Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Be careful what you pray for.

Note to Self: Don’t ever ask the Lord to help you with your spiritual growth unless you really mean it. Case and point:

In the year before Jonathan and I got married, my personality took on a major shift. I was working 20 hours a week for a graduate assistantship, 20 hours a week at an internship and taking 12 hours of master level coursework, all while trying to plan the wedding of the decade and keeping my body in wedding dress ready form (priorities, right?).

Every second of my day was planned. Seriously, I had to carve out time for showering and eating. This is when my 5:15 AM workout habit began because I had to create time for exercise- time that had formally been known as REM sleep.

The shift that my personality took was one of rigid inflexibility. If something threw my perfectly scheduled day off course I would experience a full blow panic attack. In the weeks before the wedding I was having 2-3 panic attacks a week and could not sleep through the night.

I prayed, and asked my friends and family to pray, for God to help me become more flexible.

In the midst of a 3 week span including graduating, traveling to Houston for my nephew’s birthday party, getting married, getting ready for a honeymoon to Peru, followed by my brother’s destination wedding in Jamaica, capped off by moving 15 hours away to Midland, TX- we found out our apartment would not be ready to move into for our scheduled move-in date. We would be homeless if we didn’t come up with a new plan fast.

So the weekend before graduation we decided to buy a house in Midland rather than rent an apartment. We set aside two days to find our new house. To our HGTV-loving selves, this was a great idea in theory. In actuality, the real estate market in Midland was apparently booming. Houses didn’t stay on the market more than a few hours before they sold, usually above asking price. For property virgins like ourselves, it was a bit overwhelming.

We saw two houses one morning and decided to have lunch to discuss which one to make an offer on (because that’s what they do on HGTV’s “Property Virgins”). We decided on move-in ready (aka no wallpaper) house and called our realtor- but it had just sold. Left without options, we bought our second choice, complete with textured grape wallpaper in the kitchen.

The day we moved in we noticed that the carpets were sopping wet. Apparently we had a slab leak which flooded our living room, dining room, and kitchen and so we had to immediately replace the floors. Did I mention we were newlyweds...AKA broke from just putting our life savings down on this house?
I called my sister to vent and she said, “Well, you did ask for God to teach you flexibility”.
It was worse than someone saying “I told you so”.
And that was just the beginning of my flexibility-learnin’.
I’m not going to lie, the first 6 months in Midland was hard. Flexibility was forced onto me. I had left behind the only home I’d ever known, was far away from my entire support group and living away from my husband half the time (which included my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas- in case you were wondering). On top of that, I was taking on a new role as a wife and working woman.
It was the hardest time of my life. It was the hardest time of Jonathan’s life. It was the hardest time of our marriage.
I realize now that the root of the problem wasn’t that I wasn’t ‘flexible’; it was that I didn’t trust God. I’ve felt so overwhelmed by all the changes in my life, that I had a need to control everything around me. Relinquishing that control seemed impossible to me, so over and over again God took the control away from me.
He made the slab leak. He made the air conditioner break. He disconnected my TV and erased my DVR. He sent me to the hospital 3 times in 1 year. He gave me a job where I was on call 24/7. He took me out of my comfort zone and He isolated me.

The worst part was that I asked for it. The more I fought for power and control over my life, the more he humbled me.
So why am I still fighting Him? There is so much uncertainty in my life that I feel paralyzed with indecision. When do we start a family? When do I buy a new car? Should I look for a new job? How can I decide those things when I don’t even know which country I’ll be living in 9 months from now or if we’ll be moving at all?
But see, it’s perfect. My addiction is control. It’s obsessive planning. Jonathan’s career is my rehab. There will never be a five year plan. There isn’t even a guarantee for a 2 year plan. I have no choice but to rely on God, to seek his plans for my life, and to hear his voice when I search for answers.
I read Acts 16 yesterday and was so convicted by Paul’s hardships when trying to do God’s work. When he reached a road block his first conclusion was always, “God must want me to do this a different way”.

He didn’t get frustrated and throw up his hands in defeat. He didn’t have a panic attack. He didn’t write a bratty blog post to complain all about it.
He changed his direction. He sought God first, above all else. He trusted God. That is the key. It’s the solution to every feeling of frustration, confusion, insecurity, stress.
Here goes nothing:
Dear God,
Will you please teach me to trust you?

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