on fasting, faith, and getting knocked up (in that order)

It's the weekend, people! Rejoice! Or go get a milkshake from Chick-Fil-A (If you have one where you live...if you don't, I pity you. Come live in Georgia with me.) That's what I'm thinking about doing, but since I've already had sweet tea today it's probably not the best idea. The first few days after my fast were essentially a giant leap back down into the pit of sugary/fatty/cheesy goodness and I'm feeling super guilty. Not the Catholic-I-need-to-go-confess-to-a-priest kind of guilt, though. Just the normal my-stomach-doesn't-like-me-I-thought-I-broke-these-habits kind of guilt. 

(I don't know why I thought my habits would be broken after 14 days either. Everyone knows it takes 21 days to break a habit. Geez.)

I am proud to announce, however, that I'm still drinking a shit-ton of water every day and it has done wonders for my skin. So that's good...

Anyway...brace yourselves...this is going to be long...

Last week I said I would talk more about what I learned during my fast, and that's what I want to do right now. But first I have to admit that, even though I've walked in my faith for a long time (i.e. since I was pulled from my mother's uterus) I still have doubts. Not doubts about what God can do, per se...mostly just doubts about what God can do with me because I'm stubborn, foolish, headstrong, opinionated, over-analytical, lazy, silly, proud, and selfish. Probably some more things, too, but you get the idea.

I want to be more pliable. I want to be shaped by Him. But, gosh, it's hard work to let the God of the universe tell you what to do. 

Okay, correction: It's hard to do what the God of the universe is telling you to do.

My problem has never really been one of faith. I have all kinds of faith in God. I still can't quite wrap my head around all of that Old Testament stuff and I think more of my questions come from how people have interpreted what the Word says, but faith? I've got that in bucket loads. I like wondering what God will do next. My problem is that I don't really trust myself. I'm such a mess, even on my good days (what are those, exactly?) I think about God more than I actually do what He wants...but it's not because I want to disobey Him. 

It's because I think I'm going to screw it all up. 

Soo...I guess that does sound like a problem with faith, doesn't it? How can I say I trust God but not trust that He'll make me capable of doing what He asks?

This is the issue I'm having with getting knocked up, friends. And it's pretty serious.

During my fast, I said to myself, "Now that these no-caffeine headaches are gone, it's time to get down to the business of fasting." I grabbed my Bible and my Beth Moore study (Breaking Free) and made myself comfortable on our pillow-top mattress, ready to share my wildly confused heart with God.

Earlier in the day, I'd had a conversation with Rosalie, one of my co-workers and friends, on our way to work. Rosalie is from Germany, she's traveled all over on missions, and she loves her some Jesus. On this particular morning, we were mulling over our shared desire to do something great with our lives. Neither of us has ever wanted a "normal" life, a 9-5 career, or even cared, really, about middle class comforts. I've said this before and I'll say it again in case you lovers of Suburbia go getting your panties in a twist: God can and will use us wherever we are. For some, it's right there in that pretty little cul-de-sac. For others, it's in a dirt house in Africa. And still for more it's at that dead-end job, with that stubborn friend, or in the middle of a terrible grief. I'm not saying He can't or that one is any better than another. I'm just saying what has always been on my heart. I've never wanted what seems normal to everyone else.

Now, before you start thinking "Isn't that exactly what you have?" I will go ahead and say yes. Yes, it is.

And that's why Rosalie and I found ourselves on this very topic. We've both done some pretty awesome things in our lives, and God has used us in ways we never imagined He would (our friendship is a testament to this fact). But how did we end up where we are and where do we go from here? I'm not complaining. I am a very rich woman. I have a husband who adores me. A bed that's cozy and warm. Food in my belly. Money to spare. I have been given SO much. And to whom much is given much is required. Sometimes I take it all for granted, but, truthfully, I'm pretty aware of the fact that I'm a spoiled rotten brat. But what are those things, really, in light of who God is? What are comforts in light of the fact that Jesus stands in front of me as I make paltry attempts to explain myself to God and says, with grace and joy, "Don't worry. I've got this"? What is a normal life compared to a romantic adventure that defies anything E.L. James could conjure up for Fifty Shades of Gray?

So. It is this grace- this requisite responsibility to carry out more than just what's comfortable- that urges me on every day and makes me wonder how Hubby and I managed to end up where we are in this comfortable, stressful, busy stage of life. I mean, we're in the middle of buying a house. I'm working on my book. Hubby is loving his job with Falcons. And, as I wrote in this post, I am fully aware that God could ask us to do something totally out of the ordinary, which is fine by me. He could ask us to share our new home with ten others. That would be kind of crazy. Or sell it (once it's ours, of course) and give up every material thing we own. That would be insane! Or He could ask us to live there forever and raise a gaggle of children who will grow up to love Him more than anything.

It's not the crazy stuff that makes me nervous. It's that last one that scares the ever-living daylights out of me.

I've woken up on so many mornings asking God for a challenge. For something risky. I want to be a missionary! I want to serve the underground church, the persecuted lovers of Christ! I want to write a book that makes people think! I want to live in such a way that people ask "What in the world is that about?" And then I can tell them it's about Jesus.

But is it? Am I really about Jesus? Or am I All. About. Me?

Yeah. That's what I thought, too.

It is this impatience, this incessant need to tell God what I want from Him, that interferes with the very thing I'm asking of Him: a chance to serve in a radical, unexpected way. I've only been asking Him for what I want. I haven't really been asking Him for what He wants.

As I prepared to start my Bible study that night, I sat on my bed and prayed my little heart out. I talked to Jesus about my conversation with Rosalie. I begged Him to give me peace about the images that keep swirling around in my mind- those heady, lovely scenes with our future babies- and wisdom about what to do with them. Why do they keep haunting me? Why can't I get away from this deep, unfathomable pull towards motherhood? I asked Him to help me be obedient. I talked in circles, trying to determine how my free will fit into His perfect plan and "what if this" and "what if that"...and, finally, I just laid it all out there:

"God, you made me who I am. You gave me the desires of my heart. So, as hard as this is to say, I know I have to trust that having a baby is not the end of all those dreams. It's the beginning. Because what You have for me is infinitely greater than what I have for myself."

And at the end of my study that night here is what I read:

(Sometimes I think God likes to show off. Just throwing that out there.)

I hopped up out of the bed like it was on fire and ran into the bathroom, terrified and thrilled alike, to show Pierce the confirmation I'd just received. And also to ask if- ya know- maybe I wasn't just a tad bit desperate to understand all those crazy, maternal emotions swirling around inside of me.

I read the above passage to Pierce...to which he responded by poking his head out of the shower and asking, "You got your answer yet?"

Yeah, Pierce, I got my answer.

1 comment

Rosalie said...

:) Exciting journey! :) Thank you for being such a great friend and for allowing God to use you! You sure have touched my life!