As someone who has sought comfort in knowing, who has turned toward education when faced with challenges, I have become more and more aware that I have approached my faith as an intellectual construct. In this age of ready access to information, advisors only a few keystrokes away, I trust that I can find the answers I seek to any conundrum. I know now this has hampered my ability to sit in the waiting, sit with not knowing, sit with silence. I am far too often in my head, too little time is spent truly tending to my soul. Difficult truths lie there, answers do not come so easily, so quickly. This time of slowed thinking, minimal screen time, reduced stimulation from outside has forced soul searching, maybe more painful than the original concussions that necessitated the rest. The knowledge I crave, the up-to-minute news and constant flow of viewpoints from strangers keep me distracted and I want that back, I want to be distracted from admitting that I am harboring questions that have no easy answers and truths that are painful and I am wondering about a God who allows me to keep heading out to the wilderness with my bag full of disillusionment and discontent. Wouldn’t I be a better beacon of hope to finally be able to say that I have managed the crisis and now wow look where we are? Where we are, indeed, I can hear God whisper. It is clearly too quiet in my world.
It is too quiet in my world when I can hear wisdom from my Chef. I don’t seek advice there, that is not our natural flow. I am the source of knowledge, a rude admission, but I am strive to be honest here. It isn’t that I don’t think he has much to share, he just doesn’t trust himself over me to share it. Yet in the space created by my slowed processing on a difficult morning when I ranted about my hurts and frustrations and outlined the litany of complaints I carried regarding the state of my relationships and where was God truly in any of this (can you hear my rant, it wasn’t pretty) my Chef said he thought it was about expectation and expectancy. I stopped. I listened. Those two words were powerful and true and convicting. I didn’t like him much in that moment. Who likes to be told the truth about their sorry selves when they are throwing a particularly ridiculous self pity party and have invited others to wear hats and sing songs to our own woeful lives? Emperor, you are naked, I heard. In my most mature voice I reminded him he needed to go get ready for his Sunday School class.
Still, those words have echoed and reverberated and refuse to leave me alone. I have been bound up in expectation of God. I have a list of chores I would like Him to complete, neatly labeled, outlined in order of importance. Much as if I were to hand a list to Plum, I expect results. My results. Like when I asked the kids to clean up the toy room after they trashed it and they said they did. When I inspected, it was a disaster by my standards. Of course they were long gone and I put everything where I wanted it and the room met my expectations again, they did not. I obviously wasn’t clear enough with them but I am positive I have been crystal clear with God. But what if I explored expectancy? Honestly, I would rather not. But the word is bugging me and the concept is sticking around so I am starting to open up my mind to the possibilities and that may be the point.
Rather than giving my list to God, what if I asked God for a list? I think I mostly have, I have been faithful to calls to action in various ministries yet I think there is more. What if His list says wait? That is ugly. What if HIs list says trust? Seriously, can’t I just do more works? I know James tells us faith without deeds is dead but what about deeds without…faith? Can I squeeze by? What if His list says sit in expectancy, knowing that I am God and you are you and I am handling ALL and you need to manage only what I put in front of you each day, each hour, each minute? Ah, I have reached the point where I always end up, sense of control, the battle that God and I have, except it is always only me wrestling and God watching and wondering when I will ever get tired enough to stop my nonsense. Friends, I think I am getting tired.
I can’t think my way out of this mess, I can’t find an answer on any message board or listen to a podcast that will tell me what I secretly already know. I have a choice to make, expectation or expectancy. I’ll keep you posted. I wonder if you have found yourself comfortable in either of those camps, a tent erected, fire smoldering, s’mores at the ready. If you are where I need to be, send up a signal, I might need help out of this wilderness. Also, PLEASE do not tell Chef I said he was wise. We have a delicate balance, no need to upset things. In exchange, I promise to continue to share his insights. Be well, friends, may your day hold enough silence and restoration that you might open up your expectations to allow space for the unknown. Just a tiny bit for us scared ones.