In one moment, a person chooses to end their life, not giving any care or concern to those they leave behind. The wave of their FREE WILL choice will utterly destroy the family members who are left dealing with the whys and wherefores and hows of that decision.
Our will to choose is an incredibly powerful tool, given to us by a God who loved us and made us to be like HIM. We can choose to obey a loving God or we can choose to obey our own lusts and passions. Why did God give us the right and power to choose to obey? I believe it is because He wants us to freely choose to worship Him. He didn't want to create a race of robots who were programmed to obey. Rather, He wanted to create individuals who would come to see the truth of His Goodness and Grace, and then CHOOSE to honor Him based upon that understanding. In short, He wants us to come to Him because of who He is, because He is God.
As I reflect on my situation, I am reminded of just how my own power of choice has affected my life. I have made some good decisions over the course of time. I have made some real stinkers too. Thankfully, most of my decisions turned out OK. They may have brought frustration, anger, and hurt; but, these results lasted for a short time only. I got over them, got through them, learned from them, and hopefully, made better choices the next time round. Some of my choices were repeat offenders. You know the kind...you make a bad choice once, learn the lesson AND then sometime in the distant future, do the same thing over again. I have done it a number of times. You would think I would have learned, but in some situations I am hard headed and stubborn. I am a repeat offender in many ways.
So how do you deal with frustration and the feeling that you are fed up to "here?" Do you sulk and moan and complain about it? Do you get down to business and start taking inventory and make new choices, hoping that your mere activity (doing something instead of nothing), will move you forward, propel you into some less frustrating place? Or do you sit down in the dust and think about it, really stew about it (I do), and then determine a course of action? Or better yet, do you go to the Lord and inquire of Him, asking Him if there is any reason for the feeling, any motive unpure, thought off the mark, or movement out of the "river of His will?" How do you handle the times when you are up to here and feeling as though you are going nowhere fast?
I am a stew-er (not sure if that is a word, but I will use it anyhow). I tend to stew. I sit and think, and think, and think some more. I think, think, think. I am like Pooh Bear and I pound the side of my head and say to myself, "think, think, think." Not a whole lots comes from this type of torture (grin!), but I do it anyway. I guess it is the way I am; I am just a "bear of very little brain."
Sometimes though, I go right to the Source. I go right to Him and I ask Him for clarification. Sometimes I do this without thinking, I just go right in to my quiet place and say, "Lord, I am confused. I don't get it. What is going on?" Sometimes, I go in after stewing a bit. I think the Lord sighs greatly when I do this, as if to say to me, "Finally! Why do you always wait so long? Why do you try and figure this out on your own? If you would only come to Me, I would help you to understand what my will is and why this is happening to you." Yes, Lord...that is the question. Why do I wait so long, allow myself to become so frustrated and angry, and then even take it to the next level, and begin to despair? Why? Because I can. Because of that dog-gone FREE WILL of mine and the desire to figure it all out on my own. In short, I want to do it MY WAY.
Yes, yes, yes...it is always about ME. Isn't that the most rotten thing possible? My entire life, my entire being, my entire mindset is always thinking about ME. Sure, I think about other people, and I even think about God too. Generally, though, from morning to evening, I think about ME. I think about my needs, my wants, my this or that (said with a significant whine in my voice!) Me, me, me, me on ad infinitum.
Yikes...this should not be. No, no, no, it simply should not be. Please Lord, why is everything about Me and not about you?
You know that I love you. You know that I want to obey. Why is it that I always end up with a whole lot of me, and not enough of You? Please help me turn this around so that my focus is on Your will, Your plans, and Your Love and Grace. I cry out with the Apostle Paul and say, "may I decrease so that Christ may increase in me." Yes, and Amen. May it be so today.