June 6, 2017
On Track and Moving Forward
I went to bed around 10 p.m., and like I said, I couldn’t drop off to sleep right away. I tossed. I turned. I read my phone (again), and finally after much consternation, I succumbed to the tiredness in my mind and body. In the interim, I had a really good heart-to-heart conversation with the Lord, and in those precious moments, I sensed clarity, purpose, focus, and yes, blessed direction. In all truth, I thought I had figured everything out, that I had come to terms with the desires the Lord had for me, but instead, I was always just slightly off the mark. I felt somewhat good about my decision-making process, and for a long time, I said to Him that I was “content” to remain here in Phoenix, “content” to go to VA for school, or just “content” with whatever the Lord wanted me to do. But, I was not being honest. I was not telling the truth. I was telling partial truth, and humbly speaking, I still am.
You see, I am content (in joy) with remaining here in Phoenix. It is not my perfect place by any means, and I really do not like living in the desert, but there is a part of me that is invested in Phoenix. There is a part of me that is happy with my life. I am not complaining about it, rather I am simply accepting my life as “my lot.” Then there is a part of me that really wants to move where it snows, where it is green, and where farmhouses and country homes exist. Yes, this part of me is the part that resonates with my childhood fantasies, and this part of me calls out to me and says, “This is really what you want for your life.” In between these two extremes is this middle ground, this place where I live, where I tell the Lord that I am content with everything He desires for me. I really want to be content. I really think I am content, but in my heart, I know I am not.
I’ve wrestled with this on again/off again feeling of contentment, and I think I have finally figured it out. I think I finally understand why I am not happy, why I am not joyfully over the moon. I think it is something simple, yet something so profound. I think I have come to the place where I realize that I will never be happy on this side of heaven. I think I finally get that the thing I have been looking for in a home, in a place to settle down, is a place that doesn’t exist for me. I want to go home. I want to go to my heavenly home. I want to be present with the Lord and absent from the body. Yet, my time has not come, and it is my lot to be present in the body, but absent from the Lord’s presence. For a time, I mean. For the rest of my natural life, I mean.
I want to spend all my time with the Lord. I want to be home with the Lord. And, because this is the driving motivation in my life, I spend all my time looking for this “home.” I cannot find it. I have tried to replicate it through fantasies of log cabins, farmhouses, or beautifully crafted mansions. I cannot find it no matter how diligent I search for it. Instead, what I find is nice homes, cute homes, pleasant homes, and places that are good, fertile, well-developed. You see, I find a lot of imperfect things — homes, valleys, developments, cities — and in every single place I see “what is missing” from it. I see the part that is missing, and that missing part makes me say “Nah, not good enough.”
The Lord has given me plenty of time to look at “places” both near and far. He has said I am to go — physically move — and in this way, I am to move to another place, another city or town, and I am to set down roots there. I am to do ministry there. I am to live there — for the rest of my days. Yet, I am not content. I don’t like the looks of the place, the type of home, the mess that surrounds the place. I see imperfection rather than possibility. I see problems instead of opportunities to create new ways out of the less than best presented to me.
Am I picky? Yes, I am. But the particulars are what catch me up because in many ways I am overly “agreeable.” It is just that in my mind’s eye, I simply am not happy because I don’t want to live a disappointed life. I don’t want to retreat into the past, and I don’t want to repeat my life experiences. I want new, and I want things to be good — really better than good — and in the end, I want the very best.
The Lord has said to me that I cannot have what I want, and for a long time, I thought He meant that I couldn’t have a certain type of house or certain decor. I was mistaken. I was wrong in my interpretation. What the Lord was saying to me was that the thing I want, I cannot have yet. I cannot have the life I long for, the home I desire, and the place I need because it doesn’t exist. Not here. Not on earth. One day, I will have it. One day, I will live in the place of His choosing. One day, I will have His very best, and when that day comes, it will never end. It will be eternal.
Until that time, I have to accept second best. I have to accept imperfection. I have to live with less than perfect, and I have to find the good within the bad. I have to look at my life and say it is good — even if — it appears to be not so good. I have to look for His blessing, His provision, and His grace in all the wrong places. I have to realize that the work He asks me to do is very much about going and living in a place not of my desire. I have to go to this place with open eyes, an open mind, and two ready hands in order to receive His special blessing. I have to focus on what can be rather than on what I see. I have to accept less than in order to receive more than I can imagine. I have to take His offer, and recognize the good inherent in His offer. It is after all HIS to offer to me. Thus, I have to come down from my high place, my tall ladder, and I have to say, “Yes, Lord,” and “Thank you, Jesus!” I have to accept the gift He is offering to me, and I have to understand that what the Lord gives is always, always good.
My heart and my mind are spinning right now. I am facing uncertainty, and I am confused about the outcome. Yet, in my heart, I know that the Lord has this all figured out, and that where He is sending me will be for my ultimate good. It will grow me, mature me, make me into the person of His desire. I will be used mightily for His work, and I will live a life surrendered to Him. I will go and do His work. I will go and live where He tells me to live, and I will no longer look at places and say, “Not right. Not good. Not perfect.” Instead, I will say, “Yes, Lord, I see potential. I see possibility. I see what you want to do here.” And, in this way, I will let Him make whatever looks imperfect, flawed, and not good into something beautiful. He will make it beautiful. He will make it appear perfect to me. I will enjoy the fruit of His blessing. I will enjoy the fruit of His land. I will enjoy the reward for my faithfulness and my obedience. I will go, Lord. I will go.
I made up my mind the other day to trust the Lord. I said so. I said I would follow Him. I would go, and today, I am reconfirming my vow to the Lord by saying not only will I go, but I will receive the blessing of His provision in order to go. I will not seek perfection, rather I will simply say, “Thank you, Lord,” as I receive His precious gift into my hand. I will rest in what He provides, and even though it doesn’t look good on the outside or inside, I will know that with work, some hard work, and a little elbow grease, what will be transformed in time will be very, very good. In short, it will be His best for me. It will be His provision, His protection, and His good pleasure as He governs me, guides me, and gives me His grace to endure each and every day while I wait for the “perfect place” to be revealed. Until then, I rest. I let go. I accept all. I say, “Yea and amen,” and I believe that what the Lord plans to do with my life, with my days, and with all the possibilities open to me, will eventually be good. So good. So very, very good.