Did you draw the line
In the sand again?
Did you make a stand
Out on a limb?
Don’t be so hard on yourself
‘Cuz you can’t change the world
No, you can’t change the world alone
Just be . . .
(lyrics by Tommy Shaw/Styx)
First of all, thank you for making “Dear God, I’m Tired of Growing” my most popular post ever! Getting down in words the flood of emotions and thoughts I was having that morning seemed to have an almost cathartic effect on my psyche. Not only was it the biggest response ever, I had a great day.
Now, most of you will nod your heads with a shrewd little curl of the lip and say, “Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. That sounds about right.” I know. When I told a few people about the day I had, and that I had the most hits ever on my blog, that was the typical response. And I found this interesting if not a little puzzling.
Why? Not why did I find it puzzling, but why would so few people be surprised at the way things turned out . . . almost as if to say, “What did you expect?”
Is it just general knowledge that “God works in mysterious ways”? Is it a karma thing? Kismet? The balance of the universe? I was honestly intrigued by the unanimity of responses I got: Which begs another question . . .
Why did it take me so long to get to this point?
Or two questions . . .
Why isn’t everybody doing it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about giving up here. I haven’t given up.
I’ve given in. There’s a difference. It may be a subtle difference, but it’s there. And I’m not even sure what I’ve given in to.
Maybe it’s giving in to the pressures I’ve been putting myself under for these last . . . how many years? Not rolling under or being crushed by the stress or the day-to-day frustrations, but just letting them go. Or having them let go of me. Maybe it’s simply the realization that the stress I’ve been under has been of my own doing: with work; with home; with religion. I don’t know, and I may be completely wrong.
It just intrigues me that no one was surprised by the outcome, yet no one seems to be applying it within their own lives or situations. What gets in the way? What stops us from jumping off that cliff?
Is it the worry of what others will think? If it’s a crisis of faith, maybe you worry about what God will think, or what He will do. If it’s an issue at work, maybe you worry what your colleagues will think, or what your bosses will do. If it’s a family issue, maybe you worry about what your spouse will think, or how your kids will react; or your parents.
Those are some weighty issues and I’m sorry that I don’t have a lot of deep, pithy answers for you. I can only give you perspective from the stresses that I’ve heaped onto myself.
If you’ve asked God to lead in your life, you’ve got to trust that He is and that He’s a big enough God that he can handle your mistakes, your missteps, your anger and your questions.
If you feel overwhelmed at work, all you can do is your best, and give it 100%. It sounds cliche, I know. Yet if you can’t get everything that’s being heaped onto you done, but you’ve done everything you can to the best of your ability, you’ve still done your job.
If it’s a family issue, it’s also a love issue. Everything said and everything done, as long as it’s done in love, is everything you can do.
But . . .
What if it’s not any of that? What if it’s the fact that we’ve been living life with this stress, or under this pressure, so long that we don’t even recognize the weight anymore? Or worse, that in a perverse way, it’s become a comfort to us; like an old worn jacket, or snug blanket. We wear it, defiantly almost, like it’s a badge of honor or achievement.
“My life is hell. I’ve earned this stress!”
This is the situation that I think may take the most time and patience; maybe the fine art of timing as well. I believe it’s going to take someone at the right time, under the right circumstances, to speak into your life something so profound; yet looking back on it, so simple and so obvious that you’ll wonder how you never saw the resolution on your own accord.
Life works like that.
Soon, you’ll begin to tell people about how you had to get yourself to point-X for someone to be able to tell you truth-Y and now everything is just hunky-Z. And the people you talk to will probably go, “Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. That sounds about right.”
And that’s okay. Don’t be surprised, after all, they’re not. And so it goes.
Look, nothing’s changed in my life other than my reaction to it; and it’s not perfect. I still get frustrated and uptight. I still get annoyed. I’m still human after all . . . and I still work in retail. But I can start to see it for what it is, or what it just might be . . .
How do I choose to react to life in this moment?
Listen to a little Styx perhaps and “Just be”.