Life has been a series of ups and downs over the past two years. Those who know me, know the struggles I have been through. While I won't go into detail about each one (I don't want to get depressed!) I can say that I started to wonder if there was some sort of a giant target on my forehead, indicating a landing zone for all of the cosmic crap in the universe!
At the end of my devotions today, the author posed some insightful questions: "Is God trying to get your attention through some circumstances in your life? Is He trying to persuade you to get back in step with Him? (Gal. 5:25)."
His advice? "We should resist the urge to harden our hearts. But let’s instead submit to God (James 4:6-8) and ask Him what spiritual lessons He wants us to learn."
Okay. I can do that. I haven't hardened my heart to God, despite the circumstances that have befallen me, but I need to do more. I need to reflect on what He is trying to teach me.
Prior to what I shall refer to as the "downward spiral", I had a hard time trusting people. I would let them get just so close and that was it. My rationale? If you never let people in, they can't hurt you. I have learned that lesson over the course of my life. Since hurting sucks, it is just easier to keep one's distance. In my mind, it makes total sense, but whenever I explain it, either verbally or in a blog, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. We need people. I need to learn to trust others and let them get close to me.
Along with trusting others is the need to let others help me in my time of need, and to learn to ask for help. These are things that I have difficulty doing. I am the one who does the helping and the giving. I seek others out and attend to their needs. I am not used to being on the receiving end of help. I feel guilty and weak when I have to lean on others, but God is trying to tell me that I need to be better about that.
Have I given everything over to God? I doubt it. There are days when I think I have, but then I realize that I am still trying to hang on to some semblance of control. Why do I fight Him? Honestly. Who knows my circumstances better than He does? Who knows where I have been and where I am going? Not even I can control the future, yet I try to control my daily circumstances, going through the motions of giving up control to God. Obviously He's not fooled. He's probably shaking His head, wondering when I will ever get it right. I wonder the same thing.
I am getting better about asking for help and letting people get close to me. On one hand, it's comforting to share my pain and sorrow with others, but on the other hand, I feel weak, stupid and guilty, always bringing up the negative things in my life. Somehow I feel if I were just stronger, or prayed harder, or were just anything but what I am that things would be different. I am truly trying to learn, though. I want to take my life and hand it over to God. I just keep getting in my own way. I guess I still have a ways to go before the lesson sinks in. If anyone knows a less painful way to learn this lesson, please let me know. Until then, I will just keep seeking God, asking questions, and praying for His Grace and strength.
Peace to you.