I take it back.
I’m not at all ready to leave The Sticks to return to The City.
…but when it comes right down to it, it doesn’t really matter if I’m ready or not. It matters if God’s ready to take me through it once again, and God is always ready to fulfill His own promises, go into battle with His children, and do what needs to be done. I’m nervous out of my mind and scared out of my wits, but I know that God is not scared, that He’s not afraid, and that He’s strong enough to keep me moving and protect me and comfort me when I’m incapable of doing any of those things for myself.
These last couple of days I’ve really been struggling with pride, and I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: pride is a nasty, icky, yucky, pain-in-the-rear-of-a-thing, sickness that causes me to fall flat on my face and forget just how pathetic I am without God, just how incapable I am without Him. Pride comes before destruction? Well, I was feeling pretty broken this morning when I was reminded of how much of a mess I am without my heavenly Father.
The thing is, I fall into this false mind set every once in a while, where I think that I can do things without God, where I feel like I just have to be perfect: I have to be able to trust Him all the time with everything, I have to be able to be kind and trusting and understanding all the time to everyone, and I have to be loving and deliberate and thoughtful about every thing I do or else God doesn’t love me anymore and I’m a failure.
Anyway, this morning I realized I was doing things for the wrong reasons. I know it sounds weird, but I was being kind for the wrong reasons, apologetic for the wrong reasons, and whatever else that would normally be pleasing to God for my own selfish motives. Good things aren’t really all that good when the person doing the good things is only doing them to feel better than the person receiving the good things…or something like that. Just like everything, it comes back to the heart, to the ‘why’, and my ‘why’ was pretty pathetic.
My mom lovingly reminded me, when I vented to her about being frustrated, that, because I’ve been saved by God’s grace, I can mess up, I don’t have to be perfect, in fact, I will never, ever, be perfect. There will never be a point in time when I suddenly don’t struggle with pride or hopelessness or even fear. That time will come only when I die and go live in Heaven for eternity with Christ. It’s okay for me to fall on my face. It’s okay for me to be afraid. It’s okay for me to doubt, because God is going to go beyond my doubt and my fear and it’s going to be amazing because it’s all about what He can do anyway. I’m just so glad it’s not all about me…I don’t think I could handle that. So I cried to God, realized what was going on, and let His grace overwhelm me along with my own ridiculousness. I just don’t know why I think I can ever really be free or happy without Him. Pride is like a prison. You’re constantly depending on yourself to be able to do things “because you’re perfect and know absolutely everything” when in reality you just want to stop thinking about you and just feel like a mess. I was actually beginning to get on my own nerves.
So today was wonderful. Soccer practice was hard, but it was a great challenge. The sun was hitting all of us like a ton of bricks, but everyone kept moving. At one point my father (the coach) was standing in the goal just as a body while I was standing behind the goal to catch stray balls and such. Well, my brother was bringing the ball up the field with two other offensive players to complete the drill. What he didn’t expect was my father’s sudden appearance as a defensive player. Needless to say, Jimmy was a little bit more hesitant when he came down the field the next time. 😛
After dinner (pancakes, OM NOM NOM), we all took our showers and washed up and I began to work on Douglas’s adventure story. I write one part of the story for him every Christmas, and give it to him when I visit the Brocks for the holiday. I really enjoy writing this story for him, and I love it when he lovingly looks up at me when I visit and asks me if I’ve finished the story yet. I miss him very much.
After a while my mom asked if anyone wanted to play cards. Well, turns out all of us (me, Gracie, Jimmy, and Mom) wanted to play. We gathered around the table, ice-cream pints in hand, a bowl of popcorn on one side of the table, Jimmy and I drinking hot tea, and the deck of Skip-Bo in the middle. As we played, Mom asked Jimmy a question about the army. Now, for a long time, my little brother, who’s not even in high-school yet, has wanted to be an officer in the army, desiring to go to West Point for training. I, of course, am not okay with this. But I understand the importance of joining the military and having pride in one’s country. I’m proud of him for wanting to join, even though it makes me nervous.
The question Mom asked drove me to ask another question.
Me: Jimmy, why do you want to join the army anyway?
He stopped for a moment, looking at the ceiling as if he were thinking really hard. Then, with a smile and a shrug of his shoulders, he said, “Because it’s important.”
And we continued with the game.
I don’t know why, but his response to my question has kind of stuck itself right in my head for the last few hours. I don’t want to sound cheesy or whatever but he’s right: joining the army is important. Doing what’s right is important. Keeping your promises is important. That statement brought about all the things I think of as honorable, chivalrous, and noble. I don’t know why, but it did.
So yeah. I’m a big ball of fear, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t still capable of doing everything He plans. God can do things whether I’m fearful or not, and how glad I am for that, otherwise nothing would ever get done. I leave in three days. I’m not even half-packed yet. I’m very, very, very, insanely nervous. But it’s okay. Because when it comes right down to it, God is greater, and He loves me very much. 🙂
“Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10