"The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you."
-Philippians 4:9

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rude Awakening

5:20am. It's a full 25 minutes before that annoying alarm is set to jolt me into a new day. My husband saves it the trouble by shaking the whole bed as he startles awake, panic-stricken that he's missed the alarm, and demanding to know what time it is. Um, it's 5:20. *sigh* He dozes right back off, and I'm left, heart pounding, restless, and unable to relax until about 30 seconds before...the stupid alarm does it's job.

As he was showering and I was preparing his work clothes for the day, my attitude stunk. Why is it MY responsibility to keep up with what time it is? (um, because I took it over. Dan's more than happy to have the clock on his side of the bed, but he will let that alarm buzz until he's darn good and ready to shut it off. I smack it after the first buzz so it won't wake all the kids, too!) HE can drift right back off; while he sleeps and tells me to snooze the alarm, I lie there desperately trying to still my mind and body to get that missed rest. Why am I here ironing his stinkin' costume? Why didn't he get it set out and ready last night? Because he, like the kids, knows that if they don't, I'll step in and make it happen. I'll get everyone to practice on time, I'll make sure the pantry is stocked, I'll serve meals and wash clothes, I'll chase runaways and administer discipline, I'll think for everyone so they have what they need when they need it and know where to find it. I don't think anyone really wants me in the family for who I am, but for what I can do for them so they don't have to. Gripe, complain, martyr, poor me. And I just *know* the kids are going to be up early again. (they were)

The more I complained to myself, the more sour my outlook for the rest of the day became. And it hasn't been helped by the previous few days. It's been a bit of a ride around here lately. But, in the back of my mind, something - or Someone - started niggling. Really? You don't like to be taken for granted? You don't like to be just expected to be there at everyone's beck and call?You'd like your service to be a freely offered gift rather than a demanded duty? You'd like to be known for who you are rather than what you can do? You don't want to be ignored until somebody needs something? And you'd like to be appreciated whether you lifted a finger in service or not? Just because you're a person of worth?

I absolutely stopped short. My last post was full of praise for a Lord who answers panicked, crying-out prayer. And He does. But what if His answer had been "lean on Me to survive the tragic death of your baby boy who ran out into traffic." What if it had been "I am still a good and loving Daddy even as your family goes through the storm of a court trial and foster care placement." What if He had said, "I am Sovereign, Almighty God and will watch over MY CHILD even though you have never been able to find him." What if? Would I still praise Him? Would I lift my hands in worship if my worst fears had been realized? Would I love Him for WHO HE IS rather than what He did for me?

The Scripture says that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I've often heard that used to emphasize looking past racial boundaries, cultural differences, dress, hygeine, class or education differences. But it's also about looking past what people do to who they are; past what God does to Who He is. There's a line in the movie Batman Begins that says "It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." And it is true that who you are is often manifest in what you do. But man looks on what God does (in our weak and incomplete perception of what He does) and seeks to define Him by what we see Him do rather then by Who He really is. If we don't catch what He's doing, if we don't see the whole plan unfold, if we miss the details and only define Him by our perceptions of His distance, His deafness to our pleas, then we define Him incorrectly. We miss "who He is underneath;" not because He seeks to hide from us, but because our vision is incomplete, imperfect, focused on our own expectations. And we fail to praise Him; sometimes we go so far as reviling and rejecting Him. All because we define Him by what He does rather than Who He is.

4 comments:

  1. Ah, thank you for typing this, Becky. I miss your words of wisdom and your ability to make things clear that come across as cloudy. I've never looked at that verse from that angle before. I once heard a fabulous sermon that I can't remember at all except for one point -- do we trust in God's hands, or do we trust in His heart? How His heart beats for us whether we see His hands move in the way we want or not.

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  2. WOW. What a gift you have.
    We were just singing "You are God alone.... in the good times and bad..." as I stood there with tears streaming down my face thinking of all that goes on around me and IN me...some pretty bad stuff...He is still God and oh my how glad I am that He is.

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  3. I love you. I miss you.
    Thanks for chatting this morning.
    Even from hundreds of miles away you help keep me on track. It amazes me how our minds seem to be on the same track.
    David & Jonathan???

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  4. Love this. Your grumbling thoughts echo what mine so often are. Convicting. Thank you so much.

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