Relationships can be complicated.
We all know this. And recently, I found myself in a bout of relational frustration. Here's why.
Sometimes, as humans, we find ourselves projecting silent (and sometimes not so silent) expectations on others. You know what I mean. Those times when you find yourself wishing he'd just do this or that she wouldn't do that. And when those expectations aren't met... well, it hurts. It isn't always easy to see things from another's perspective.
In the midst of this, I wish that I could tell you that I happily trusted God and went about my business, never-mind the actions or inaction of any other party. But that was not the case.
This is something I am not proud to say, but I found myself DWELLING in a place of unhappiness, frustration, and bitterness. It was stealing joy out of more than one area in my life.
Thankfully, though, the Spirit swooped in and wrapped his wisdom and love around me, pulling me up from the pits of my own disappointment in a moment's time, like only He can. This is what I felt Him say:
You can't control other people- not what they say, not what they do, nor what they DON'T say or do. What you CAN control are the thoughts that you choose to let occupy your mind.
In that moment, it occurred to me that I was dwelling on this particular situation, despite of all of the goodness in my life. This is powerful. We are capable of choosing what words, situations, and feelings we dwell on in our minds and hearts.
You can choose to dwell on the things that you don't have and the things you wish were different, or you can choose to focus your thoughts on all of the good that is already abundant in your life.
Tuesdays have always been my days.
I was driving my evening commute home today, as usual. A million thoughts paced rapidly through my mind. Light after light, through sluggish and congested traffic, I drifted away in my worries. Anxiously, I scoured my brain for solutions to the problems that seemed to abound. Back and forth, I weighed the pros and cons of pending circumstances in my own life... and in the lives of the people who are dear to me. My toddler, whose patience is still a work in progress, sat fidgety in the backseat, making me increasingly anxious. I needed to get him home and fed dinner and bathed and tucked into bed before the "overtired tears" began to shed.
In the midst of this mental rampage I was sending myself on, analyzing and anticipating every circumstance involving my life and the lives of those whom I love, there was a sudden interruption. In one moment, a hush fell over the ransacking dialogue that was stirring in my mind and spirit.
No, nothing changed. I was still sitting in my car, stuck in traffic. The problems and circumstances I'd been debating didn't just fall away. But suddenly, it was as if God said - Hey, just stop.
In that moment, it was so clear to me that I was racking my brain about things that involved ME. MY PEOPLE. MY LIFE. My circumstances.
Things that not only revolve completely around me, but that are constantly revolving, evolving, changing, and growing.
And it also became just as clear to me that there is only ONE thing that never changes. Our God.
It was as if time stood still, and all that I could recognize was the calming presence of our Heavenly Father and His precious love. For just a moment, I could recognize that our circumstances don't always matter quite as much as we make them out to...
but our God's power, greatness, and goodness never shifts, never stops. His sovereignty is timeless and boundless. He is omniscient and yet full of grace. He is the most righteous One, and yet He is overflowing with compassion and love. He is powerful beyond measure, and yet He reaches His stalwart hands tenderly out towards us.
I realized, yet again, that sometimes we just need to take our eyes, minds, and hearts off of our circumstances and direct them toward where they belong: in dwelling upon the goodness of our glorious King.