I am spitting-nails mad this morning!! I wish i could tell you that it was out of righteous indignation, or over some good cause. Its not. I am IN A MOOD. You ever have those days when just everything goes wrong? Just everything. and the funny thing is, just last night i was praying that i would just come to a place in my life where i just get over myself. where i don’t have legitimate anger and possible rage over things that just do not really matter in the grand scheme of eternity. i’m not saying that things don’t bother me, but i so wanted in that moment to not be owned emotionally by things that just at the end of that day make up a hill of beans other than my convenience.
i think that this whole thought process came about on my drive home from work in a torrential downpour and a tornado watch yesterday when there, on the side of the road, was a car pulled over, abandoned in a stream of water, with a flat tire. and my thought was, “whoever that is is having a BAD day. Lord, just help them”. because i know if it were me, i’d be spitting nails mad and probably spewing some R rated language. Sorry, y’all, the four letter expletives are just something from the military that I have yet to be able to completely evict from my vocabulary and I’m just being honest–and i’m working on it. But i did think about that poor soul’s lot and i wondered, more that the obvious inconvenience, what financial burdens did they just likely incur? could i handle striving for a good attitude and prayerfulness (not just the forced ones through gritted teeth) if i suddenly had to pay for a tow truck and couldn’t afford it? clearly, this person was no longer in their vehicle and hopefully because they had a friend pick them up. but what if i was still needing to pick my girls up from day care? what if my girls were in the car with me coming from day care. in the tornado. on the side of a highway. on a partially flooded road. Lord help me. emotional defeat. i knew i would have dissolved. not to mention the money. help me.
i am doing a study on Gideon. truthfully, i started studying Gideon about a year or so ago, so when a new study came out a couple weeks ago, i felt it might be divinely ordained. today confirmed it.
the workbook section this morning is going through the context of Gideon’s day and explaining how Israel had failed to obey God and completely occupy the promised land that God had given them. here’s the thing: they were more interested in being comfortable than they were interested in going after what God had spoken over them and the directives that He had given to them. i guess i’ve been there a time or two in my life, as long as i’m on a raw honesty kick today. they settled for a partial victory. they went after just what made them comfortable, and then stopped. looking at a map of what the Israelites occupied against what God had called them to occupy, well, the square miles appear to be roughly half. they were living, in many ways, at half capacity. at half the promise. half the calling. half the blessing. half of the life. Lord, save me from it. because, truth moment number 3, i feel like that more days than not. i look at my life and not only is it too much for me (not a bad thing if God is the One calling me to it and seeing me through it), but i feel like i am mostly dropping the ball.
the other lightening bolt moment from the study last night was something the teacher (Priscilla) said about safe Christianity. without belaboring the point, i’ll just state that i am coming out of a point in my life where i lost everything but my children. literally. part of it God took and part of it i had handed over because of my own sinful decisions. talk about not occupying your promised land; i handed the thing over. $300,000 home to living in a townhouse basement sharing a twin bed with two babies. sometimes i slept on the crib mattress on the floor. ok, so that one is actually a little funny to me now because i know it must have been a sight to behold since i am a gangly thing. in context of all of that rabbit trail, Priscilla talks about how we want to be Christians who pray for a miracle, who pray for the Holy Spirit’s powerful work in our lives, while in the same breath we ask that we not be put in situations that would require a miracle or the power of the Holy Spirit. that got to me because it is actually something He has been very clearly teaching me about over the past year. He has so miraculously provided for us in ways that are too numerous and complicated to just simply list and it has blown my mind. simultaneously, He has also been producing more fruit in my life than there has been in years and some really amazing things have happened. I live so tight on money that I have had to go to Him more times i can count to provide things. but that’s the neat thing, i do not rely on myself because i can’t. that was taken away from me. and every time i am tempted to pray for things to be easier in my life, He reminds me of the gift of difficult circumstances and the glory He has shown to me through hard times, and He is so much more precious to me for it.
by this point, if you are still reading, i am sure you are asking what in the world this all has to do with Gideon. i do have a point here y’all, and i’m nearly getting to it. 🙂 so one more contextual tidbit: my job. it sucks. 🙂 its not a bad job and Lord knows it is better than being unemployed and the job really was a blessed answer to prayer, but i am tempted to loathe the humility of it because i miss feeling important and smart and competent. and the pay sucks. lol ok, so here is the thing. i am desperate to seek after God over my ambitions because, well, truth confession #4, i haven’t always done that, and i screwed a lot of stuff up. so i have been taking this job situation and praying over it: “Lord, please provide either a job that pays better so that I can provide more of the basic needs of my kids and possibly finish my master degree i got halfway through (so i can get a better job) or, do something wildly better that I have not even considered.” Apparently He is choosing option B. What is option B? drumroll please…….I feel like He is telling me that I am right where He is calling me to be. secretarial position and all. I’m sorry, I just, I mean…what? no no no. i have a biology degree. I have been to war. i have commanded hundreds. and have devised battle plans. i have airlifted tons of cargo, fleets of aircraft, and teams of trained warriors into remote terrains and austere environments. come again? You know what the God of Heaven, Creator of the Universe, whispered to me this morning in my quiet time? Occupy where I have placed you. Occupy it fully.
I don’t want to. it isn’t comfortable.
So why am i so mad? well, in that moment when God seemed to so clearly be directing me to be where He has placed me for this season and just let Him be God in my life, i put on my Church Lady Face and bowed my head and said “ok, that’s ok. i think i’ve been doing that because i am working really hard at my job and taking the criticism constructively and i mean, really, what else is there to do in a secretarial position in order to do a good job than that? right?” I didn’t realize i had just issued a spiritual challenge. apparently, i did.
i felt thwarted from the moment i got up this morning. i have to get up at 5 am in order to both have a quiet time AND get kids and myself ready for the day. and my quiet time is my lifeline. the past two days, the kids have been waking up at 5:05am. expletive. oh my goodness. yesterday i was like “oh ok”. this morning? rage. but it’s ok, right, because i just stuffed it down in side and was sweet to everyone else, so thats ok. partial victory. well, we get out the door with the normal morning dramatics and fights and cajoling and tears and screams and final laughter. toddlers have taught me that the most potent form of physical pain existent on this earth is, in fact, getting dressed. every morning. Lord, help me. actually, despite the haphazard quiet time shoved into 8 minutes (thank you, roommie for arranging that into the chaotic morning) and the normal morning mess, we actually made it out of the house on time. sweet–this morning is redeemable because i will get to day care on time. which, we did. 🙂 and then, miraculously, traffic was mostly non-existent. I was going to make it to work earlier than i can almost ever make it in!!!! YES! you do not even know what this means to me, because in this job i am hourly paid and the earlier minutes i get in, the earlier minutes i can start my weekend. elation!! not to mention i’m feeling really good from the audio Bible study i listened to after dropping the girls off. i feel GOOD! partial victory.
then, it happened. i went to pull into the gated parking lot and there was a car sitting at the gate because, well, i’ll just say it: the busted piece of crap gate swipe thingy is a piece of crap. it is literally mostly in some form of pieces with its wire guts hanging out. today was no exception. i had immediate irritation. that’s ok, if they get the thing working in just a minute or two, i can still clock in a couple minutes early. ok, honesty confession #5, it has now become a personal competition with myself and my circumstances because i have been feeling like i have been knocked down repeatedly. I usually clock in a few minutes early at 7:40ish. today i was going to get to swipe BEFORE 7:30. if you know me, you know that i can be inordinately competitive–but most often with myself. unless we are playing board games. then it is life or death. after sitting at the gate for about ten years i finally turned around and go park up in patient parking, which might just get me a ticket. by this time i am all out enraged and i pull into my new spot just in time to look down the hill and see the gate arm raise and the line of vehicles trickle through. you are kidding me! i was going to have the viable excuse to tell HR that i was physically unable to park in my designated lot, now i am just screwed and too mad to do anything about it. so i decide on my half run half stomp upstairs that i am just going to spend a few minutes in the Bible and clear my head and heart before diving into the day. partial victory turns to partial defeat. and as i bound up the stairs, my anger intensifies because i feel like the company who nickles and dimes my time has just cheated me out of ten minutes of pay because their crappy equipment, which i have half a mind to go light on fire just so that they have to replace it. and i find myself screaming into the empty stairwell that i do not get paid enough to deal with this kind of mess, or something like that…partial defeat turns to total defeat. when i got to my desk, i went into the bathroom to wash my hands, still in a rage, only to have the water that poured out, into my cupped hands be MUDDY. not discolored–mud! and in that moment, when i most wanted to go postal, the Holy Spirit whispered “Eternal value. it isn’t worth it, Sarah. it isn’t worth losing yourself. occupy what I have laid before you victoriously. don’t hand it over to the enemy.” He was right. and in a moment i realized, it isn’t JUST about the job or the money or my mothering or any other of the circumstances or responsibilities He has given me. it is about who i am and who He is making me to be through them and in them. I’ve had that head knowledge previously, but for what ever reason, this morning, it sunk in deep and it broke me. God, I don’t want to do this thing halfway anymore. I don’t want to be so easily derailed in in my heart and mind. Please help me to fully occupy this life that You have for me. Occupation is hard work. it is not passive. it is a fight to the death. someone will die. i want it to be fleshly Sarah, not the Sarah God has promised and that He has designed for me to be. let that Sarah not be the one who perishes.
Luke 17:33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
Lord, i want to do this thing. I want to occupy my promised land and not wallow in my comfortable, self-created prison. miserable. because i know down to my marrow that i’m missing something and that things just aren’t right. so i try to satiate with things that will never satisfy and only leave me emptier. i want to fight for the better that He has prepared for me. Lord, help me.