My sister once read a book which told of a single woman buying a pair of men’s jeans and then praying for God to fill them. This was apparently her technique of praying for a husband. I haven’t tried this, so you won’t find any men’s pants in my apartment. But, there is a bag of baby clothes that is sitting on a chair in my dining room. The bag emerged from the closet during pre-move packing, and I am at a loss for what to do with the contents. I don’t want to move things that I am not using, and these most certainly aren’t being used. But they aren’t the kinds of things that can just be given away. Half of the bag is items that my mother sewed, and the other half is things that I bought for my nephews. There are a few travel souvenirs, but most of the clothing I bought is Coast Guard themed. I have finally let go of the last of my Coast Guard uniforms, so I should be able to get rid of baby and toddler clothes, right?
I have been riding a crazy rollercoaster this week. I can feel that God is stretching me in this season of busyness. I wrote a few weeks ago that I was Learning To Practice What I Preach. God’s lessons aren’t easy, but we are called to “count it all joy.” As the stress of life seems to build daily, I am finding that it is more difficult to let go of the future than the past. The past is done, but the future requires faith. The bag of baby clothes is a remnant of my hope to have children. A dozen years ago, it made sense to keep those things. Now I don’t know what makes sense. But there is a bigger issue; uncertainty is looming over the next couple of months. Some days, I deal well with the stress, and other days I feel I might drown. Whether it is the question of where I will be living next month or what the next decade will bring and whether I will still be single, it is difficult to bear the unknown. It is even more difficult in the midst of new responsibilities at work, an exam to study for, and living with all of the reasons that we so badly want to move. And crazy me, I keep thinking I need to post a blog every week!
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I fear that I will need anti-anxiety medication if I am going to get any sleep in the next two months. Even as I write, there is a knot in my stomach. Just when I didn’t think I could handle anything else to juggle, Friday morning I found a rust-colored puddle in front of the dishwasher. Arranging to have someone come in and check it out, and doing dishes by hand, was not how I wanted to spend my Labor Day weekend. It almost pushed me over the edge, but I guess that was because I was in one of the rollercoaster’s dips. Wednesday I was all fight and facing the challenge head on. Thursday, I didn’t seem to have the energy to deal with it. Friday morning, I was in survival mode, and it took an hour of prayer to let go of the dishwasher issue. God’s faithfulness sometimes shines brightest in the little things; the dishwasher isn’t broken, it just isn’t sealing well.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
I often think of a story that Corrie ten Boom shared in The Hiding Place. When Corrie was a girl, she asked her father about sex. They were on the train together, and he asked her if she could carry his traveling case when they got off. It was, of course, much too heavy for her. He told her, “It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. . .For now you must trust me to carry it for you.” I don’t think Father ten Boom would mind that I have adapted his analogy somewhat. It reminds me that I need to let my Heavenly Father carry the things that are too heavy for me. The future is one of those things. God knows what it holds, but I would likely be overwhelmed if I knew. I can try to carry the weight of all of the worry and anxiety, but the truth is, I don’t have to. God doesn’t want me to, either. As Corrie’s father said, “. . .it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load.” God is a Good Father who wants to carry the load for us. We need to be humble and trusting enough to let Him.
The past couple of weeks, I have to keep stopping myself and praying for God to carry things for me. This build up of stress and anxiety really comes down to worry. If I can trust God to carry my worries and to hold my future, I can have peace. I am catching glimpses of it as I train my mind to leave these things in His hands. He is good and faithful and He has never let me down. He has promised not to lay on me a burden that I cannot bear. He has the master plan for my life, so it’s better to leave the details to Him.