On Spring & "Gracious Uncertainty"
I walked in the sunshine this morning, as the patchwork red rash it left me with burns on my neck and my nose. Worth it? Of course. Spring has been too long coming in our sleepy St. Louis town - a spring that I have simultaneously dreaded and delighted in its coming. It means new and change, it means marking everything we own by room and taping it all up in brown boxes and shipping it to another new place, to be painfully unloaded, arranged and rearranged, debated and hated and loved all over again.
I don't want to be painfully unloaded, arranged and rearranged all over again, like a portrait on a wall.
She looks best here, don't you think?
Oh no, the light is so much better over here.
And on and on again forever and ever it seems.
As this type of change is apt to do, it has flipped my anxiety switch to "high alert," feeding my frenzied mind with fear. Nothing is secure, everything is threatened. The strongholds I've created in this place will fall, and we'll pick up the pieces again. Who will we be in this new town? It feels like with every bounce these last few years, we're torn down to the foundation, and slowly built back up. I don't want to do that again.
I wind up tight as can be . And then fear spins me out, and I grasp for the tiny thread to pull me back.
It's a yo-yo, spinning in-and-out of my safe little shell.
Fear unwinds me.
It unravels these gorgeous golden threads that hold together my days - husband, cat, friends, love, food and exercise and all good things can unravel in an instant when my mind flickers to "what if?" and "why not?" and all the good is gone, replaced by the too-familiar hole in my stomach and rhythm of my raised heartbeat.
Fear is an ugly friend, and a worse enemy. It allows me to keep everything at arm's length, because what if?
I suppose one day I'll look back at this season and laugh - and say, as future me sips a glass of much better red wine than I can afford to drink today, how silly I was to worry away these moments instead of enjoying them.
But right now, I can barely stomach the idea of unpeeling another layer of me and of us, to figure out who we are and what we mean and what Mexican restaurant is the best in another new town.
I stumbled on this the other day, from Oswald Chambers. It's long, but nothing has captured the spirit of this season quite like this. It is my heart, my prayer - and my hope.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.
We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.