this straightly winding road

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6

God is the Way-Maker, the Path-Straightener - it's who He is - but maybe for us the key to experiencing that is simply trusting Him. Maybe it's giving up what for me feels like such a natural desire to understand what's going on. I want "the plan." I want to know where we're going, and why, and how we're going to get there. I can be spontaneous (I say defensively) - I can...!

Sometimes I wonder just how long it's going to take me to get it that He's probably not going to fill me in on all that much, and that it's probably mostly because I will try to get where we're going by myself, and that isn't the point.

This is the learning curve my path is currently taking, and in case I wasn't getting it, my friend Rob penned these words this week:

[Jesus] says to us, “Give up your life—give up your plans, your desires, your ideas of how things should be—and I'll give you something better.”

Jesus doesn't call us to stay where and what we are because he's not much of one for staying in one place; he calls us to follow. He calls us to a journey, and a relationship, and like any journey and any meaningful relationship, that means change. It means leaving things behind, and getting new things in return.

And yes, that includes the things of which we say, “God couldn't possibly want me to give that up; he can't possibly mean that I'm not allowed to do that.” In fact, it especially includes those things, because those—whether sinful in and of themselves or not—are the things in our lives that most interfere with his lordship: they are our idols. They are the things which which we must give over to him if we're to follow him; clinging to them is nothing less than idolatry....

And yes, that includes our money, and our careers, and our other family relationships, and our gifts and talents and aspirations, and all the other things that matter to us. He calls us to surrender to him everything of significance in our lives, to do with as he will. This is not the price of his acceptance, but its consequence; it's what it means to be accepted by Jesus, because to be accepted by him is to be invited to go with him, to go where he's going and do what he's doing, instead of going where we want to go and doing what we want to do.

Change. I have such mixed emotions about that word. I love change - I need it. (Hence the ongoing home renovation project, which I hope to finish next week.) I go stir-crazy if I don't have enough of it. But at the same time, I don't like it. I like knowing the status quo. I don't like having it change up on me. It means learning a new set of rules, a new set of parameters. A new way of thinking about things. I wish I understood this paradox a little better. It's right up there and tied in with another major paradox in my life: this crazy wanderlust-filled need to travel paired with a deeply-seated need for home.

I don't know what to do with any of this right now. But it's today's chapter of my story. There is change on the horizon - change I am pretty sure is ultimately coming from the Lord. I am flailing a bit against it right now, trying to find my bearings in what I thought was familiar territory, but suddenly doesn't look quite like I thought it did...

But maybe there are some things I need to leave behind that I have held onto too tightly. Maybe there are new things He wants to give me in return for letting go of my "plan-o'-life."

Maybe this gift He wants to give me is actually a new map - a better one than the map I had last week - the one I was pretty sure I could read and follow without needing to stop for too many directions. And maybe - just maybe - the roads I thought were winding will turn out to be straighter than I thought.


There's only one way to find out.

2 comments:

acupandachair said...

it's always refreshing reading your posts. thanks for that.

josh

Rob Harrison said...

As I'm catching up with things . . . glad to have been of service. :)