This current season of life finds me blogging less and praying more — because more days than not, my experiences belong in a personal journal meant only for God and me, not for public consumption.
I don’t have a beautiful bow to tie neatly around each day. Rather, I am in the trenches of a life that is, at once, fulfilling and demanding – mostly demanding at this moment. This season is riddled with endless tasks, repetition and little instant gratification. Good things are happening. They just don’t always “feel” good.
As a parent, the days bring a variety of difficult conversations and character-building moments. I see progress; yet character-building is slow and tedious work. It is necessary work, which I wouldn’t trade for anything, yet which my kids would trade for anything.
Among the many names for God, one of my favorites is… Creator. And not just a Creator but THE Creator. When I look at the masterpieces He creates - whether in nature or in human lives – I think, “WOW…Amazing!” And I want to be identified with that. Yet I wasn’t privy to all the messy stuff He did to create “amazing” results.
That is why I am writing this blog today, instead of hiding these things in a journal — just in case you’re like me and tend to think the amazing things He does should feel amazing.
He starts with human clay. And human clay is messy. Yet, unlike any other artist, He does not make mistakes.
(We hear this all the time, but do we really, really BELIEVE it??)
I find myself squirming to get comfortable in His grip while He is trying so hard to work with my clay. Because He is infinite, He is infinitely patient. That’s good, because I am not.
He painfully chips away the safety nets, carves new grooves into my mindset, blends my unrealistic expectations with His. Then He molds my habits and digs around all the fears that hinder the beauty He is so desperately trying uncover.
All the while, I flinch and beg Him to stop. Yet do I REALLY want Him to stop?
I remember how He always chooses our character over our comfort. We can either fight it, or surrender to it. Yet when we fight it, we waste precious days in a battle we can never win.
So each day, when I wake up and have those first conscious thoughts, I have a decision to make. I can choose comfort, or I can choose character. Then, about every hour or so after that, I have to choose again. And here’s what it comes to..
The pain of character-building is nothing compared to the pain of defeat when I carelessly choose comfort.
As a parent, choosing character over comfort means having conversations that matter and guiding my kids toward an authentic life. It means leading courageously – with love rather than with fear. (I mess that one up almost daily, but I must keep trying.) It means modeling good decision-making, trust, generosity and faithfulness, whether or not I think my kids are paying attention. (Because they are.)
As a wife, it means staying fully engaged. (This is easier said than done when I am spinning so many plates, but again… I must keep trying.) It means remembering to be grateful for a husband who loves me and is committed to this non-stop life we live. It means not letting silly little daily things distract me from being the love of His life, looking him in the eye when we talk, and remembering to thank him for loving me even when I’m not my best self.
As a professional, it means doing unexciting tasks with joy, tending to details no one will ever know about, investing in the big picture even when it seems fuzzy. It means being a team player without losing a sense of personal responsibility.
As a human being, it means humbly committing to life-long learning, recognizing that all I know of my Creator after 38 years of following Him is a tiny flicker compared to all there is to know of Him. He can do infinitely more than I can ask or imagine, if only I will let Him do His work.
So today, I’m choosing it again — character over comfort. Who’s with me??