Are you stuck?
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3: 20-21
Are you feeling like everything in your life is spinning all around you, and it’s all going so fast that you can’t reach out and control not one single element of it all? I’m telling you: I get it.
Seasons of life can be so unpredictable and so much of it really is out of our control. That can be such a horrible feeling when we know how intelligent, creative, strong, and resilient we are. It begs the following questions: If I’m so awesome, why are these things so hard to control? Why am I so depressed? Why is my anxiety constantly getting the better of me? Why aren’t my children listening? Why is my spouse grating my nerves so badly? Where did I put my motivation, and what do I do with it when I find it? WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON?!
Life changes can increase the intensity of these questions, and the bigger the change, the faster the spin seems to be.
My 19-year old daughter has finally left the nest to start her own journey through life – without me! While I can’t say that it was too soon (it was quite overdue, actually), the void she left in my heart has been emptier than her bedroom was before it was transformed into the office I’m sitting in right now. Of course, I know it’s time for her to fly, and I also know I have to let her. We are close, though, and not hearing her sing through the house every day is almost more than I can stand some days. In this transition of life, all other parts of it just began to spin.
I no longer knew what to do next. I had no idea just how much of my mind and heart my child occupied while under the roof with me. The talks, the laughter, the arguments, the snacks we shared while everyone else was asleep, the borrowing of make-up or nail polishes, the tears, the joy, the struggles – all gone. What was I supposed to do to fill all the space these things occupied? Who is going to catch her if she falls too hard? Who is going to help her avoid so much of the pain and uncertainty of this life? Who is going to mother-hen my child?
These questions led to God using book shelves to bring it all back into perspective.
My daughter and I are both avid readers, and while our tastes in literature differ, there is a little bit of crossover. While helping her clean the books out of her room, I found some titles she no longer wanted but was happy to let me add to my own living room library. Of course, this meant that I would have to reorganize the whole thing since my OCD simply wouldn’t let me just add them to the shelves and call it a day. As I was finishing up, my husband walked through the room, and I asked him, “What do you think?”
“About what?” he asked. “I just reorganized all the books and décor on all of these shelves,” I replied in shock that he didn’t notice a difference at all. “What difference does it really make?” he asked. “It’s not like we can actually move the furniture around or anything. The layout of this house is crazy, so we’re stuck with everything the way it is – FOREVER!” Now, my first thought was not very kind at all, but on the heels of this unpleasant thought, I heard a whisper: “Bloom where you’re planted.”
While I have this statement on a cute coffee cup, it was suddenly not cute or inspirational. It was absolute truth! So what if we were silly enough to buy a ginormous sectional sofa that can only go in the room one way? So what if those book shelves can only be where they are until we get rid of them or change houses? So what? Why can’t I change what I CAN change? Why be so focused on the weight and magnitude of the depressing big picture when I can find joy in the creativity God gave me and let Him handle the things that are completely out of my control – things like my precious adult daughter whom I love with my whole being.
No, I can’t move the sofa, the book shelves, or the television. I can put all my books in order by subject matter and go even further by making sure they are in alphabetical order. I can also rearrange the video game consoles and put the pictures of my and my husband’s parents in a new location that will better showcase their beauty. To put the icing on the cake, pieces of my daughter’s artwork have found new homes along these reordered shelves.
In my worry and anxiety, thinking I wouldn’t be able to pass by my child’s room without bursting into tears, my spirit was quieted by a promise that has allowed me to sleep soundly ever since.
“She’s mine now,” whispered the Lord to my heart. He reminded me of the promises He has already made good on in this life – how time and time again, He has made a way when I didn’t see one. As He has been a light in my darkness, He promises to do the same for my sweet girl.
So, don’t worry. If your world is spinning, just reach out. God will put the thing in your hand that you need to do next, however small or mundane. When that happens, simply do it. You will be in awe of how He will start settling one thing after the other, calming the storm as only He can. You DO NOT have to fix everything, and there are so many things in this life that you’re not even supposed to control. So, open your hand and let God give you the little things you can control while He does the heavy lifting. He is strong. He is mighty. And not only is He able; He is also willing to do above and beyond all we could ever ask or think.
Now, the hard times before no longer matter. Angry words and dramatic fall-outs are distant memories as I simply look forward to the relationship I will have with this grown woman who I get the honor of calling my daughter. This coming weekend, my child will be cooking me a whole meal from her own kitchen for the first time in her life, and while simple and mundane, this is her next thing, and I could not be more proud.