Today is August 2, 2016. We are traveling down to Austin to pick up the keys to the apartment where we will be living for the next 3-4 years. The house is mostly already packed away, and has been under contract for almost a month. God is great. God is working in me, those around me, and my life, in spite of me. My faith certainly should be greater than it has been. My faith has yet to come remotely close to accepting just how much God is working in me and through me. The continued falling back on myself as a default response to the challenges of the world is an infinite source of stress and fear, and yet I continue to do it because it is the response I know best.
But, there is no real excuse for continuing to do it, beyond that.
In fact, the mental space all around my tiny, local mind seems to be filled with opportunities to worry, get angry, find release in giving in to lust, pump myself up full of pride, or run from worry into the arms of a slothful state where I repose inside delusions powered by vainglory. Trust in the Lord with all of your soul, all of your might. Love Him like no other. Let His Love flow through you instead of trying to hold it back. You are like your little son when he refuses to take your hand or come where you are called. You know that you are always trying to look out for your little son, so why would you think that the Lord is calling you in some direction just to see you needlessly suffer?
Whose arms do I run to if I don’t run to the Lord’s? There is always the news, Facebook, random books and random websites. There is the television, and getting caught up in busywork. There are an infinite number of distractions that all add up to nothing in the face of the comfort that comes from the Lord. My will and orientation have been trained to seek first the things of this world, the power of my own wits and memory. Such a will and orientation can’t be shifted completely in a single day, or even a single year.
The more I practice stopping to listen to God, and to fall back on Him. The more I practice this when confronted with novel situations and people saying things where I don’t have a good response (only God does), the more I re-orient myself towards God. God is good, God is great. I am neither.
At the end of my life, if I do live out a full life to be at least 80, I will reach a point where I think I can confidently call myself more righteous than I was when I started life. The last half of my life must be an endless lesson in humility and service. No, I am not supposed to be yelling at customer service people when I can’t get my way. No, I am not supposed to continually resurrect the specters of old human interactions that didn’t go well. No, I am not supposed to focus my desires and attractions on the things of this earth. But, I still do, much more often than I care to admit.
Putting trust in God is so simple, yet so elusive. Even now, just thinking about how one of my contacts continues to not fit or work very well (it’s the highest power for a lens there is), I start rubbing my eye and thinking I can just scrunch it up enough or move the lens around for it to work better. At some point, I have done all that I can do. There is nothing wrong with trying to fix things yourself, especially if you are listening carefully for God’s input. But, once you reach a point where you can do no more, the best thing is not to continue worrying with the problem, obsessing over it, turning it over and over in your mind while you run yourself ragged. The best thing is just to cease focus on it all together and let your focus “lay back” into the arms of God.
God is all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing. He communicates this power directly to us via the Holy Spirit. Such a God does not need to demonstrate His power constantly. We are a bunch of silly ants running around caught up in our anthill projects. We want God to swoop in and fix everything when we muck it up, but we rarely want God’s help in making the anthill project better, or even to tell us that the anthill project isn’t the right project for us at this time.
There will always be an answer. Things will work themselves out. I will follow a grand course through the rest of my life if I put my trust in God. I will die one day, but that’s nothing to be afraid of.
This is the odd liminal period between the end of the old and the start of the new. I guess I could say that the last year and a month have been that, or even make a case for the past eighteen years being a liminal period of sorts. But, as far as leaving behind life in Waco and starting life in Austin goes, this is the transition. Fortunately, it isn’t scheduled to last but two weeks. When we moved up here, it lasted for a year or more, because we kept the condo, and I worked part time in Austin, spending two nights a week there. That period of time felt like we were stuck in the middle of a move for a year. Then, after the condo was rented out, and we had purchased a home here in Waco, it finally felt like the move was over. And, a little more than two years later, I decided I could stand Waco no longer.
Waco isn’t for a city person like me. It is the big city for most of the rural types who come here to live or party or visit. Austin and Dallas must be unfathomably big for some of those folks, or at least so foreign as to make them utterly uncomfortable. It is a raw sort of place where even the people who might agree with most of your politics seem inclined to give you the cold shoulder until they really know you. People do seem to be much more angry about living here, whether they are like me and yearn for a bigger city or they are stuck in dead end jobs at some of the manufacturing sites in the area.
I half expected to run into someone while we were in Austin, I don’t know why. It’s not like in a major metropolitan area of 2 plus million people, I would see one of the dozen or so people I once knew who still live in Austin or moved down there. Almost none of them are people I would really like to see. The thing is, this is a blank slate for me. A chance to hit the reset button and get it right this time in Austin. I don’t expect to be perfect in everything I do, but there is a real sense of purpose this time with a finite timeline of completion. I must complete this timeline, or I will never complete anything.
In spite of all the traffic and bustle, Austin felt like it was breathing easier. Waco just has this overwhelming feeling where everyone has thrown up these walls around themselves, and are so tense and suspicious about anyone or anything going over those walls. This is partly due to being a small town thing. People in the city simply don’t expect to engage with each other most of the time.