Encouragement

Longing for a Perfect World

I broke something the other night.  My peace shattered.

You see, it seems I notice everything and with that, I’m laser-focused on anything that might be remotely harmful to anyone.  Our grands are coming in next week and a broken glass episode is one of my worst nightmares.  Well, actually, I have several but this ranks right up there at the top… next to rust, poop, and raw meat.

What if we don’t get it all swept up?  Picked up?  Vacuumed up?  Every minuscule trace wiped clean and safety restored to planet Earth!

I was trying to fix the cross — the cross hanging on my wall, that is.  It was hanging by a tassel …yes, a simple tassel! I wanted it hanging in a slightly different spot off to the side — not at the top!  As I was attempting to make an adjustment, it somehow fell… creating a chain reaction that ended with it crashing onto a beautiful lamp a friend had given me after my Mom died.  Broken glass everywhere.

My quiet, peaceful dinner with my husband was now invaded with anxiety–what if’s …un-peace –all because I tried to adjust the tassel on the cross!

My husband graciously offered to clean up my mess.  Something he does often for me these days.  It’s a gracious act of kindness for both of us because he and I both know my hyper-sensitive O.C.D. will  kick into effect and before long I would practically be trying to lick any glass up  to insure  not one teeny-tiny piece was left.

Yes, I’m that one — that over-the-top-messed-up one.  I hate broken things.  I want things to work.  I’m compelled to fix all things broken so as to bring balance to the universe and if I’m honest, to me especially.  I keep trying to adjust the cords that hold the cross I bear as if I could sway the cosmos into perfection.

I long for Heaven.  Here …but not yet.  I want to go back in time and snatch that apple right out of Eve’s hands before she ruined it for all of us!

So I stress over the mess that Eve left in her wake.  My husband has learned to enjoy the moment …the glimpses of glory.  He chooses the un-stress route knowing that Eden will one day be restored.  As he rests in that, he can patiently  go about his business and clean up after the mess.   He will often cover for me so I can relax.  He’s good like that …a gift and a grace to me…a picture of Jesus– Who daily cleans up our messes …not holding it against us.

And I thought about that …

Jesus knows we are fragile jars of clay who crack under pressure …unable to hold our peace for any long stretch of time.  He knows that the root of stress and anxiety is often the earth-shaking  reality of the expectation of perfection.

Julie Sparkman shared  this insight in her book, Unhitching from the Crazy Train–Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control,  “Each day, you carry around a picture of how you long for life to be.”  She goes on to say, “In and of themselves, there is probably nothing wrong with your picture because more than likely, it is connected back to your original design in Eden.”  And my favorite line …“And somehow, though we were never there, we remember it.  And we long for it.”  

Eden before it became broken.  A perfect world where everything worked just like it was supposed to.  I miss that even though I’ve never experienced it fully.  Just glimpses here and there.

We keep trying to adjust ourselves and those around us as we travel in this little life-raft made of drift-wood.  Every adjustment has the potential to capsize the whole thing  because it’s held by threads of expectations of perfection and they just aren’t up to code.  Our vessel isn’t very sea-worthy.  That boat was never meant to set sail.  It was a make-shift raft quickly constructed in an effort to escape the storms of life by getting off the island as fast as we could because maybe we were tired of waiting on God to rescue us.  Funny how easy it is to think we have a better idea of how to navigate life than the One Who actually created life in the first place.

I can’t fix the broken lamp any more than I can really fix anything else. I can’t make sure nothing bad happens to anybody.  I can’t control the outcome of relationships and jobs and sickness and dying.  I’m not God.

We were given perfection in Eden but we threw it away.  Our own way seemed better at the time.  We couldn’t see beyond our noses to the putrid smell sin would leave.  We still try to grab the wheel as if we know the best route to the destination of perfect bliss.

And the cross just won’t adjust.  It stands firm against  our push and shoves.   Jesus knows our frame.  He knows that we long for heaven — for that walk in the garden of Eden with Him when all was right with the world.  He longs to give  us that  again and the cross won’t budge.

I have to hold on to Him and trust Him.  Satan wants to create doubt in me …the “what if  God can’t handle it?” He wants me to think that I have to step in and help things along or disaster will surely strike.  It’s a lie …ironically, the same one that’s been around since the early days of Eden.

Do I trust God?  Do I trust that He can take care of people I love?  Do I trust that He can take of uncertainties, stressful situations, failed relationships?  Do I trust that He can take care of my friends who have destructive addictions?  Do I trust that He can take care of those I love who are struggling with debilitating health issues and others suffering with agonizing emotional issues?   Do I trust that He can take care of my sometimes crippling anxiety?  PTSD, OCD and all the other combination of letters that label a person with PAIN?

My efforts to adjust the cross just aren’t working.  It only seems to make things worse.

My prayer is simple …”God, please help me to trust You tonight …tomorrow …and the next day too.  Help me to let go of that wheel of control I’ve tried to jerk out of Your hands.  Fill me with Your peace and rest and the assurance that You deeply love me and are fighting for me and those I love.  And as my brother reminded me … everything that happens is for our good and Your glory.”

I’ll rest in that tonight.

*Quote fromUnhitching from the Crazy Train, Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control by Julie Sparkman with Jennifer Phillips.  (New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, Alabama 2018) You can order a copy HERE.
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