Friday, December 5, 2014

No Fun...

He got into the car yesterday and slammed the back door. I looked back and saw him slumped in the seat, storm clouds passing over his face, and when I asked, he mumbled something about "race" and "fifth place".

I know he takes a lot of pride in the fact that he is actually quite fast on his feet, something that has given him confidence in his game and his abilities. So it doesn't take much for a parent to figure out that "race" and "fifth place" lead to a very unhappy. crestfallen 9-year-old.

The storm clouds continued to build as we drove into the garage, and they exploded into a thunderstorm when I pressed him on his moodiness.


Sometimes life just isn't all that fun. Most of us probably have fun moments, but the monotony of day-to-day living can cause that spark of child-like joy, that imagination, that playfulness, that wonder to evaporate, leaving a dried up soul in our adult bodies.

We have so many decisions to make. And as we grow up, we realize that those decisions don't matter so much in the moment as they do in the very long term. We live with the consequences of the decisions we made as our younger, not-so-well-informed selves, and we begin to see the world not as a place of wonder but as a place of fear. Danger. Risky. And with every newscast, we learn to fear what might happen instead of embracing what already has.

My husband's aunt and grandmother were in town over the holiday, and Aunt Sally was telling me about a story she had seen on Dateline, where people who were doing their shopping at the mall would come out to their car, toss in their purses and their wallets and their bags, and start the car, only to notice a very real hundred-dollar bill sitting under the windshield wipers. But as soon as the innocent takes a step out of the car to grab the cash, someone else, who has been watching, knocks them out of the way, jumps in the car, and takes off. Car, purse, wallet, bags. Gone. "So if you see something underneath your windshield wipers, don't get out!" she warned me.

My first thought?

Dangit, now I can't even go to the mall anymore. 

Because that instant fear of something happening is great. And big. And massive.

Then I said 'Alas, Lord God! Behold, 
I do not know how to speak. 
Because I am a youth.' 
But the Lord said to me, 
'Do not say, "I am a youth," 
because everywhere I send you, 
you shall go. 
And all that I command you, 
you shall speak. 
Do not be afraid of them, 
for I am with you to deliver you,' 
declared the Lord. 
The the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, 
and the Lord said to me, 
'Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.'
{jeremiah 1:6-9}

I think we all fear something.

Coming in fifth place in the race.
The future.
The past.
Lack of success.
Crushed dreams.

The list could probably go on and on, as we list, either mentally or on paper, all the things we are scared of.

Most of the time (scratch that--all of the time), I let my fear overtake everything else, including my trust in God. And at that point, I find myself paralyzed by worry and anxiety, unable to move or see past the things that are most frightening to me.

Unable to see the beauty of the world. The wonder. The awe-inspiring details of God's paintbrush.

Instead of looking up, I'm looking down, slumped in a posture of defeat, mumbling something about "race" and "fifth place".  This is not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of moment. It's an I'm-D-O-N-E kind of moment.

But youth and inexperience and all the things we think we are or think we are not--they don't matter to God. He's calling us to simply look up, to see His face, to believe His promises, and He'll do the rest.

He will send us.
He will deliver us.
He will give us His words.
He will tell us what to say.

Because He is with us. And he says over and over do not be afraid, because he knows we will be afraid because we are human, And He knows that we need to be reminded that He is strong and capable.

That reminder needs to come pretty often for me.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; 
he will never leave you or forsake you. 
Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.
{deuteronomy 31:8}

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