Lincoln, our four year old, does not like to be kept waiting. This morning, on this New Year’s Day, he was—as always—impatient to go downstairs for the day. Josh and I were deep in discussion regarding our current state of affairs with his new job and the stresses therein, but all Lincoln was concerned with was the fact that we were up, so it was time to descend, and that someone needed to carry his box of Transformer toys.
Because the box is too heavy for him to carry.
That’s what we heard over and over again: “Someone carry it for me… the box is too heavy…. no one is carrying it… who is going to help me… the box is too heavy… you’re not listening…I want to go downstairs… but the box is too heavy.”
This morning, his persistence resonated past its typical annoyance into a life lesson. See, Josh and I were discussing how badly he despises his new job. He’s been ready to go back to his previous job since the first week he started. The mobile x-ray company he works for was not prepared for how busy things would be when they branched out into our area. Josh was their first hire and they have one other full time tech. The two of them work the expected day shifts, Monday through Friday, but also alternate overnight shifts each week, and are on call at least one weekend a month (there are two part-timers that cover the other two weekends). Most days, Josh works a 12 hour shift. They are working on hiring an overnight person, but we have to endure this until they do.
It’s the “endure” part that’s been difficult for Josh. He doesn’t like being away from us so much. He doesn’t like a lot of things about this new job, really. Where, two months ago when he was hired, this was provision from God (because he’s been miserable in his previous job for years), he’s wanted to walk away basically from the start of this. He never would walk away and do that to his family–that’s not who he is—but it’s been a huge burden for him.
I am the ever present optimist. Almost to the point of annoyance. With his current work hours, I’ve had to parent more, I’ve had to do housework without help, as well as maintain my work load. I certainly don’t refrain from complaint here, but I see how God is providing this amazing financial opportunity for us through Josh’s job and I see how it will get better. So I’m focusing on the optimistic approach.
This is our balance: Josh’s realism and my optimism. Sometimes one of us needs more of the other’s strength to help us through a season. So we were discussing the silver lining found in this current stressful situation for us. We were discussing trusting God—learning the lesson He intends through this experience.
We were discussing how easy it is to get overwhelmed by the circumstances and lose sight of the fact that God is sovereign and his timing is perfect in his plan. Or to get impatient for God to make move. We need his help, we expect it, but we want it right now.
The box is too heavy to carry. God has reassured that he will carry it for us, but we are four year olds, standing at the foot of the bed, rattling on and on and on and on about how heavy the box is and how someone needs to help us RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Because waiting isn’t a concept we fully understand.
Got to love those life lessons that smack you in the face just by observing your children.
Since making the trek downstairs, God brought Jeremiah 29:11 indirectly through a friend. Another posted the first page of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which also quoted Jeremiah 29:11 and the following:
Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek my face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then I turned to the first page of the devotional I purchased to start this year, Good Morning Lord by Sheila Walsh:
Charles Finney once said, “A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.” Everything. Mr. Finney doesn’t offer fine print or exclusions. Everything. Consider your life right this second. Do you easily see the hand of God in everything that is happening right now? What, for instance, are you dealing with right now that you don’t remember signing up for? Life’s harsh intruders often make it hard for us to recognize the truth that our God is always present with us.
But you may be like me. Usually I know enough when a crisis hits to turn to God for strength, grace, and guidance. It’s the small stuff that gets me, those moments when my plans are messed up. Those are the times I must learn again to trust God. It’s hard for me, because it means I have to let go of my agenda. As I look back over my life, I can think of many times when my plans seemed to fall apart. I see now that God’s grace was right there, available, every single time, but sometimes I didn’t reach out and receive it. To have my hands free to receive God’s grace, I have to be willing to let go of whatever I’m clinging to.
I would say it’s pretty clear that God intends to show us something today. So, Josh and I have decided that our word for 2015 is: MARGIN. Margin in our approach to God’s plans for our lives – looking outside of the box of predetermined circumstances we’ve limited God to and allowing space for Him to move however he wishes. Margin in our time – removing frivolous activities that take away from our time with God. Margin in our finances – making strides toward better stewardship of what God provides. Margin in our hearts – being teachable to the things that God wants to show us.
Margin in the load we bear – because the box really is too heavy for us to try and carry alone.