Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Deal with Delay, Part Deux...or What to Make of Detours

I had an epiphany while I was in the shower this evening. (Isn't it funny how epiphanies come in the shower? Maybe they don't for everyone, but they certainly often do for me.) In my last post, I used a metaphor of making chai and the readiness of that chai being delayed to convey different options we have as we experience delay in our own lives. In that post, I looked at three options, focusing primarily on the third, which I felt was the best. Check out the post below if you haven't read it and want to bring yourself up to speed. Tonight, I felt I was given a fourth option, and it has to do with the subject of control....or giving it up.

So, continuing the chai metaphor, we have first have three options when dealing with delay (there could be more, but I chose to look at three in the last post):

1)Decide you were given the wrong recipe and wasted time and resources and throw the chai out. It was all a waste. Pity.

2)Realize that you were given the right recipe, that whatever goal you were striving towards (what that chai represents) was in fact correct, but it's just going to take longer to thicken, so keep stirring. The problem here is that you can go stir crazy checking the chai and waiting for it to be ready, whatever that end goal, desire, or dream may be.

3)Get out of the kitchen for awhile and let God stir the chai (it has to be watched over or stirred, otherwise the milk will boil over) while you enjoy the other things he's prepared in the next room. He'll call you if he needs your help stirring, and he'll let you know when the chai is ready. Getting out of the kitchen helps get your mind off of what's not yet and enjoying what already is.

But here's where the fourth option comes in! Are you ready for this?

4)Realize that you were never in charge of making the chai to begin with and just trust God to complete the work from start to finish. Let go of control and just enjoy whatever chai God is making in there, because if he's the one making it, it's going to be good!

Let's look at this another way. Say you have a dream, a vision, a goal, a plan, and you really want to see that happen. You even feel like it was God-given, so it's important for you to stay the course. When things go wrong or not according to plan, if you are like me, you begin to fear that the plan was wrong all along or that you had the right plan but that you have to maintain the course in order to keep everything on track. It's God's plan, but he gave it to you to steward, so you're partly in charge, right? Right? Hmmm...How much are we really in charge of these things? Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe that we get to co-labor with God, that we partner with him in different ways to get things done, and our part is important. But with that said, if God has a specific plan for something really big in our lives, one of these pots of chai we're intent on stewing over, doesn't it stand to reason that he will accomplish it well, whether or not we are getting the full picture/recipe/whatever?

Here's another way to view it. Let us say that you view your life as a story, and you feel like you see a certain storyline about to play out that you need to keep on top of. You're on a quest, an adventure, and you can see where the story is going. But then the story begins to take a turn, and though you know detours can often lead the hero back onto the original journey, the fear sets in that you might actually find yourself at a different destination. So you remember your story, re-tell it to yourself, and convince yourself that the ending is just what you thought it would be, just what you thought you heard, even though that ending has yet to be told. Granted, sometimes, many times, I believe we are given the ending. This is what is often refer to as prophecy, and it's something I've experienced in my life: God telling me things that are yet to come, and those things happening. HOWEVER, and this is the biggie, why do we have to hold such tight control on our story in the first place? While I believe it's important to have a proper view of the story we're in (and I may write a post on that eventually), why do we have to clutch at the details to ensure we know exactly where the story is going when the narrative we expected seemingly starts to derail? I think it has to do with two words: TRUST and CONTROL.

We either TRUST the Storyteller, the one who is writing the story and causing it to unfold, or we try to CONTROL the story. Who can write the better ending? Many would say that they know the best ending to their story. I certainly feel that way about some things. But I'm realizing that if I really trust that the Storyteller, the one who is making my story and allowing me to write certain parts in myself, has my best interest in mind, then the major destination points are going to be to my benefit. He's good, and he has a GOOD story for me to live. My need to be right, to KNOW everything so precisely, will hopefully feel less important as I trust that this Writer is writing something really good for me, as he has proven to me again and again with the way other parts of the story have played out. That is not to say that there haven't been low points in the story, but all of it works together for good. (Sound familiar?)

Do I care if I got the chai recipe right? Do I care about my story ending the way that I think it should and want it to? Yes. But what if I release greater control in the process, trusting that whether or not I get every detail right, the Chai Master himself, the grand Orator, is going to serve up something that caffeinates the soul like nothing else ever could? I'm mixing metaphors, but I think you get my point. The chai, the story, is his...HIS. So we can relax and let him cook it up, write it out. We can just BE. And trust that whatever else comes along that doesn't seem to belong in the chai or add up to the right ending will somehow work out in the most masterful of ways.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
-Isaiah 55:8-11