Life Happens

At the beginning of the year, I made a decision that I was going to post on this blog weekly if at all possible. Here we are, not even two months in, and I have failed miserably. The last post was two days late, and now it has been two and a half weeks without a new one.

I could make all sorts of excuses. Truth be told, last week was the busiest I’ve had in months, and I ended up on antibiotics for sinus and chest infections. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to think straight, let alone write coherently when it feels like your brain is full of mucus? Sorry for those that just got the visual!) I feel like I’m now miles behind in everything I’m doing because of how last week went.

That’s life though. I could sit here moaning about how much I have to do, and how I’ve failed so terribly at one of my goals for the year. I could lament that my flat is a mess, and that I still don’t have the energy or motivation to accomplish everything that needs to happen.

OR I can give myself grace, and do what I can. Instead of wasting the energy I do have by moaning that I don’t have more, I can use it to get a little bit done at a time. I can take a nap when necessary, and then get back to work. Eventually, I will catch up on the tasks. And eventually, life will get in the way again.

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” – Murphy’s law

I don’t know who Murphy was, but his law seems to hold true sometimes, most often at those times when life seems the craziest, when you really don’t have time to hang out with Mr. Murphy or his law. And yet, life goes on. We make it through the craziness, dig out from under all that is dumped on us, and reach a place where we can breath freely again, figuratively (and in some cases literally too)!

I’m tired. I don’t know how much I’ll get done today, but it’s still going to be a good day, a productive day even. Blog post, newsletter, writing assignments, cleaning, preparing to teach youth, etc. It will all get done. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.

Life happens all the time. It’s good, it’s hard, some might say it’s bad. I hope that whatever it looks like I remember to give grace – to myself and others. I hope I can wave at Murphy and smile when his law throws a wrench in my plans. I hope I can remember that my failures, big or small, don’t equal the end of the world, and that life will continue to happen regardless of my to-do list.

The Promise Keeper

Recently I was thinking about the promises God has spoken to me. Some have been fulfilled rather quickly, like my move to Ireland. The thought of coming here for a time was planted in July 2013. By September of that year, God had said yes, and about 6 months later I stepped off the plane in Dublin.

Then there are others like those I mentioned in the last post. Those things that have been growing in my heart for years, just waiting for the time of fulfillment. Sometimes it’s easy to think I’ve heard God wrong, or screwed up in some way that makes the promises null and void.

During a fairly recent moment of uncertainty, God reminded me that His promises aren’t conditional – unless conditions are clearly stated up front. They are not contractual agreements that we enter into; they aren’t accompanied by terms and conditions or a ton of fine print.

As He often does, he used a movie to illustrate His point. This time it was Field of Dreams. I haven’t seen the film in years and I remember very little of the story, but the line that came to mind will likely be in my head forever. “If you build it, he will come.”

It struck me that all too often that is how I look at God’s promises: if I do all the work right, God will come through and deliver what He has promised. This could not be further from the truth. God is faithful even when I am not. When I lose hope or stumble in my pursuit of His best, He doesn’t withdraw the gifts and promises He has extended.

I don’t have to “build” anything in order for Him to come through for me. He is the builder, and I enjoy the privilege of being a part of the process. This doesn’t mean I can skate through life with no care for doing what He has called me to do. However, it does mean I don’t have to be so paralyzed of missing a step along the journey that I never go anywhere at all.

Not all promises come without terms and conditions, of course. There are if/then statements throughout the Bible, and God is well within His rights to make these kinds of promises. Some of the promises God has made me involve action on my part. He is not going to zap me skinny or snap his fingers and drop a finished book in my lap. These are goals that require me to do very specific things, but God has promised to honor my efforts and help me see results as I am diligent in doing my part.

The danger I have seen in myself as of late is to apply conditions to everything God has said. If only I do this right or enough of that, maybe God will see fit to keep His word. At the root of this belief is the oldest trick in Satan’s book: “Did God really say…?”

The question of God’s character is at the center of this struggle, and unfortunately there are many “character witnesses” that will try to tell us God is holding out on us. I can assure you though that this is not the case.

Sometimes I lose my focus on the God I know and love. In those moments, I begin to look at myself, my own character, and wonder how God could ever trust me with the things I believe He has promised. I begin to wonder if God really said… The remedy for this is always to refocus my vision. The fulfillment of God’s promises has everything to do with His character, and very little to do with mine.

I hope I am a worthy vessel for all that He wants to pour in and through me, but it’s still all about Him.