Monday, May 9, 2011

the thing about Christian living

The more I learn about this thing called Christian life, the more I think I have it all wrong, and have had it wrong for years. After being a Christian for 16 years, I think I thought I would have the basics down. Or, you know, not feel so fish-out-of-water-y most of the time. I'm not sure what I really thought it was all about. Probably about being perfect and shiny. A model Christian to show up & shame all the other lesser Christians out there (also, ask about my humility). All of that sounds like it is still based on a 6 or 7 year-old child's understanding of Jesus.

But yesterday, as I prayed and talked with a close friend, I had the smallest thought maybe I had it wrong. There I was again, struggling with the same fear and doubt of the future. The unsettling uncertainty of what life brings, and "Can't God just give me a hint as to what is next? Just a tiny glimmer of things to come?" My friend looked at me and smiled. She didn't scold me for not trusting or tell me to "just have faith." She looked me in the eye and said, "Has He ever let you down in the past? Hasn't He always provided for you?" Through my tears I sheepishly said that Yes, He always had provided. "It's that step of faith," she continued, "that He asks you to take. You don't have to have all the details figured out. You don't even have to know what direction to step in. Just step out in faith. He will take care of the rest. He owns cattle on a thousand hills, right?" (This is her favorite thing to point out to me and I love it. She prayed this for me a lot when I was trying to work all my England plans out. She's prayed this prayer a lot for herself and her family, too.) Again, I agreed with her and remembered the times God has provided for me financially. Finally, she reminded me of the "eleventh hour God" that He sometimes chooses to be to teach us faith and dependence. And, again, I knew this to be true. She didn't tell me anything I hadn't heard before, but it was everything I needed to hear again to remind me of God's faithfulness.

After intense moments of doubt like this, I usually feel like I've let God down by not trusting Him enough. This yesterday? Yesterday I felt encouraged. And then I realized that maybe it's not about getting it right the first time (or second or third). Maybe it's not about being perfect or shiny. Maybe it's about knowing where to go, knowing who to talk to (and who to listen to) and listening to instructions over and over again until it sinks in.

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