Saturday, October 11, 2008

Less Than I Was Meant to Be

And if I had to tell you the truth
I'm afraid I'd have to say
That after all I've done and failed to do
I feel like less than I was meant to be
-- “What Life Would be Like” by Big Daddy Weave

I don’t always handle criticism or stress or correction well, which is too bad as it seems to have been a year full of those things. From sickness to seemingly unanswered prayers (until one looks back, even a bit, and sees God’s provision) to questions about faith to job changes to just, well, life I find myself longing at times for something ordinary. Something right in the middle of my comfort zone, if you will.

I honestly thought I was praying with real, working faith for my husband during the ‘please get this checked out’ in October ’07 all the way through to the doctor’s blunt ‘it’s cancer’ in early March ‘08. Really, I thought I was. I thought I was thinking right, believing right, confessing right . . . doing what I needed to do so the hand of God would move, so His healing provision would be seen and manifested in my husband’s body. As I later called my family to tell them the news, I can still remember tearfully telling my mom as she encouraged me to pray and have faith “But I thought I did have faith.” Right then I wasn’t so sure. And there have been times since then where I wonder if I do or did or ever will. I don’t want to doubt. I don’t want to be faithless. But I struggle with knowing if I’m truly praying with a faith that is going to do something. How can I tell? How do I know before something ‘big’ happens?

My husband did share with me shortly after the report we did not want to hear a word from God our pastor shared with him. The situation we were in was not because of something we had done. And my husband, knowing how I can be, encouraged me to be encouraged as well by that word. So I clung to it. At times, I think my grasp slipped. Then I would find myself reaching for it again like a life preserver in the stormy sea we found ourselves in and holding on all the more.

We were done with the chemotherapy in June. My husband returned to work part-time and then full-time. And just before we were set to go on summer holidays, just when I thought the rest of the year would be smoother, I found out the place I work at was being shut down at the end of September.

Time to look for a new job. And there, God provided again. But there is still the stress of trying to finish up a job that is going on longer than planned so I can start a new one. And I know I have not been faithful or the most diligent in my prayer life, Bible study, ministry, housework, writing and many other things I could list if there was the space and the time. Even as I try to be and to do what God has made me to be and to do, I still feel as if I’m missing the mark. And it’s hard. I’m trying to see the positive, to see where there’s fruit and not get bogged down by dead branches and weeds.

In short, I need to get my focus off of me and more firmly onto Jesus so He can work in me. So I can be what He meant for me to be. It’s a life-long process if I understand it correctly.

I pray for the strength to make it through to the end.

P.S. I just skimmed my last entry. I realize I may be whining and contradicting myself or something . . . but this is where I find myself at this moment. >_<


Andrea said...

*big hugs* It's so hard to see what God's doing sometimes, isn't it? And so hard when we can't see! But that's what faith is all about, isn't it? That whole Hebrews 11:1 thing. I remember I had a friend who always added "Hebrews 11:1" to the end of her yearbook signatures every year, back in high school, and I remember feeling somewhat puzzled by it. It sounded all good and spiritual and like something I should understand (especially as one of the reigning Bible-trivia champs), but at the same time I'd read it and go "huh? I don't get it!" A few years down the road and a few experiences where hope was more necessary and life seemed less certain, it makes a bit more sense. No easier, just makes more sense. :-)

Although not as extreme as some of the stress you've been under (no serious illnesses, for example!), I've certainly had my fair share of uncertainty and such lately, and I find it so easy to slip into a pattern of thinking, "maybe I'm just not being faithful enough, maybe I'm not spending the time with God that I should be [well, I *know* that's true]," and so on, and thinking that maybe if only I got those things right all the things I was stressing about would be sorted out and fixed. I find it SO EASY to fall into thinking like that! But of course God doesn't work like a scientific experiment or magic spell - just get all the ingredients right and do all the steps in the right order and *poof* get the answer we're looking for. I have to remind myself of that ALL the time! And as urgent as my current stressors always feel at the moment, it may just be something that's going to take some time, and a few months or years down the road I may look back and see the method to the madness. Or I may not. But letting me in on the explanation is God's prerogative, eh?

I think we're always missing the mark - it's the human condition, but we gotta just keep trying. And fortunately God is gracious and merciful and doesn't punish us for missing the mark, but just keeps loving us, no matter how we're doing!!

Hang in there, sweetie! God can see the big picture, even if we can't, and - thankfully! - He's in control!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Lots of love and hugs!!!

The Scribbler said...

Thank you, friend. (((hug))) I needed to hear that. :)

Essay said...

It's okay to whine. Really it is.

This struck me in particular, and I hope I can articulate my thoughts on it without coming across as ignorant or rude (bolding mine): I thought I was thinking right, believing right, confessing right . . . doing what I needed to do so the hand of God would move, so His healing provision would be seen and manifested in my husband’s body...

I wonder if real faith is not about our doing something so that God will in turn do what we want Him to do, but rather about trusting that whatever God does, it will be exactly what He wants for us. Even when it's not at all what we want for ourselves. That somehow His will, and His grace, will be manifest through whatever we're going through. Our "job" is simply (though it's hardly simple) to trust Him all the more when we aren't miraculously rescued from our circumstances.

As far as I can tell, you totally did that through the course of your husband's treatment. Don't be so hard on yourself.

In John 11, Jesus could have kept Lazarus from dying at all, and spared Mary and Martha much grief. Instead, he chose to let Lazarus die, then raise him, so that God would be glorified. We'd always prefer the easier, pain free path, but sometimes that's not what we are given. The thing is, He's always there, in the tomb with Lazarus, in the chemo treatment room with your husband.

Jesus said it so perfectly in John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Take heart, my friend. ((hugs))

The Scribbler said...

You didn't come across as rude at all, essay. (((hugs))) And thank you as well for some very timely reminders.

I guess . . . no, I know I have a hard time just waiting and not doing anything at times. Okay, I can sit and watch TV for however long but to sit and wait on God? %-P And this ought not be so.

But we're all getting there, a step at a time. That's why we need to be actively engaged with fellow Christians who are either right beside, a bit behind or a bit ahead of us. It gives us hope.