I prayed all summer for an answer to a question I didn’t even really know how to ask. Isn’t that how it goes. We know what our ideal is, we know what we want, but we know our ideal really isn’t an option. We know we have to pray for something, but all we know to pray for is a way out of the tricky.
But when the tricky overwhelms us like a tidal wave, how do we pray? What do we pray?
I didn’t know what to pray. Change was coming. Whether or not I wanted to, choices had to be made. Summer would only last so long, and as the fall comes, so comes the crisp wind of change and change brings choices. Choices like going back to school. Choices like getting a job. Choices like making a plan. Choices like making something work, even when everything around you refuses to: finances, people, health, schedules. It doesn’t matter how many planners I buy. It doesn’t matter how many schedules I go over. How many budgets I write out, how many good intentions I may have. I may be willing to move, but I can’t change the mind of those rocks and hard places.
And I was stuck, whittled deep into this place, surrounded by more than one rock and more than one hard place.
I waited for things to resolve. I waited for answers to come from groanings I couldn’t even give word to. I let God hear my groanings, and I let them suffice as prayers. I prayed for a word. I needed a word. I needed Him to tell me what to do. Whatever He said, I would do. Because it was obvious I didn’t have control. I knew I couldn’t do anything but what He was directing. Just tell me what to do, I said. Give me a word and I will do it. Tell me to go to school, or tell me to find a job. Just tell me. I will find the strength. I will figure out how to make it work. Give me big green flags. Give me a word. Give me open doors, give me open windows, I’d even take a small crack. Just give me something!
Isn’t that what we say?
But nothing came. I kept straining to hear. I listened for the voice. For the still, small voice. But no matter how quiet my life got, there was no voice. Not a loud one. Not a quiet one. Not a door. Not a window. I didn’t get a thing. In fact the only thing I seemed to get was a lack of peace. The more I prayed for a job, the less peace I seemed to have. The more I prayed about going to school, the less peace I had. And the less peace I had, the more confused I got.
We are made for work. We have always been made for work. Since the moment God put Adam in dominion over the garden, we became garden keepers. We were made to work, to keep. Our gardens may be different, but the call is the same. Thorns and thistles grew up from the curse, not from our purpose. Work was not always a toil. Work was not always a thing to be wary of. We are made for work. But I couldn’t seem to find peace about it.
And that felt wrong. It felt wrong to not want to work. It’s what we are made for. It’s what I was made for. I was made to be busy. I’ve always been busy. So, how do I justify what I was made for? How do I say OK to the life that includes no job, how do I say OK to the life that includes no school. How in the world do I say OK to the life that doesn’t include either. Hadn’t I gotten all the time I was allotted to be off? Didn’t I need to pick myself up and get busy? How in the world do I say no to a culture that says go. Culture says move. Culture says stay busy. Culture says do more. Always more. But there wasn’t any peace in it for me.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
Its a battle isn’t it? Accepting the peace of God. It is the thing we want most in life, and yet, really what we want is for the peace to line up with what we want. Because I had total peace about going back in. But how do I have peace about staying out? And how do I tell people that? How do I do the thing that people will raise eyebrows at? The thing that seems wrong to them. How do we accept that the peace of God is often counter cultural?
Come to me, all you who labor, and I will give you rest.
I didn’t feel like it was fair. I still don’t. I am tied to legalism. I am tied to should do’s and need to’s. I am a people pleaser. I even please those people I don’t know. So how do I look them, those people, the ones with the eyebrows that go up, how do I look them in the eyes and tell them I don’t think I’m supposed to get a job just yet. How do I tell them that even with only a year left, I’m walking away from school?
Be strong and courageous. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
I do it with courage. There’s that word again. Courage. Yes, I do it with courage. I do it with strength. I do it knowing that my God, my Father God, my Creator God is with me. I do it seeking peace, not pressure. Culture gives us pressure, but God gives us peace. I choose peace. I choose Him. I choose to follow His thoughts, not mine. I choose to let the peace of Christ rule in this heart.
Colossians 3:15 | Matthew 11:28 | Joshua 1:9