“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
I recently had to laugh at myself after searching high and low for some missing library books. I have certain places where I keep things like library books and will not even allow my daughter to take her books into her room and keep them there because it often looks like a cyclone hit the place. Having worked at our local library and heard every excuse in the book for why people don’t return their items, I’m usually very careful not to leave them in my car and I always check under the seats when I do have them in the car just to be sure that one hasn’t slipped out of sight. As it happened, there were three books that my daughter had checked out a couple of months ago that somehow escaped from my line of vision. I was sure that I had taken them back to the library because I couldn’t find them in the usual places where they should have been. I even swore to the library clerk that I had brought the books back; confident that I had to be right because they weren’t in any of the spots designated for library books in my house. Imagine my surprise when I walked downstairs to get something from my basement and found them lying there.
You see, we had gone downstairs to wait out a particularly nasty thunderstorm and I had allowed my daughter to take her library books down with her because she had just gotten them and she was nervous about the storm. She hates storms and was freaking out a little over the whole thing. I had thought that reading might take her mind off of how bad it was outside. I hadn’t figured that I would forget to take the books back upstairs and I certainly hadn’t figured that I would not even remember having her take them down there in the first place. We don’t just hang out in our basement. It’s really just a place to do laundry and, when necessary, take shelter from impending tornados and such. It should have stood out in my mind that I needed to retrieve the books, but it didn’t. It got pushed back into one of those dark corners and didn’t resurface until I wasn’t prepared to deal with it. It isn’t in my budget to pay for lost library books and I was panicking at the thought of having my borrowing privileges revoked. I go to the library for recreation and the thought of not being able to get books was really a huge downer. After several days of looking and not finding, I decided to leave it up to God and asked that if He knew where they were could He please show me. Not even an hour later, I was looking around my basement for no apparent reason and it hit me that something didn’t look right. I walked over to the corner of the room and looked down and there they were. Staring at me, laughing at me and saying, “If you would just get out of your own head every once in a while and ask for my help, I might be able to show you something.”
What does this have to do with anything significant? Well, it occurred to me after this incident that I sometimes place so many restrictions on myself that I often miss things that might make sense for me. God has always had a way of cleverly illustrating this in my life. He knows that I think I have it all under control and I’m sure He gets a big kick out of watching me struggle under the confines of my own delusions of power. Though I’m getting better about trusting God now, I’m generally very careful not to say or do anything that I haven’t rehearsed twenty times or that I haven’t always done a certain way. I very rarely step out and take a chance. My background dictates this need for control and at times, this hasn’t served me so well. For example, I didn’t choose my dates very carefully when I was younger and was often treated badly by them. At one point, I was even raped by a “trusted” friend. By the time I met my now ex-husband I had so much difficulty allowing myself to trust anyone that I’m sure I nearly drove him crazy with all of my “regulations” for our marriage. When you’re in protection mode, however; it doesn’t occur to you that you’re being stupid and selfish. You just believe that everything you do is justified by the fact that you are trying to avoid another painful situation. It makes sense to you that anything you can do to protect yourself will simply need to be tolerated by the person who claims to love you. And if it isn’t, well, then they probably really don’t love you and will most likely hurt you anyway. Such is the thought process of a hurting person.
At many times thoughout our marriage (before I was seriously following God), I found myself in situations where I wanted to handle something differently than I had in my past but could not bring myself to take the chance on not knowing how it would turn out. Silly as it is, I seem to have preferred knowing (or at least believing) I was going to be right about the outcome to trying to do something different (trust God) and produce an outcome that was foreign to me. At least if I failed, it was familiar territory. What would I have done with a marriage that worked? Could I have even been a participant in something like that? Now, almost nine months out from divorce and a good deal further along in my walk with God, it amazes me just how easy it was to walk away from it all having failed to put any of it in God’s hands and allow Him to fix what was broken. And now, it’s pretty much a moot point. Although I am happier now with many parts of my life, there is still something nagging at me and that is the fact that while I was convinced otherwise at the time, it is now obvious to me that God played a very small part in my decision to leave my marriage. I was sure that He was leading me to this and that, but as it turned out it was just me and nothing was where it was supposed to be.
I’m not sure what this will mean for the rest of my life. I have absolutely no idea what direction things might take for me and I’m thinking that I ought to keep it that way and just listen for and trust God’s instructions. Otherwise, I could spend the next forty years searching for what I think ought to be there and miss what actually is there.
“You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you.
~1 Chronicles 17:25~