Thursday, October 10, 2013

The End

"...for God gave us a spirit not of fear
but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7

It seems I am in a particularly overwhelming season of life right now. I know it probably won't last long and I'll eventually regain my footing. But for now, I feel a little crazy coming on.

A few years ago, I would have completely folded under such intense pressure (okay, it's not intense pressure, but it sounds better written that way). I didn't think I could ever get it together, that I'd ever get rid of the feeling that I was spinning my tires, or that I'd ever feel confident in my abilities to efficiently and smoothly run a household. (And I admit, there are days I look around and wonder: who exactly is the amateur trying to run this show?). But a few years ago, I only had a small concept of the fact that God is stronger than my weaknesses.

I tend to think of my own personal weaknesses as The End. (I may have a flair for the dramatic.). However, personal weakness is something that I have a hard time overlooking, and the harder I try to overcome (i.e. improve the weakness, make it go away completely, or ignore it all together), the more it becomes a stumbling block for me. Suddenly what was manageable before becomes unacceptable. One of my weaknesses is being inherently unorganized. I'm talking paper stacks everywhere (and not the neat kind, either), clothes thrown at but not in the hamper, random kitchen cabinet doors left open, toys thrown into a pile (that's not all me, by the way), a haphazard filing system. Once I figured out that I could not process my life without feeling chaotic because I was so unorganized (comparing my rooms to Pottery Barn didn't help, as un-lived-in rooms in catalogue photographs tend to be very organized), I knew I needed to and wanted to be more organized. Weakness Identified: Disorganization. Mission: Organization commenced. But I didn't just want to be organized. I wanted to be perfectly perfect AND perfectly organized. I guess I missed the part in Sunday School where they teach you that the only perfect human was Jesus. Becoming organized was manageable. Becoming perfect was not, and the more I tried to become perfectly organized in every way (combing through magazines and catalogues, scrutinizing every detail of how they did it), the more of a stumbling block becoming organized became. That's where I was a few years ago.

Then I read A Confident Heart by Rene Swope.

And I discovered that organization, while a good thing, wasn't really what my heart was after.

I was really after something I couldn't quite place my finger on, and still can't, really. I was running hard after things I thought could give me peace in my heart and in my head. I was after happiness, I was after contentment. I thought that things like being beautiful and being thin and being organized and being perfect could and would bring me to a place of peace and contentment in my life. The only problem was that those things were becoming so important that they became my main focus. There is nothing wrong with being organized. It's a good thing. There's nothing wrong with being thin, either. But when they became the focus of my life, I knew I had gone too far. And A Confident Heart helped me understand how to fill the space in my heart with what could really bring peace, joy, fulfillment, security and contentment: a relationship with my Savior.

See, weakness isn't The End. It's The Beginning of discovering that new life is waiting in Him, where I am made strong by His power, not my own. When I get to The End of my life, I don't want to look back at all the struggle, the striving for perfection, the endless worry, anxiety, and inner strife, only to discover that it was all for naught, that my life meant nothing and The End is actually The End. When I get to The End of the Road, I want to know that my life was well-lived, and have the blessed assurance of knowing that I'm not at the The End, I'm only just at The Beginning.

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