What an illusion perfection is! Life is never perfect, and even when moments, days, or even weeks are clear and mellow, when things appear to be a go for smooth sailing ahead, I should know it is just a matter of time before life’s circumstances come crashing in. Facing those unexpected waves that take all the strength I have to keep breathing, I am reminded that nothing in this world is constant. The tide turns against me and wakes me up to an unwanted reality; God is my only constant, and I need a fresh affirmation of God’s GRACE to penetrate my soul.
I get to feeling so self-sufficient so easily, so quickly without struggles that require all my strength, without trials that test my patience, without relational confrontations or disappointments that make me want to run away and hide. I almost feel that I get distracted by the good things I think I am doing, all well-intentioned but that come about without real thought. I get complacent so that I let my guard down and fail to remind myself that I need to constantly move toward the LIGHT and away from the darkness that threatens my pathway along the shore. There is a relentless battle going on everyday whether I recognize it or not. Bottom line — I live in a broken world with broken people, and I am one of them.
One of those unforeseen waves hit me a couple of weeks ago with full force. I did not see it coming, yet I tried to convince myself that I should have. I felt so helpless and unprepared to face the truth and even less equipped to weather the storm. I had no words to utter, I became unable to act or react, my heart lay bruised. I soon recognized that I had been in this place before, and I did not want to face the agony and heartache once more, much less fight the fear that seemed to be suffocating me.
Any grandeur of perfection left me cold. After the initial shock, my mind went into the usual fix-it mode. I am wired to believe that there is always a solution to any problem; therefore, I need to be a part of fixing what is wrong. Too often, with that mindset, I then become an enabler. The next step in this scenario is that I quickly become very frustrated when my plan does not seem to work. The problem still exists in spite of my best efforts. Eventually anger sets in, and it’s downhill from there. Imagine…a broken person trying to fix another broken individual!
Along the way down, mind games set in: Ignore it and get busy doing other things. The situation is not as bad as it seems…keep pushing it to the back of my mind…it might just go away. But finding no lasting solace in that direction, I try to make sense of it so I can cope. Question the facts…hiding from the truth makes it not hurt so bad. Subsequently, I get a false sense of security and decide I can go it alone. I can handle this in my own way….I just need to work through some of my issues, and then I can handle the hard stuff. On and on it goes…yet the waves may still be pounding, and I am definitely not where I need to be…
I am becoming more aware that feelings of self-sufficiency or complacency actually give Satan an inroad, subtly trying to deceive us that we can do well without that total dependency on Christ. Satan can always hit the mark where we are most vulnerable. He can quietly hone in on everyday life bringing confusion, or he weaves his way into our relationships generating discord, searching relentlessly until he finds the weak link that just might snap or break under too much pressure. When that disconnect happens, it usually sneaks up on me and leaves me wondering why I was not prepared.
Initially, it’s hard to find God in the midst of a chronic struggle or unexpected crisis, but He is the one we need to run to. God is never surprised and is always faithful. Accepting the reality of the situation…the facts…the truth…is a good place to start. Then I have to ask myself, am I willing to accept the fact that God is always with me and that He has a plan for my life in the midst of even the hardest times? So as the relentless waves came crashing in, I was humbled by the awareness that perfection does not exist, that I needed to acknowledge that, and then ask God for His help. He is the anchor I need to hold on to and the One I must trust to lead me through the storm…even when my head is saying otherwise.
Be alert! It is so important to be in God’s Word, to pray, to attend church, to be in fellowship with other believers. But what I fail to realize is that even when I do these things regularly, I am not always CONNECTING with God. For days, the waves may be flowing gently as I walk along quiet shores, lulling me once again into complacency. The need for His GRACE to touch me anew begins to feign away. Nevertheless, it is a promise that His mercies are new each day, and each day is a gift from God. Time with God/Jesus is vital, but it should not be just a ritual or routine I endure and then check off a list. CONNECTING is genuine and total awareness that I am with the God of the universe. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. It is admitting that I need Him, that I want to listen, and that I want to be affirmed that I am a Child of the King.
Lina Abujamra in her book Resolved: 10 Ways to Stand Strong and Live What you Believe, declares, “It is difficult to connect with God intimately without quieting the noise in your heart.” I believe that the noise can be our busyness…frantically trying to complete another chore before leaving for work…one more obligation that you promised a family member you’d do…bustling around to get to one more appointment, one more errand to the store, one more person to talk with, one more… one more… Noise can be the distractions ever prevalent whether through physical sounds or voices within a home, through technology/media devices at work, or in our own minds racing with schedules. Have you tried to get away from actual noise lately? It is nearly impossible. Honestly, I believe that in order to actually CONNECT with God, we must learn to disconnect from the noise of this world.
Staying CONNECTED is also the key to receiving GRACE. Even so, sometimes I need a reminder and God has to get my attention–and that is what happened a couple of weeks ago. After the unstable waves settled, instead of bottling my hurt inside and allowing anger to fester, I allowed God to touch my heart. It did not take the problem away, but I was not alone in dealing with it. None of us are immune to trials…it is part of being human, but we can be more prepared against the harsh waves that are out of control when we CONNECT with God.
Perfection in my world? Not a chance! I look at the cross and see all the brokenness that was nailed there at Calvary, but I look further and see the empty tomb and the resurrected Lord who replaces my brokenness with hope and a LIGHT that will ever burn bright in the midst of any waves that come my way. How is your CONNECTION with God? How did you handle the last mighty wave that crashed in on you unexpectedly? I hope that you allow His GRACE to touch you when you need it the most. God’s GRACE is available to all who ask!
Just Kathy, facing the waves a little more confidently…