Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Classic Reality Check: The Incredible Completeness of Just Being (July 2006)

The Incredible Completeness of Just Being

I once heard the phrase “the incredible lightness of being” and it has forever been embedded my mind. Sometimes in our everyday lives just “being” is not only not incredible or light, it is difficult and painful. And sometimes, as we go about our normal schedules and do what we need to do, things are so mundane and predictable in their stressfulness that we feel as if another day of same-old, same-old is just more than we can handle.

I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago when I was preparing to sleep on a Sunday night, knowing Monday morning brought another week of work and schedules and all the “have-tos” that make up normal life. Things had been pretty quiet, and except for a nagging bout of tonsillitis, life was fine. I’d been dealing with some difficult things for a while, so even the tough stuff was becoming more normal. Or maybe I’d finally got past the point of being upset about the hard stuff and had moved closer to acceptance. But all of these normal activities, usual stresses, and accepted problems were making the daily grind more and more of an effort. So much for “incredible lightness”. I’d settle for a load of “average weight”.

You likely know what happened next before I relate it; we’ve all been there. Just when we start to dread the daily drudgery, something happens that makes us long for it. The next day our town once again broke into civil unrest due to an ongoing dispute between two factions. Though not directly affecting my actions, the anxiety level connected with this violence rose from where it had settled during a temporary peace. That was only the start and soon other things happened that totally disrupted my usual schedule. And of course, I was soon yearning for the normal routine I’d been dreading a couple of days before.

It made me wonder why I have such a hard time appreciating normal life. It seems that when I’m going through a deep valley, I’m on my knees, asking God to help me through it. When I’m on a mountain, I’m thanking Him for His goodness. But the road in between seems fruitless as well as endless at times. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t had very many days with a usual routine lately, that when it happens, I just don’t know how to handle it. Instead of seeing it as a blessing and a time of peace, I start looking for something new or different to spice things up.

I have a hunch that ‘spicing things up’ was what King David was planning when he was hanging out on his rooftop even though everyone else was at war. Instead of using this quiet time to reconnect with God, he started looking around for other diversions. He found them, and we often do too when we think that life is boring and routine. However, that all too often explodes in our faces, and bringing us to an even worse place than we’d been before. And instead of using our down time to gird up our spiritual defenses, we fritter it away and when the hard times hit we have nothing to draw on.

There are lots of people I know who are experiencing tough times right now. Some are facing major decisions, diagnoses that they did not want to hear, and lives that are so upside-down that they just wish for an “everyday” kind of day. I know what that’s like as I’ve been there often in the last few months. But even in those kinds of crises, I know that God is reaching towards all of us with His love and peace. After all, He promised us that He is with us in everything.

When Jesus told us He would never leave us or forsake us, I’m sure He meant not only the really good times and the really awful times, but also even the mediocre times in between. It’s good to know that even when there seems to be no change in my situation, He is still in control and still has a future and a plan for me, not for evil but for good, to give hope whether the sameness of life is overwhelming or the trials of life have brought me to my knees.

It’s often a lesson we need to keep relearning. Regardless of circumstances I need to realize His leading, however hard that might seem. And as I give each day over to His control, He can bring completeness into my life, allowing me to not long for something more, something new, and something different to bring change to my current situation. Maybe the true test of our commitment is in the consistency of our walk with Christ whether we are going up, down, or trudging along on a level path. Realizing that completeness in life comes from our relationship with Him, not from what is happening around us.

The Bible tells us “He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it”. I always thought that faith only grows through adversity, but I’m seeing that it can be shaped and increased in every circumstance, good, bad or indifferent. And as we get more complete in Him, just living each day in His presence brings a joy that will continue even through the trials. If you are having a difficult time, or just facing “dog days”, remember that there is a special ‘completeness’ in just “being”. Rest in Him.

Reality Check is a monthly column by Lorraine Walker, published on SGM Radio. For this month's edition, click here.

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