I thought when I got back from vacation that I would be able to retain the newfound peace and sense of refreshment...but it's been a battle. Life comes at you with appointments, errands to run, children's needs to take care of, and you're flying all over the place taking care of these things when all of a sudden you realize your heart is racing, you're a bit agitated, and the sunny, peaceful beach days of vacation are long past. You could almost think you have to let go of what you gained. Almost. But I've decided that its mine to keep- the rest, the refreshment, the sense of contentment.
Even though this month of August is the THE month for change, for good-byes, for traveling, for visits, and for starting new things, it is still summer vacation. I've got to make sure I glean all I can out of the sun and the laughter and the taste of watermelon and the smell of sunscreen and sweat. "Summertime and the living is easy" that jazzy song tells us- but it's really not that easy to relax. It's doable, but not easy.
In about three weeks, my husband drives our son down to Kentucky for the beginning of his life away at college. Then a week after that, I fly down to Nashville to visit my niece. Then a week after that, I begin homeschooling our daughter. We have decided to go back to homeschooling her after two years of middle school education at a Christian school. It's going to be an interesting year, and possibly a bit quieter- with our son gone. (No more beating drums and blasting music). But one thing it will not be is routine. Everything is changing. There are more changes I will tell you about. And I've got to flex with it all.
"If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish- His purpose is the process itself" (My Utmost for His Highest 7/28). Now that "calm, faithful, and unconfused" part is a real mouthful. I normally don't major in calm (my husband does). I struggle with being faithful (but my dog, Harry, doesn't). But the unconfused part- well, that I am getting better at. I am no longer dismayed and floored by the changes and the suddenness of how life throws something new at you. This part- life's ups and downs- this part I expect. More than ever.
One life changing thing I learned from reading The Success Principles was to look at problems as an opportunity to learn something. And where there are problems, there's stress. And where there's stress, there's a need for surrender. "If you want to remain calm and peaceful as you go through life, you have to have high intention and low attachment. You do everything you can to create your desired outcomes, and then you let it go" writes Jack Canfield. And he is absolutely right.
But the letting go part is the killer. Acting as if you can trust God to take care of what you cannot is a beautiful expression of faith. But this is not beautiful as in "sittin' pretty". This is beautiful as in the praying, releasing, worrying and then praying and releasing all over again. This is work. This is the beautiful work of the Christian- "letting it go" into the hands of God.
When we let go of what is happening and our expectation of how something should turn out, we can look for the surprise God had in mind for us, rather than the expected Outcome we had wanted. Canfield says it best when he writes, "Instead of getting upset when things don't unfold as you anticipated, always ask yourself the question, 'What's the possibility that this is?'"
So many changes occurred in these last months that I could be very confused about what God wants from me. Or I could view all these changes and problems as opportunities, possibilities. There's always the possibility that God has something different in mind- different than what you were thinking.
I am quite uncertain about what God is doing, right now, in my life. But I am not confused as to his motive and His plan: God wants me to learn to "appropriate risk and uncertainty" (The Shack) and by learning to live with all that I don't know or understand, still be certain of His love, still be completely unconfused as to the fact that he is FOR me. He leads me. There's no doubt about that in my mind. He loves me- there's occasional bits of doubt about that, yes; because there are times that are not so loving and comfortable. But oh, the opportunity to grow and trust Him!