A Lack of Faith.

Vince’s challenge yesterday made me rethink some things.

I’ve already come to realize that there are a lot of things I need to change perspective on. But I don’t need to let God turn my life upside down; God has turned my world upside down several times since my husband and I moved to southern Massachusetts and started our lives at St. Paul’s. 

Over these past few years, I’ve often felt discouraged. I’ve often felt like God takes every little plan, every dream, every aspiration, every little possibility that I’ve wanted to pursue, and tears it to shreds. Sometimes it seems like God’s challenging me to try and do something, just so it can get torn up again. It isn’t hard for me to think that God will take my plans and my dreams and turn them upside down.

But, obviously, this doesn’t mean that I’ve arrived at a good place as far as that goes. My expectations of God and his ability to turn things upside down have an underlying problem: I think God’s out to get me. And I think God finds me insignificant in the broad scheme of things.

In some ways, this can be traced back to a lack of faith.

First, I have a lack of faith in God. I say I believe his Son loved everyone in the world so much that he died for us. I say that Jesus cares, that he listens, and that he answers prayer. But sometimes that becomes lip service, where I say these things, but when it comes down to it, I doubt, and I accuse.

Second, I have a lack of faith in God’s vision for me. It’s like God finds some problem in my aspirations every single time, and he keeps cutting me down to size, just to remind me that it’s useless to have goals or dreams.

Both of these problems have an element of truth and basic humanity in them: it isn’t wrong to express or feel doubt, and it isn’t wrong to acknowledge our futility and weakness apart from God. But there is a problem when our doubts dictate our relationship with God, and when our self-defeat paralyzes us, spiritually and existentially. 

It’s true that outside of God, my goals are useless. But I need to trust that this is because God’s goals for me are bigger and they are better.

For instance: I used to think Jeff and I moved to the area so I could go to graduate school. Now, several years after the fact, I can see that we moved here because of St. Paul’s. St. Paul’s is a church family that has loved, supported, and helped us grow as people, and it put us in a position to serve others and spread Jesus’ love and message. And that is important. While graduate school is fine and everything, and while things like master’s degrees and PhD’s are impressive to the world, they pale in comparison to the things that matter to God.

In the same way that Mary’s expectations for her own life paled in comparison to becoming the mother of Jesus, my plans for my future are nothing compared to what God has planned for me. And I need to trust Him on that. I need to believe in His grace. I need to put my faith in Him.  

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