I remember a conversation I had with my dad several years ago. We were in his office at work and I was in meltdown mode.
So what’s new, right?
But I was stumbling over inadequate words trying to communicate the incredible fear that would grip me, paralyzing me inside and sending me into frantic pacing on the outside.
I wasn’t afraid of anything in particular; I was just full of fear of everything.
Suffice it to say that it was pretty maddening.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a picnic for Ann and the kids either.
Lately I’ve been able to make clear contrasts between then and now.
The entombing fear is gone; I know in my head and my heart and my spirit that I have nothing to fear.
Well, certainly some high-grade pharmaceuticals have played their part, but more importantly I have been working slowly and steadily on gaining faith.
Not necessarily faith that our wishes will be granted, or that my mind will suddenly have properly functioning synapses, or even that things will get easier.
But simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
After that, I’ll just let the rest fall into place.
During the last doctor visit, I was describing how I wasn’t really thinking how I would make it through next week, or even tomorrow, but that I was just focused on right now and keeping it all held together.
But that I didn’t feel hopeless at all.
He shook his head and said “But that sounds pretty hopeless to me.”
Again, words were inadequate to try to convey correct understanding; but it didn’t matter.
I know that I indeed don’t feel hopeless; just the opposite.
Full of faith and hope.
For years now I have been beating myself up about Ann working full time and me just working to get out of bed. What self-respecting husband and father would tolerate that situation?
But lately my prayers begin with “Father, I’m so grateful that I’m not trying to fight a job right now on top of the other daily battles.”
The hard truth is that things would be MUCH worse, for me and for others, were I to be attempting that additional responsibility.
Since I’m choosing faith, then the poor pity party must go.
It’s tough, but learning to grant forgiveness for not being the best and instead finding peace with doing my best is a part of that tiny mustard seed of faith.
You see, I can’t rely on my arm of flesh.
Or really be my own man.
Or have the world by the tail.
Being a corporate ladder climber would be great. Bringing home a stable and commensurate paycheck for my efforts would surely be gratifying, not to mention solidifying my place in the pack of great husbands and fathers.
It was something I always envisioned for myself.
He has a different vision and plan.
My job is to make sure that I don’t get stuck in the quagmire of the daily battles and sit down and cry.
Instead, I am strengthened as I rely on His arm of strength.
I find true identity as I choose to be His man.
And I’m filled with overwhelming gratitude to be able to just hold on to that fast-moving tail so I’m not left behind.
At the end of the day, your story isn’t that different from mine.
We all have things we are afraid of.
I hope you can see that you too have the ability to simplify your life and gain that tiny speck of true faith in Him; grant yourself forgiveness for all that “might have been” and grow more grateful for all that “is”; and then get up and go forward.
In the end, I don’t think the point is to arrogantly work to stay ahead of everyone else; rather, I think it may just be to realize that it is by the gift of God that we don’t have to be left behind.
Not in the things that really matter.