Ingredients: 2 parts prayer journal, 1 part confession, a dash of audacity, and an infrequent sarcastic comment to garnish. I made a promise, and now I’m going to keep it.
I made the decision last night to stay up an extra hour after I should’ve gone to sleep, and now I can barely think to write anything down. My commitment with this series is to start journaling what I’m learning through prayer and through the challenging circumstances in my life, to put into writing my current grapplings as a means of working through my questions but also to create a tangible recording to later analyze, so that I can return to them and be encouraged by what I’ve overcome and how I’ve changed.
I’ve been hung up lately on this thought about the small decisions in life and whether they’re really small at all. Like going to bed an hour late or putting off a project at work until another day or snapping at my kids because they’ve annoyed me. No one can argue that these are virtuous decisions, that’s for sure, yet my mindset is consistently passive here. I shrug these decisions off as if to say, “This doesn’t really bear any significance at all.” But despite my trying, I can’t fully accept the idea that some actions matter and some don’t. And who am I to evaluate the significance of actions anyways? I am incapable of seeing past my own one-dimensional circumstances to realize how my actions will affect others’ lives, others’ thoughts, others’ actions. It all has to matter, just as God has to be involved in every detail, not just a set of details that are more significant than others. If one detail is significant, they all must be so. And if one decision matters, they all must matter.
I’m becoming more settled in this idea now. At least I think.
I’m reading today in Oswald Chambers’s My Utmost for His Highest about this idea of total and complete devotion to God. He advocates for an extremist lifestyle, one that is willing to do whatever it takes, sacrifice whatever needs sacrificing, commit to whatever needs to be done in order to be in unity with Christ. Anything, everything, the thing. Everybody has that one thing they don’t want to part from, that one thing that isn’t really all that bad but definitely doesn’t qualify as an act of service to Christ, that we know is pulling us down but we passively hold on to anyways. For me right now, that thing is more a state of being than an object. I hold on to the habit of worrying about my circumstances. I hold on to control, or rather to the desire to have control. I want God to show me exactly what His plan is, how the pieces are going to fit together, and where I’m going to be in the coming years. And I want those details to line up perfectly with what I perceive to be the best scenario for my life.
I keep coming back to this idea of God being involved in everything. I’ve learned through experience that God is always using every element of my circumstances to further deepen my walk with Him and to extend His work into the lives of others around me. Every element. And then I think about what I’m really communicating when I demand to be in control of those circumstances. I’m in essence saying that His plan isn’t sufficient, that His intentions aren’t good enough, that He doesn’t know enough about me or my needs to fully provide for my life. The focus is totally on me.
I become so petty every moment I’m not in full communion with Him. I begin to worry about everything around me, and then I become indignant towards God for not fixing it all, for not removing me from the hardships that surround me. But He is so patient with me. He calmly and quietly reminds me — always when I will listen and often when I’m unwilling to listen — that He has orchestrated everything up to this point. And through that orchestration, He has changed my life in ways I could never have dreamed. I’ve seen Him in my life many, many times before, and all I have to do is look for Him now to know that He is there as He always has been.