By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
~1 Corinthians 3:10-11 New International Version (NIV)~
In the middle of the night, I often think of really stupid things. Sometimes I remember that thing I forgot nine hours earlier when I was at the store. Sometimes, I remember an old locker combination from high school. Sometimes, I remember the name of a teacher or some other thing that I don’t really need to know while I’m trying to sleep. Last night, I dreamed that I was walking around my house and with every step that I took I heard the sound of glass crunching under my feet. I couldn’t see it, but no matter where I stepped, I heard crunching. I woke up wondering what that could mean. It seems significant and it probably makes sense given the things I’ve put up with in my life. My tendency has been to sweep my brokenness under the rug when I could just as easily have picked it up and thrown it in the trash; even better, I could have picked it up and handed it to God to see what He could do with it.
But as is typical of me, I have always decided that I could probably deal with most of the mess myself. I ask God to fix the little things and then I just work on the rest of it when I have the time, energy, inclination, etc. Hence the house full of broken pieces under the carpet. It has always been this way. I have never really felt that He should have to deal with even a small amount of the crap that I have created in my life. So, why would I burden Him with any of it? There have to be people who need Him more than I do, so I figure I can go on and do things by myself for a while and then catch up with Him later if things get to be too much. The only problem with that thinking is that I never seem to know when things get to be too much. I always try to handle it all without His help. Even when I thought I was walking with Him the way everyone told me to walk with Him, I figured He didn’t really need to be doing so much for me.
I know that God has made me stronger when I needed to be stronger. I know that He wouldn’t give me more than He has equipped me to handle. But what I don’t seem to know or understand fully is that there are times when He places an obstacle in my path that I’m supposed to ask Him to help me with. Sometimes, He wants me to say that I cannot do this without Him. Sometimes, He wants me to understand that my hiding the brokenness from Him doesn’t mean He isn’t aware of it. I’m not sure why my brain understands these concepts, but my heart doesn’t.
The things we allow in our lives define the path we find ourselves walking. If we are constantly allowing people to take advantage of us, then our path becomes one of quiet desperation. If we’re constantly moving from one bad situation to another, hoping that the next one will be the one that justifies the abuse we’ve suffered, eventually our ability to love others will dwindle and we’ll find ourselves unable to love even the ones who aren’t hurting us. We’re supposed to love others, but that doesn’t mean we let them use us or make us feel worthless in hopes that our overwhelming love for them will one day make them do the right thing. Our love cannot fix those who cannot comprehend it. Only God’s love can change those hearts. And while He may use us as a catalyst, we must never believe that it is us doing the healing.
So, knowing what I think I know, will I continue to do the things I’ve always done? I’m not quite sure. While I would love to say that I am never going to make a mistake again, I know that this is unrealistic. There will be challenges that I fail. There will be challenges where I will succeed. I can choose to ignore the challenges or accept them, but if I don’t learn from them then I will continue walking down a path that leads to nothing. And what about the obnoxious crunching? If it’s one thing I hate, it’s unnecessary noise in the house. It may well be time for me to pull up the rug and get out the broom. Whether I throw those pieces out or hand them over to someone more qualified to dispose of them, the very fact that I’m removing them from underfoot is a giant step in the right direction.
God shows us things for a reason. He may bring you a vision in a dream or bring you a word in a conversation with a stranger. But He gives us information when we need it. We just have to choose what we are going to do with it.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
~Romans 8:20-21 New International Version (NIV)~