Friday, September 18, 2015

After The Casting

It dawned on me at 3 am that my high school freshman would be missing almost half of his math classes the first three weeks of school due to golf matches.

My eyes snapped open.  A core class, at the end of the day.  He has a study hall right away in the morning.  Could he switch it?  How many math classes could there be?  He plays on the school golf team; who (other than the two of us) failed to realize that there might be a problem with this scheduling?  Is this actually a problem?  Who should he contact?  What will he do?  Should I step in?  He’s in 9th grade; this is something that he is capable of handling.  What is my role here? What can he do what should we do what is there to do?

Several times I tried to cast my worries to God.  “I’m casting this to you, God,” I thought, as my husband snored peacefully beside me.  He doesn’t worry like I do.  I casted my concerns to God over and over, imagining throwing an empty net up in the air (Why an empty net?  Shouldn’t it be filled with ugly, fish-faced worries?  To be fair, it was 3 am) and watching it fall back to the earth.  My strength wasn’t up to the task, and as that net in my imagination tumbled down, I gave up and went back to fumbling with the worries.

I like the image of casting our troubles away.  Instead of trying to run away from our troubles or manage them alone, we throw them.  We play a one-way game of catch with God, and heave them with all our might into his waiting hands.  We pray “thy will be done” and put our faith in him, staying close to him in his word and in our behavior.  In the meantime, we draw closer to him.

Trouble is, our strength isn’t always up to the task.  We hang onto our worries because it’s our habit.  Sometimes we say “Here, catch” to God and in the next moment we forget to sit quietly and listen for him.  Worrying is more active.  Waiting on God is noble and I know it’s the right thing to do, but darn it all, he’s going to fail math and he hasn’t even gone to school a full week yet.


Calming down the worries long enough to cast them away is only one step, just a tiny first step.  The real work comes in the waiting, the discipline of reading and meditating and believing over and over that God knows what is right, that he will reveal what should be done in this situation, that he will do what he promises. 

The real work – where we are strengthened – is not in the casting.  It is remembering what he did for us by sacrificing his son on the cross.  That was an unimaginable plan, one that he made before any of us took our first breath.  He made a promise and when he saw the dear child he made, he didn’t take back his promise to allow him to die for all of us, even though we don’t deserve it.

Our job is not to worry about the things on earth that cause us to toss and turn in the wee hours.  It is to ask God to work in our lives, and ask him what our next steps are.  It is to read his word and open our hearts to whatever it is he wants to reveal to us.  It is to trust that he knows our troubles and exactly what we are to do about them.

God never fails; he always knows just what we need to do in every situation.  After casting our worries away, our work starts.  It always brings us closer to him.

Dear God, Today is a hard day.  Thank you for reminding me that no difficulty is bigger than you.  Please help me to navigate this day.  Thank you.  Amen.


Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Friday, September 4, 2015

Who Is She?

I've had an identity crisis my whole life.

Different times I thought I was an actor, therapist, academician, businessperson, comedian – but I was an enigma, even to myself.  I achieved mostly confusion.

I wasn’t enough of any of these things to be one of them.  An aversion to commitment only served to spin me around in circles.  I was jealous of those who could say “I’m a teacher.”  “I’m a salesperson.”  “I’m a musician.”  They knewI wanted to know.  But I couldn’t settle on one thing.  I didn’t make any of them happen.

I have the unique gift of reading most people really well, but I’m a complete dolt about myself.  All my powers of discernment – seeing who a person is and what they’re all about – stop at me. Ultimately, I have no idea what I want or what I’m doing in the world, nor do I know how I come across, who people think I am.  I just do my little life, twirl in circles, and watch one year become the next, and the next, and the next.  I’m in my head all the time. 

Over time, I’ve become a wife, a mother, a blogger, and other things.  But I don’t feel like any of those things.  I feel like these are just placeholders while my real self forms.  I can prove that I have a husband and children and a blog, but those identifiers are too much, yet not enough.  I’m just… me. 

I believe in God, and I believe that through our lives, God works to mold and form us into the person he created.  We can make our own decisions and become a criminal, a liar, and a thief, but he can use even those roles to point us to him.  Who we are is from him. 

When I start focusing only on my own abilities, God pulls me in.  He shows me with a word, a nudge, or even a setback, that I am here for him, for his glory.  I don’t always show my holiness, and he is always there to remind me of what I possess.  His image.  Who I am, and whose I am.

In high school, my best friend’s mother said that to her when she’d exit the house: “Remember who you are, and whose you are!!”  My friend played embarrassment when her mother said it in front of me, and I remember smiling about the cute phrase.  I wasn’t much of a God-fearing teen, but I appreciated it.  As we peeled out of their driveway, those words settled in and I like to think that they kept us from doing things that we might have done if we hadn’t heard them.

Now, when my kids go somewhere without me, I say it to them.

God made each one of us in his image.  He knows who we need to be to bring him glory.  If we allow him into our lives, he can – will – show us who we can be with his help.  With God working in us, we are even more than we thought, more than we can become on our own.  We are his children, able to do amazing things that we haven’t dreamed of doing.

Knowing who I am in God’s eyes doesn’t always take away my struggle to find my own personal identifiers.  I still want my own seat at the table.  It’s hard to give that up, even though it has held me back from settling in, just being his, and working alongside him instead of under and around him.  We all want something we don’t have.  What I am working on is to just be.  To not worry about or yearn for a name, a title. 

After all, I already have one.