This morning was wild. I was carrying Ellia to the bathroom, cleaning up the mess from where she missed (yes, girls miss), pulling crayons from Olive’s mouth, answering the phone, talking to the tree trimmer, bringing Ellia juice, pulling Styrofoam from Olive’s mouth, paying the fence repair people, pulling sticks from Olive’s mouth and that’s when I smelled the open sewer line in the backyard. My first inclination was to check on flights to Mexico and run for the beach… or stay here and have a clean house and organized bills. But somehow I know that even these things can’t help. Somehow I know that there is more to making my life better than being productive and making wiser parking choices.
I’ve been ignoring the call to dependence. The phone rings, I pick up, another crisis is calling, I hang up and get to work dealing with it. I’ve missed the voice on the other end of the phone calling me to pay attention to something beyond the crisis. There is a reality that I’ve been invited to see. I need Jesus. Instead of heeding that call, I focus on putting out fires, paying bills, retrieving my car from Tow King, going to doctors appointments and dealing with a 10 month old on a sleep strike.
This time, I didn’t automatically respond with my normal solution-obsessed routine. Instead, I thought about the reality behind the reality. Life is crazy, yes, but there is a bigger fish to fry; I really need Jesus. I need his gentle response, his compassion and tender understanding, not just for the people that I encounter, but I need him to direct those things to me. I am desperate for Jesus’ mercy in the little thorns or the frustrating obstacles. I not only need Jesus’ heart for other people, but I need to see his heart for me.
When bad things happen, I hear people say that the situation has introduced a new desperation for God. But the reality is, the need for dependence has always been there even if our eyes are seeing it for the first time. Our circumstances don’t produce desperation for God: they reveal it. All of a sudden, we see again how weak and needy we are.
Independence from God is the enemy of peace. I wasn’t made to live outside of full reliance. When I do, I can feel myself running out of gas, pushing it as far as I can before I have to pull over and admit defeat.
Peace is not an absence of anxiety, but the presence of God. There is knowing that God is God and then there is pressing in to this God. Our knowledge must lead us to rest our hearts and bodies in his peace. I want more than a tranquility that comes with being laid back or taking things in stride. There is nothing holy about not letting things get to us. The holy moment comes in dependence.
Dependence is the idea that I’m still being held, whether my soul is smashed and I can’t think straight or things are normal. In dependence, I loosen my grip on control, feeling slivers of relief as my concerns slip from my fingers into bigger Hands. In dependence, I don’t have to work out a game plan. I don’t have to strategize and streamline; but I do have to rest.
The phone keeps ringing. But when I hear the reported crisis, I can listen for the louder theme—I need God. Without the Presence, the irritation will pile too high, the burdens will be too weighty, the obstacles will be impenetrable. We were meant to live in God’s embrace. It is out of this embrace we were intended to love and pray and work. Even through difficulty, I am in touch with a heart that beats love and grace and new mercies every morning, and all I have to do is rest.