March 18, 2010

Leaning on and Trusting in the Lord

It has been nearly 8 months since I have had to deal with my present situation, learning how to accept the fact that I am going to be single again. I was telling my mother this today, and the thought occurred to me: at first, you experience every emotion, from high to low. There is anger, hurt, betrayal, distrust, grief, loss, etc. These swing back and forth like a pendulum. Your emotions are raw, and depending on your particular situation, some initial resolution is discovered. Perhaps you and your spouse reconcile, proceed through counseling and hope to repair and restore your marriage (well, God does this, not man); or perhaps your spouse or you decides to leave, to move out, to go their own way. Either way, there is some movement towards a resolution. It might be either way: back together or farther apart.

After a while, you settle into things, the new way things are. For a time, you are simply numb. You are taking each day as it comes and trying to make it through in one piece. Later on, you settle into some sort of routine. Perhaps you make ends meet, and just take one step after another. Or perhaps, you sink into depression, and come to the terms of the incident. You hopefully get help, hopefully are seeing a wise counselor to guide you through the emotional upheaval, the day by day living, and finally through the "valley of the shadow of death" (as I call it.) It is the last phase you walk through, if your marriage is not to be restored. It is the death of a marriage, and it is not an easy place to walk. Once you are through it, you will have decided to separate or divorce. You will have made some decision as to what to do. Do you go through the legal motions, make the permanent change? Do you wait a while and simmer off, cool down?

This place that you enter, after the "shadow of death" is an uncertain place. It is filled with unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar things, and for a time (how long you choose to remain there is up to you), it is uncomfortable. You are not moving forward; you are not moving backwards. You are simply standing still. Not yet fully able to let go; but knowing that until you do, you cannot move into anything remotely new.

This is the place where I am at, the place of uncertainty, of unknowns. It is an uncomfortable place to live, and it is a place I am hoping to leave behind soon. The problem is that sometimes you don't really know how long you will be in this uncertain land. If you are like me, without a job, without income, you might find that you are stuck in "uncertainty" for what seems like an eternity. It really isn't that long, but it sure feels like it.

This place of uncertainty serves a valuable purpose. It is the time you need to get your bearings, to figure out where you have been, and where you would like to go. Many people go from the "shadow of death" right on into life. Often, they make huge mistakes in doing so; often they engage in relationships when then need to be single-mindedly focused on what is best for them.

How long will you stay in this uncertain place will depend on two things: 1) your willingness to let go of the past; and 2) your willingness to embrace your future. Even if you don't know your future, you must look ahead and not back. You need to remember Lot's wife. She looked back at the life she was leaving, even after she was warned to not do it. She turned into a pillar of salt. Not saying here that you will become salt either...just a good story to remember.

The Apostle Paul said that he must strive on toward the goal, the prize waiting for him in Jesus Christ. He doesn't look back, but he keeps on moving forward. In such a way, a runner in a race will often lose if he looks back to see who is behind him. Being single-minded and focused on the task at hand will often bring the reward. Looking back is what trips us up, what causes us to stumble, and find ourselves mired into remembering the past. Keep in mind, that over the course of your life, you will have time to remember the past. Perhaps it is best to do the remembering down the road, when you are far distanced from the pain and sorrow? Perhaps this is the Lord's will? I think so.

So here I am, stuck between the past and the future. I know what both are, what both held/hold, and I am not moving forward. I am standing still. I am not necessarily looking back; but I am not necessarily straining forward to grasp the prize. What am I doing? I am not certain. I only know that I have been in this transition for far too long. It is time to get moving, yet I don't know how to do that on my own.

I want to move. I want to embrace my future. I want to live a new life, a life whereby I am in control (under the Lord's hand) so that I no longer must have anyone in authority over me (in the sense of being in relationship and having to submit to another person). It is not that I want to be in charge, no. I simply want to be responsible for that which the Lord has entrusted to me. I want to do His will and His work. I want to get about my Father's business.

In thinking this dilemma through, I am struck with the realization that as long as I remain in this land of uncertainty, I am making myself available for further hurt and pain and sorrow. If I am moving forward, then I am creating distance between myself and my past. It is not that I want to toss the past away, so to speak; it is just that the past can no longer serve me for anything other than remembrance. I must move on. I must strive forward and grasp the prize set aside for my life.

I am committed to this path, to this plan of action. It is what I want, what I pray for, yet...how does it happen? I have prayed and prayed and prayed for a job, for a way out of my darkness and a way into His perfect plan. I have been assured that "it is done," which means to me something akin to "it's OK, everything is OK, and you are right where you need to be." Therefore, I am at this crossroad in my life. Which way do I go or do I continue to stand right in the middle, looking to the left and to the right? No, I press on and upward to the call of Christ Jesus. I run the race of faith, not looking backward, but pressing on to the future the Lord has graciously called me to live in.

Dear Lord,

I am ready to begin this life, yet I am not moving forward. Please give me your grace to understand what I must do, say or think so as to free up these resources, to enable me to begin a new life, the new life you have promised to me. I ask now that I would accept the challenges that lay ahead, that I would press on and upward, knowing that your will is always in my best interest. There is no way I choose but your way. I ask now that you would give me the confidence to know that this is your way, and that there is no other way, but this one path. In Jesus Name I pray...Amen.

1 comment:

Pam said...

He waits for us to be ready in our hearts. He knows the timing needed. He is trustworthy.
I only speak this truth, knowing what He taught me over and over in pregnancy and in waiting for the baby to come. I was restless, wanting to hold it, wanting to know when and how it would be. But He taught me everything in the 'wait'.

Looking up the word 'wait' brings helpful insight.

He gives you perfect peace when your mind is stayed (fixed upon, leaning upon, propped against) Him, because you are trusting in Him. Is. 26...?