Monday, October 25, 2010

Hello, My Name is Sarah...

and I'm a control freak.  I used to say those words proudly.  It was a badge of honor because it meant that I was on top of things.  There was no need to talk about weaknesses or disappointments.  Just brush them under the rug, focus on your strengths, and attack the next challenge with vigor.  Take the bull by the horns.  When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  Never let 'em see you sweat. 

And those are good ideas to a certain extent.

But see, most people can "take the bull by the horns" and attack life with their chin up while still allowing others to see the chinks in their armor.  They can share their weaknesses and their struggles openly with people they trust.  I see my weaknesses as failures.  I don't talk about my own struggles because I can handle it all on my own.  I'm the person who is juggling so many balls (by my own choice, I should add) that she can't let anyone else catch one for fear that she'll lose track and they'll all fall down.

Recently I've been feeling like my life is "on pause".  Everyone around me seems to be moving forward with their dreams and their goals.  And I'm awkwardly stuck on pause.  It's not for lack of trying to move forward.  I've scratched and clawed my way through problem after problem - with a reasonably positive attitude except the for occasional pity party - and tried to find the lessons in each one.  But the last three years have been a series of "one step forward-two steps back" events that have left me feeling beat down and frustrated.  As a control freak, this is my version of hell.  There's no quick answer.  There's nothing to attack.  There's no bull to grab by the horns.  All there is is life.  And you have to take it one step at a time.  And you have to learn to be patient and wait for God. 

I've talked a lot about waiting recently.  Even when we do everything "the right way" things may not turn out like we think they should.  It's easy to talk about faith and waiting on God.  It's easy to put on the brave face and throw your shoulders back with a smile - but all the while you have that anxious feeling in your gut.  You're not at peace.  I'm coming to realize that truly having faith and waiting on God means finding peace when you're in the storm.  Not external peace - anybody can fake it - real deep internal peace that comes only from knowing that you are God's child and he's already taken care of things.  Having faith means not being a control freak because, in a way, being a control freak means that deep down inside I think I can handle things better than God can.  At the very least it means that I think God's plan should somehow fit into my own. 

See, I've always viewed God's plan as something future.  It's something I'll look back on someday and think "wow, look at how that all worked out".  The thing is, God's plan is NOW.  I'm in the plan.  Everything is in divine and perfect order right now.  Today.

In 1 Kings 17 there is a story about a widow and her son.  The country is in the midst of a famine, and she has prepared to cook her last meal with her last bit of flour and oil and then she and her son will die.  Then she met Elijah.  And he asked her for food and promised her that her flour and oil would not run out because God would provide.  And Elijah was right because God provided just as he always does.

Later on in the story the widow's son became sick and died, and she turned on Elijah and asked "What do you have against me, man of God?".  Despite her anger, Elijah took the boy and prayed that God would restore him to his mother.  And God provided.

The thing about that story that strikes me is the widow's response after her son was raised from the dead.  She said,
"Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth."
Did you catch the first word of that sentence?  NOW she knows?  Did she really need the lesson of her son being raised from the dead to prove that God is all powerful?  Wasn't the endless supply of flour and oil enough for her to praise God and be content? 

I think this widow is a lot like me.  I think she was a control freak.  I think that she wanted things the way she wanted them and didn't think that was a bad thing.  She was content to give God credit for providing something like her food, but she was quick to question when the time came for pain and sacrifice.  It took God smacking her in the face with a 2x4 before she understood that God is in control.  He gives and he takes away, but it's all part of his plan.  And his plan is now.  The blessings we experience are from God, and the trials we endure are part of God's plan to make us stronger.  And through it all He will provide.  Therefore, we can be at peace and rest in that promise. 

I would love to tell you that I grasp this idea and that I've embraced it whole-heartedly.  I haven't.  I'm frustrated and a little angry at the struggles I'm facing that no one else seems to have to endure.  But I'm starting to understand why I'm "on pause".  Until I can learn to let go of things and let God be God I can't move forward. 

In January, I lost a dear friend and mentor to cancer.  At his funeral his widow stood up with dry eyes and told us all that she had received so many comments on her strength.  The thing is, she said, that she learned from her husband how to let today's trouble be enough for today.  We can't know what tomorrow will hold, but God knows.  And God is faithful.  So why waste energy worrying about what God has already taken of? 

I decided to start this blog because I wanted something separate from my other blog (One Sassy Chef) where I could write things of a more serious nature.  One Sassy Chef is for recipes, and sarcasm, and general goofiness.  This is about my journey from control freak to whoever I'm supposed to be.  This is a forum to share my thoughts regarding spirituality, books I've read, and stuff about life in general. 

I don't know where this blog is going to go.  I don't have a road map or a plan.  But I do know that I'm no longer proud to be a control freak.  And maybe - just maybe - God has pressed the "pause button" for me so that I can learn to slow down and appreciate the workings of His plan today.

2 comments:

  1. Good insights!! Love you! - Patricia

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  2. It's always easier to grasp something intellectually than it is to put it into practice but you have to at LEAST understand it first! You're well on your way. Love ya!

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