It was 2009. After graduating at the top of my accounting classes, I landed a job with a respected local firm and was successfully navigating my way through the CPA exam. We'd bought our first house, had one child, and were in process to adopt another.
The economic downturn was not on our radar... until nine employees were fired from my firm. That afternoon, after laying Caroline down for a nap, I also lay down on the brand-new carpet of our freshly financed home and prayed. I was scared. Houses and adoptions require money. I needed to stay employed.
But something in my spirit said, "Get up." My eyes were shut too tightly, focused too internally, on myself and possible financial trials, (which never came to fruition). I needed to open my eyes wide, and gaze towards the God in control.
Worship is always the antidote for fear, because God is always greater than our troubles.
I look back on that trial-that-never-was with a laugh. What was I so scared of? Didn't I know God was bigger than that?
And today, will I know God is bigger than this? When I'm stressed by the noise of two bored girls on a road trip, will I magnify the annoyances by focusing on them, or will I open my eyes to the God who made tiny clapping hands and strong lungs and high pitched vocal chords, and believe that "children are a blessing from the Lord"?
Do we live like God is ALWAYS bigger than our circumstances, whether good or bad? Do we keep our eyes focused outward on Him, rather than inward on ourselves?
Recently, I read Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. I wanted to stand up and applaud. Parts were funny, parts were poetic, parts demanded all of my intellect, and all of it pointed towards Truth.(Today, Orthodoxy is free to Kindle here!)
Chesterton made me realize the sickness in shutting your eyes and looking inward, rather than gazing at our Creator with intent, wild wonder. He made this point by contrasting Buddhist statues and beliefs to Christian Gothic statues and theology.
Thanks to Chesterton, I will never look at the ugly gargoyles of medieval Christianity with disdain again. Yes, they are deformed. (Aren't we all deformed by sin?) Yes, they are gaunt. (Aren't we all starving for the Bread of Life?) Yes, they appear wide-eyed and crazed. But read what Chesterton has to say of this:
[quote]"The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards [...] This is the meaning of the almost insane happiness in the eyes of the mediaval saint in the picture [...] The Christian saint is happy because he has verily been cut off from the world; he is separate from things and is staring at them in astonishment."[/quote] [quote]"The Buddhist is looking with peculiar intentness inwards [...] The pantheist cannot wonder, for he cannot praise God or praise anything as really distinct from himself."[/quote] [quote]"By insisting on the immanence of God we get introspection, self isolation, quietism, social indifference -- Tibet. By insisting specially on the transcendence of God we get wonder, curiosity, moral and political adventure, righteous indignation -- Christendom. Insisting that God is inside man, man is always inside himself. By insisting that God transcends man, man has always transcended himself."[/quote]
Above all, let's keep our eyes open. Let's stay alert to Christ, rather than alert to our frustrations, our heartaches, our headaches.
Who knew I'd ever strive to be a gargoyle?
(Montgomery, AL ladies: I'd love to see you tonight at St. James UMC, 6pm in the Traditional Sanctuary! I miss you all!)