He Wasn’t Joking

I finished 2013 by reflecting on the year – giving thanks for the joyous moments, crying over hopes disappointed, and prayerfully looking forward.  As I looked forward I sensed God was calling me into a season of learning freedom in circumstances.  When troubles strike, I often find that I struggle with doubt.  Some days I feel as though God doesn’t see me.  Other days, that he doesn’t care.  I (mostly) know that this is not true.  Yet, there are deeper parts of my heart that struggle to really believe that’s true some days.  The truth of my doubts has come to the surface this past year.  Anything good I take as proof that God cares for me, but anything bad confirms that he has forgotten me.  So, to learn freedom in circumstances is my “growing edge” (ugh, I hate the term, but it really works in this moment).

So, 2014 is starting off pretty well.  I’m feeling freedom amidst the realities of my life.  I signed up for an improv class.  I felt more hope in general.

Then, my car broke down.

Fill in expletive of choice here.

Background on my car.  Starting a little over a year ago, my car has had expensive fix after expensive fix.  So much so, that I’d decided in November that the next big fix would be my last.  Saturday night I was driving home from my brother’s place when my car just stopped.  While I was driving.  There weren’t any cars around me and my brother drove over and helped me out, but still, it was a growing reality that this was probably another expensive fix.  Which means, time to sell the car, which means, time to buy a new car.  Which means spending money I just don’t have.

And I responded joyfully and full of trust.

Oh wait, this isn’t a fairy tale.  No, I stressed out and spent a couple of hours tossing and turning in bed, ruminating on the worst possible scenarios.  It’s amazing how imaginative I can get in those moments.  I’ll get a used car, empty out my savings and then the car will break.  And I’ll have to have expensive dental work done (because I have a dentist appointment this month).  And I’ll be stuck at my house, because I won’t be able to afford to drive anywhere.  And on top of that I’m still single.

Clearly, my Sunday was full of anxiety and tears.  In the midst of my emotions, I was reminded by God that I am not alone.  I have an incredibly supportive family and they wouldn’t let me end up on the streets (not that I’m anywhere near that reality).  I have friends who love and care for me.  Um, and there’s God himself.  I so often jump into fix it mode when anything goes wrong.  It takes me a while to recognize when I need help.  And then I actually have to ask for help.  God nudged me to lean into the help of others.  So, I asked for rides from friends yesterday.  I posted on Facebook asking for any deals on a car.  I cried in my mom’s arms when she told me her and dad would help me out (both in finding a good deal on a car and with money towards one).

Today it occurred to me that God wasn’t joking when he spoke of freedom in circumstances.  He is actively at work on my heart and I am learning a bit more that he can be trusted.

Autumn: The Chestnut Gatherers

By Georges Lacombe, on display at the Norton Simon.

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