That didn’t exactly turn out as expected. ‘That’ being my life in general.
Since I last posted, my life has changed even more, to the point where it now looks very, very different to the life I was living not so long ago, and I have come to learn that plans are what you make when you live under the gross misconception that you can have some significant control over your life.
But I’m not complaining.
Despite the position I’m in right now – recovering from major surgery and not having a job, dealing with a raft of life issues and having very little idea of what the future holds – I have never known more peace in my life. Because do you know what happens when the really significant areas of your life undergo dramatic changes – good health, jobs, relationships, finances, future goals?
Everything becomes really, really clear. As in crystal.
I don’t meant to say that all of a sudden you ‘get it’, and life makes complete sense, and you can sit back and just cruise along. The ‘stuff’ of life doesn’t go away, the everyday stressors and dealings and challenges and things that just make you cry (like scanning things at the self-serve checkout at the supermarket….), they’re still there. They’re not going anywhere.
But what becomes so very clear is the truth that we can only live with what we have at any given point in time. Where we live, how much money we have, the status of our health, the people in our lives – with every tick of the clock, that is all we know. Nothing more, nothing less.
What we think we can rely on, what we take for granted – it can be gone in a second, with a word, before we take the next breath.
What we do when that happens is what defines us.
And what shapes us.
I am learning to live and respond from a place rooted in love, rather than fear, every day. There are days where I fail miserably – as in it seems that everything I touch explodes in a hot, fiery mess, including me. But when I look for the place of love, the way is clearer and there is peace, even if only briefly. So I keep looking, and keep loving. Rinse and repeat.
My current troubles are nothing more than run-of-the mill life troubles and whilst they have significantly impacted my life, I am more than ok, and without wanting to sound pithy and trite, I am so incredibly blessed with what I have. And yes, there are blessings in the trials, because they’re forcing me to look for the joy in everything. I’m living life as Paul writes in James –
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4, The Message)
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Patience. Persistence. Perseverance.
And above everything, prayer.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” (James 1: 5-8, The Message)
Ask boldly, and believe. Don’t worry.
Easier said than done, I know. But it can be as easy as I choose it to be, and I’m choosing to reset my old, familiar, comfortably predictable ways of worrying over what life throws at me, and stepping out into belief without the needing to know.
“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” (James 1: 12, The Message)
Life, life and more life.
This week I will celebrate the life of a friend who left life here on earth to start her eternal life with Jesus, and the legacy she has left with me is to love Jesus with my whole heart, and to grab life with both hands and love fiercely with every breath I take. Seeing her family love boldly and hope and persevere through her short illness, to stand and defend her faith and their faith in God and His healing in the face of negative medical opinions showed me what it is to choose life. To choose love. To turn from fear and death and live in hope. To live out loud the choice to meet the testing challenge and stick it out, and for my beautiful friend, who was so loyally in love with God, her reward is life, life and more life. For eternity.
That’s the life I want to live. So I’m choosing love and life, over fear and death.
Tell me, how do you face the trials of life when they arise? How do you find love when you’re in the thick of it? What would you do if you had the chance to ‘reset’?