***It is with great delight that I welcome my dear friend, Margaret Franklin, back to the Worship Wednesday table today. To be honest, I am pretty sure she has one of the most gentle and authentic hearts for Jesus I have ever had the privilege of walking alongside. I am confident you will be blessed by her words and worship today. Thank you, Margaret.
Truth in the Midst of the Mess
I am sitting here in a mess. A mess that really was not supposed to turn out this way. This was supposed to be lovely, enjoyable. The idea was good. The plan was good. Everything was in place, yet right now it simply feels and looks like a mess. Not at all what I expected.
Today this mess is just another in my ever-growing list of Pinterest fails. You know those really good ideas that look so lovely and reasonable online or in a magazine. Yet, for me, so often the reality does not meet the expectation and I find myself, like today, sitting in what feels like a mess…disappointed… frustrated.
As the frustration mounts and emotions begin to bubble, I realize this isn’t just about a little project and my inability to achieve what I set out to accomplish. My silly (and now laughable) Pinterest fail is a reminder that right now life does not quite feel and look like what I thought it would.
This was just not what I expected.
I have really good plans! You know, ideas about how things should look. How they should feel. Plans that really do make sense. Good plans. Nice plans. To be honest, I like my plans. And, if I am being really honest, most of my plans end with the “happily ever after.”
Yet as I sit in my mess, (you know the mess that comes with living life), I am not feeling that the happy ending is close at hand. I am stuck in what I have heard referred to as the “messy middle.” The messy part that was not in my good plans. Not what I thought I desired… hoped… planned… prayed.
There are things happening in my life, the lives of my friends, the lives of my community, the lives of our world that just feel messy and hard right now. They don’t fit the plan. They don’t make sense. They are not what I want. They do not feel and look like I thought they would.
If I were to let my heart and mind wander, as they are so prone to do, I could find myself sitting in what I see as a big mess of unmet expectations. I could find myself waging a battle against that unrelenting foe known as disappointment.
Disappointment that rises from those unmet expectations. Expectations that I create, we all create, based on our hopes and desires. Expectations based on what we want!
My mess reminds me that the problem more than likely rests in my expectations. The problem lies squarely with my wants. Not that my wants are bad or wrong. Many of them are honest, real, understandable, good. Many are the same for which we all hope.
The problem arises when they become my hope.
The struggle intensifies when hope is diminished or depleted because my expectations for what life looks and feels like do not match reality.
There is a fine line between restlessness and discontent. Disappointment nudges in when that line is crossed. It pokes our hearts when our hope is misplaced. It settles over us when our wants and desires are rooted in our own thoughts of how life should look and feel.
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
Simple, yet powerful Truth that reminds me from where my desire must flow. Truth that reminds me of what must come first. Truth that reminds me that my desires, expectations, wants all must flow from my delight in Him, my Lord.
In this delighting, my heart is changed, and my expectations are changed. In this delighting, through the power of the Holy Spirit, what I desire, all I desire, is the Lord… His presence, His will, His kingdom!
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Out of this flows surrender. Surrender of my plans, my hopes for how life should feel and look. In this surrender, my hope is secure.
Secure not because there is no mess. Secure because, regardless of the mess, my hope is in the Lord alone. My desire is for what He desires. Trusting even when I do not understand the messy and the hard of it all, that He will do what He purposes and promises. Regardless of how it looks and feels, He is faithful.
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24
The song, “Fall,” by The Belonging Co. has become almost a prayer for me. Lately, it has been on repeat in my heart and mind as I declare it over and over, again and again, walking through my days that just don’t look and feel like I thought they would.
I invite you to join me in taking our eyes off what life looks like and focusing them on our Lord. Allow His Kingdom to become our only desire. May we want what He wants. I invite you to listen, to pray. I invite you to surrender. Lock your eyes above on the One who created you and has ordered all your steps. May we, His children, pray together… “Oh, Lord, “we want Your Kingdom come!”