Fear can grow in me when I choose to be present looking at reality as it is, not as I want it to be. Is it a fear of being in the moment? How about a fear of fading into the facts of the current situation? What to do?
Faced with a situation that just IS I can panic and run away. There are more ways to run than I can imagine. I can run emotionally into denial, not accepting God’s way for me, even as it involves a measure of pain. I can run physically away, changing locations or moving. I can even run away spiritually, not wanting to look at God, thinking He doesn’t have my best interests in His heart. Look around, lots of people are running aren’t they?
Faced with a situation that just IS – I can also sink down into discouragement, feeling lost and trapped. I live life from a subdued place of hopelessness, thinking that it will be like this forever. Thinking that nothing will change, I resign myself to suffering without purpose. There is always a purpose to suffering.
Submit to the process. More importantly submit to God’s hand holding me in a place where I don’t necessarily want to be. His ways are good, right, purposeful, meaningful, justified and filled with love and grace. Like a good Father, He sees the end from the beginning. He knows process is essential for growth and maturity. Since when is Christianity all about ‘me” anyway– my desires, my wants, my needs? There are numerous verses that support suffering in this mix called life. Life is kaleidoscope of it all – joy, peace, suffering, freedom, pain, hope, mercy and love, lots of love – shifting and changing as we journey through each season.
Jeremiah was speaking to a people intent on getting out. He said, “Settle in.” At this point, there are very few choices. Obey God, even when you can’t see the whole picture. Don’t fight the process. You will end up constantly stressed and strained in life. Jeremiah did say, “Settle in.” He also went one step further than that. He said “Bloom where you are planted. Live. Love. Grow.” (My words.) Not only submit to God but also submit with joy. Ouch!
So what now? There are three ways that work for me when I don’t want to do what God says to do but I love Him so I submit to His plan. He’s a good Father. So, settle into the present and trust Him. It’s all about seasons. Seasons change and this one will too but there is something to learn here and I don’t want to miss it. I can’t always get what I want.
So, in the day-to-day how do I go about this?
Be present in the moment, in submitting to the way, His way. Don’t dwell upon the ‘what if’s’ or ‘what was’ – look at the ‘what now.’ Doors will open while walking in the present moment. These are hidden doors in the Spirit, doors that open as I mature in wisdom and grace. They are readily available to all of us but many simply don’t see them because they refuse to submit to these times of refining. Jesus encountered many opportunities on His way to the cross – the woman at the well (John 4:7) and the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20), to name a few. His life was filled with a keen sense of seeing through moments of time with the eyes of eternity. At these moments, while in submission to His Father’s will, eternity invaded earth. Be present. Allow Holy Spirit to draw us into the present where creative opportunities await where heaven will invade earth.
Focus on the Way, the person of Jesus Christ during this time. Focus. I may be unsettled but His way for me is sure, filled with light and life. As I walk in sync with Him, like the guys on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), my eyes will open to SEE. Just walk and listen. This is a great time for listening. I don’t settle into passivity, apathy, or inertia. I settle into Him and He is moving in my life. Day by day, He shows me how to navigate the NOW by establishing my coordinates in the Spirit. He gives me wisdom concerning this time, if I listen. He leads the way and I follow. The next season is on the horizon. I keep my eye on it while being present. Time differs for each person. Don’t look at anyone else. Look at Him. He knows that NOW is part of my process into my next season. Just keep walking. Focus establishes hope again and hope does not disappoint. Hope grows and passion stirs in each step of our journey. Don’t run, don’t fear – submit to the process.
Be real. He can handle it. My emotions go up and down along the way. I am not robotic or cloned. I still question, get upset, and cry. Religion confines me to clichés. Here in the now, clichés are broken in an atmosphere where my authentic life is developing. I can’t say what I don’t mean. I say what I feel to a Father that loves me and does not disregard my weakness. In my weakness, He is strong. I don’t like this. I’m not happy. Isn’t there another way? I’m angry. This hurts. I can’t handle the pain. Keep walking. Express your emotions to Him but don’t let them stop you. If they are so intense, just lay down on the floor and let it out. He can handle it. He’s our Father.
There are seasons in every Christian life. In these seasons, we draw deep from the wells of our salvation, giving it new depth and meaning that enhance our life’s purpose in the coming days. I can’t say that each step on this journey has been easy. Just yesterday, I was in a ‘mood’ wanting out, wanting to get away, wanting life to be a bit different. Then after brooding for a bit, I began to worship and talk to the Lord. He was right there with me things changed over the course of the day.
So how long does one find themselves in this place of settling? I don’t have an answer for you. I wish I did. Unlike Jeremiah’s day, I don’t think it will last 70 years. It could be a season of a few days, a few months, or a few years. He knows. Each of us is quite unique and different. Just trust Jesus in the process. The purpose of process is rooted in relationship and intimacy in Christ and there is no formula for that. Be present. Be focused. Be real.