Do you remember running through your house as a young excited child and hearing your parents yell “slow down!” or “no running!”? Usually this happened right before you ran into someone, something or hurt yourself, right?
Do you remember telling your parents through tears that you wish you were a grown up because then you could make your own bedtime, rules, eat what you want for dinner, etc. ? And most often they would laugh and come back with something to the effect of “be careful what you wish for”.
I don’t know about you but when I look back on seasons of my life and what I wanted most, with hindsight of what God had in store for me, I see that little girl running through the house again.
Last Saturday I had to cancel all of my plans because my car’s “funny noise” turned into a clunking in my suspension that my fiance’ asked me not to drive with until he could replace what he thinks the problem is on the following Saturday (tomorrow). This is the 2nd car repair I’ve had done in about a month. The first cost about $600 and this one will be about $250. If this isn’t the noise we’re hearing, there will be another bill. Once I kissed him and sent him off to his final day at his old job, I was left to my coffee and my bible, texting those I had plans with to rearrange them accordingly.
It was in that minute, sipping on my coffee, answering understanding and loving concerned messages, grateful that nothing had happened to me while I was driving my car, watching my dog look out the window at birds that I realized something. If this had happened 2 months earlier, I would have responded very, very differently.
Months ago, I would have cried and been angry. I would have turned on my television and sat and maybe called a close friend to vent my frustrations of what had “happened to me”. I would have had an anxious heart and nervous stomach. I would have complained to anyone that would have listened. Steve and I would have counted pennies and shifted shells to try to get my car (whatever the issue is) fixed and back up and running. And it would have been tight for months. I would have worried about how are we going to pay for wedding stuff and upcoming birthdays of people in our lives. I would have cried on Steve’s shoulder freaking out while my mountain of a man stood strongly and silently comforting me. It would have looked very, very different.
In reality, in this circumstance, I am thankful. My heart burst with love for God and his timing. God knew Steve and I needed just a couple more weeks before we could pay for a car repair and take the time to fix it. God knew Steve’s job would be shifting (another thing we didn’t know), putting him 2 miles from my job so we could carpool with no inconvenience. God knew that we would be better off financially and that Steve would have the time to fix my car himself instead of taking it to an expensive mechanic. God knew.
It’s really amazing isn’t it? Here we are, thinking we’re adults and we control our destiny. We are in control of our own lives. But here’s the thing: We don’t have to be and I don’t want to be. I control what’s for dinner, when the laundry is done, when the house is cleaned, all of our social planning and all the tiny little components of each day, week and month for mine and Steve’s life; I don’t want to control my whole life. I can’t see the big picture well enough to make long-term decisions for myself and even if I could, I don’t think I could handle that kind of pressure!
In the few years since I’ve been baptized and really trying to grow and mature in my faith, the number of things I see God’s hand in is amazing! I mean, you think your mom and dad protected you from things? Open your eyes and see all the things God has done in your life and the lives of those around you to keep you and yours safe, grow you as a human and to show His love. It’s really amazing.
When I think back to how many of my prayers started with, “Please God, if You could just help him get this job…” or “Please God, please let (fill in the blank) happen…” I think that girl had no idea what she was saying! That poor girl with no idea Who she was talking to and the scope of His love and Grace! Oh Steph… you thought you knew but you had no idea and honestly you still don’t. But you’re getting there.
Why do we rush through everything? I think we rush for many reasons. We rush through the valleys of our life because hill tops are better. We rush through things we don’t know or understand to get to the things we know or think we know will help us or solve a problem we have. We rush through those awkward caterpillar stages in life to get to the beautiful butterfly stages. But what are we missing when we rush? My answer: Friend, we are missing so much.
We are missing the opportunity for growth. We can’t grow if we don’t leave our comfort zone. We grow muscles by breaking them down and allowing them to rebuild themselves. We are missing the opportunity for truly deep and amazing love. When we encounter challenges, the people we surround ourselves with show their love in the most unexpected ways. Give them the chance to show their love for you and I hope that one day, you can reciprocate by acting in love for someone in return. We are missing the chance to see and feel God’s presence. When we were very young children our parents would linger in doorways quietly and watch us babble to ourselves as we played with our toys. We never noticed because we were so deeply involved in what we were doing. We’re not very different as adults, are we?
Today, friend, I pray for you that you slow down. That you appreciate the opportunity to slow down. I hope that my words speak to your soul and that it’s not just a distant echo of someone in your past asking you not to run in the house.
“He takes us as we are – and makes us more than we ever imagined.” -Neil F. Marriott