Like most of yours, my summer has been flying!
I was pretty sure that when I posted way back in May that I’d write blog posts every Monday, I could hear God laughing hysterically with other plans. Turns out I’d heard right. It’s been a whole month now since I last blogged. And today isn’t even Monday. So, evidently my plan went all to pot. (Shocker, I know.)
In an effort to get you all caught up on things that have been happening with me this past month (because I’m sure you’re dying to hear), allow me to bring you up to speed you with my abbreviated list of our summer happenings:
- 2nd week of July : We entertained these adorable family visitors ↓↓↓↓
- Aren’t they sweet? Couldn’t you just eat them up? (I should probably mention that they brought my in-laws with them…all the way from across these great United States). Long story short, we had all kinds of fun with everyone the entire week. Life was SO GOOD!
- 3rd week of July: We sent our family visitors on their way (along with my in-laws) and almost instantly became bored with life. It was very confusing. One day we had three dogs and two extra people and the next day there was …just us. I was sure we’d get over it. I planned some things to get us back on track, (but I think we’ve determined already how well things work out when I make plans!) (Did I hear laughter, again?)
- 4th week of July : We trudged through the mundaneness of wide-open summer days with nothing to do. On top of it, I had NO energy. No oomph. Meanwhile, I watched my friends traveling on fun, exotic, and exciting vacations (I know this because I stalked casually observed them on Facebook about every 3.5 minutes). (They were always having fun.) I, on the other hand, was bored. B-O-R-E-D bored. And also tired. And maybe a little bit disenchanted with all things fun. And also all things God. (Yes, I said it.)
And, as is the case when all of life becomes boring, the days and weeks get longer. For the rarely occurring 5th week of what had become a painfully long, boring month, I STILL had nothing to say on the blog. So, to pass the time I guess, I took a seat up on my Pity Pot (which, to me, looks a lot like those five-gallon buckets with a lid) and started feeling sorry for myself. Everyone else is having fun. Everyone else is rich and can take exotic vacations. Everyone else lives a better life than me. (Can I hear a “Debbie Downer” mwomp-mwomp, please?)
Trying to find inspiration, I went back to my blog to read my last post. To my astonishment, very little had changed. In many respects, I was still the full-of-myself older brother of the prodigal son… and I was still missing the party! Though I tried to pray my way through it, most days the best I could do was muster a big sigh and expel the word “God.” (Except it sometimes came out as the more blasphemous sounding “G-a-a-w-w-d,” I’m not gonna lie. It was kind of ugly.)
Still, I kept looking for little bits of light on any given day, even if all I could see was a glimmer.
Eventually (and by eventually I mean yesterday, or maybe the day before), I realized that this whole Pity Pot thing was getting out of control. I wasn’t even enjoying the complaining anymore!
So, I spent some time focusing on that image of the older brother, standing outside the house (or more accurately sitting outside the house…on his Pity Pot, of course!) I imagined the feelings of the older brother, watching the party going on inside the house. And realized this was very similar to watching all my friends take exotic vacations, and fill their lives with joy and laughter. And I found some words for a question I threw at God, Why do they get to have all the fun? (No response.) Why can’t I go inside? (A response this time: You can). I ranted on, Oh, you’d just love that wouldn’t you? It’s bad enough watching and listening to all the fun from here, but to go inside and watch them have fun right in front of my face?!?! No thanks!
It was about this time that I remembered that the older brother’s being outside had been his choice from the beginning. In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father comes outside and pleads with him.
Now I realized not only had I refused the father like the older brother had, but I was starting to blame the father for my being outside as well.
(Oh, goody. I’m sure that story ends well.) (*Eye roll*)
I put myself back in the image and tried again.
I watched the party some more. I finally asked a question that was not about the others and the fun they were having, but about me….Why am I so bored?
And with that question, I felt something change inside me. It is difficult to say what exactly…A softening? A shift in focus? A change in perspective, perhaps? I decided to just accept the possibility– for just a minute or two– that sitting there on my Pity Pot, watching the party going on inside was exactly where I was supposed to be.
And I waited.
And as I did, the evening sky grew dark around me and the party lights from within glowed in bright contrast. The moon and stars looked beautiful in comparison and the birds sang their evening song and the crickets chirped in harmony.
It was a very peaceful image.
I realized I didn’t mind the party at all now. Instead, I felt a little sorry for everyone missing this glorious night sky! And I realized I wasn’t bored anymore. There was nothing mundane about what I was seeing and feeling. I felt calm. I felt peaceful. I felt relaxed.
It occurred to me then that perhaps God and I had different words for the same experience. What I called boring and mundane, God saw as an opportunity for me to rest and relax. I had a choice in the matter: I could fight it and complain (like I’d been doing) or, I could take and accept his gift of rest and relaxation which—ironically–I always complain about never getting.
Something had changed me. I was no longer the hard-hearted fool I’d been before. I was now aware that even there on my Pity Pot, I was loved.
With a new heart, I sent up prayers for those partiers inside, happy for them that it was their time to party. Joyful for them and grateful to God for allowing me this time to sit outside …yes, on my Pity Pot… and rest.
I laughed to myself when I wondered, could I sew a cushion for my Pity Pot ? Maybe post it on Pinterest? I would title it, My Summer Project , and it would be God’s and my joke to share.
I’d forgotten what a difference it makes when I ask God to share His vision for my life’s plan. In this example, with His vision, I understood instantly that my “boring” life was really an invitation for me to rest. I also realized a second truth about my life and God’s plan. This second truth was about my future and some long-forgotten prayers about His using me for a greater good.
And my heart skipped a beat.
And I gripped my Pity Pot with anticipation and excitement (and some fear and trembling, too). Because suddenly more questions come What is it that I need to be rested for? What will God call me to do?
I called my questions out to the night sky.
Not yet, the stars and moon sing down to me. Not yet. Sit a while longer.
And I know they are right. Because… while I may anticipate changes coming, I do not know how much those changes will take of my focus, my time, my energy (my sanity?) So…
And I do.
I sit. And rest. And watch. And celebrate. And pray.
And I thank God for this lesson.
Because if God wants me to rest for something that I cannot see coming? Believe me, I want to be rested.
Because God’s invitation to rest?
Is also an invitation to be ready.