Seriously. I wonder how many times I plunge my hands into other hopes and come up with nothing but frustration and dashed expectations dripping off my hands.
Whenever I weave together a plan--God gently reminds me that I am not the weaver. Every time I mope about it and wonder why things don't work out like I wanted them to or thought they should. I look at other people's lives and think, "Why do they get to live in that pretty house?" or "Why can't we buy another car?" or "Why do they get to get on lots of adventures?" or "Why do people support their business but not mine?" and blah, blah, blah
But here's the thing. The looking and the comparisons rake up envy, ungratefulness, and bitterness--it wiggles in me and produces nothing good. Just yuck.
Last week, when everything seemed to just not work, I was feeling lousy. I had a sick baby and was stuck in the house. We had to terminate an offer on a house for the second time due to a very large repair issue that the seller refused to fix. We made an offer on a house that I adored, but then someone else outbid us and we didn't get it. The knowledge that we have no home after May 19th came cascading down on me. And so forth.
And, folks, I wallowed in it. And I misplaced my hope. I hoped in houses and heath. I hoped in my husband being a sounding board for all of my frustrations. I hoped in everything-will-turn-out-like-I-want-it-to.
But after one particularly down day of sulking, I looked at myself in a hypothetical mirror and had a talk with myself.
"Nicole, this is not fun. This is not ideal. Stop looking at everyone else. Stop believing that you deserve everything to work out perfectly. Stop putting your hope in stuff. Stop whining about it. Talk to Jesus about it."
And I did go to Jesus about it. And you know what? How life shifts! The circumstances are the same, but the perspective is so different.
Yesterday, I stuck my hands in dough and thought about those tiny pieces of yeast that bubble and cause growth. Without the yeast, the bread doesn't rise. It's stagnant and flat and unmoving.
And I think that unexpected and bumpy parts of life are a little like yeast. Those are the things that move and grow us--and we have to let them. In the end, they are a vital part of the formation of the bread--just like trials, hard things, etc, are part of story that God works in us because they bring Him glory and display Him in us.
The circumstances are still the same as they were a few days ago, but I feel the yeast bubbling and producing good things. I know that God will weave a story greater than the one I did--a story that I can't take credit for creating. Because even now I know that being thankful for all He has already given me and hoping in Him is truly one of the sweetest and most satisfying parts of life.
And I'll leave you with a quote from Spurgeon that struck a chord with me the other day:
"Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, he can be to thee instead of all. Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of him in prayer. Go to him often, because he is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to him, tell him all thy wants. Use him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a "sun;" if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a "shield," for he is a sun and shield to his people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use him as a "guide," for he will direct thee."
--From Morning and Evening (April 27th)