Saturday, April 19, 2008

One Day at a Time

I'm a planner. I like to know what the future holds. I like it when things are predictable and routine. Not to say that I'm inflexible or that I can't be spontaneous -- I enjoy surprises as much as the next person, as long as they're good surprises. :) But when it comes to major life issues, I get really edgy when I'm not sure how things are going to pan out.

So you can imagine my battles with anxiety when my entire life is tossed up in the air and I have no idea when or where it's all going to come down. Right now, that's where I'm at. I know I'm probably moving, but I'm not sure when that's going to happen, nor am I sure exactly where. I know my job is changing to some extent, but it's anyone's guess as to how the issues with the agency I contract from are going to turn out. They could be little changes or big ones. And if they're very big, it's most likely going to mean that I need to seek a different employment situation altogether. And that, of course, ties into when and where I'm moving. And will the house sell? Will it sell fast or slow? What if I have to take a job elsewhere before it sells? Or what if I sell it too soon and I have nowhere to live here before I find a job elsewhere? All these questions and unknowns are totally stressing out this planning mind!!!!

I have to constantly remind myself that although I don't know what the plan is, God knows the plans He has for me, and they are plans to prosper me, and to give me hope, and a future. When I get anxious about all the decisions that have to be made, and the waiting that has to occur in the meantime, I keep reminding myself God is in control of the whole thing, He already knows how it's going to pan out, and I can trust Him that He'll work it all out for good.

But I still hate not knowing.

When discussing how to seek the will of God in matters such as these, I often hear people complain that if only we had the benefit of the Israelites in the wilderness -- the cloud by day and the fire by night. Why, how easy it would be to follow God's will if it were that cut and dried. But would it really be so much easier?

I don't think we cut those poor Israelites enough slack. We judge them far too harshly. I really don't know that we would have made any better decisions than they did if we were in their places.

I was listening to the book of Numbers this morning as I was getting dressed, and the following passage really spoke to me concerning my current situation.

Numbers 9:19-23

When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord's order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the Lord's command they encamped, and at the Lord's command they set out. They obeyed the Lord's order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

I put myself in those Israelites' sandals as I heard these verses read. For two days, or a month, or a YEAR? Can you imagine? You're following this cloud, and it stops. You have no idea if you're going to be picking up and leaving again come morning, or if you might be stopping here for a few days, or you might be living here for the next year!! You have no way to plan anything. Do you unpack your things and settle in? How long do you live out of your "suitcases" expecting to be leaving the next morning before you decide you must be staying here for awhile and unload everything? How do you set up playdates for your kids and dinners with your friends when you have no idea if you'll be on the road again? I would find such a life so totally frustrating and would be anxious all the time. And can you imagine after a few months goes by? Good grief, God, I thought you were taking us to some Promised Land and here you're leaving us stuck out here in the wilderness for months -- are we EVER going to get anywhere? Or for those who were among the "over 20" set who knew they weren't going to make it to the Promised Land, EVER, what must they have thought? They probably loved staying in one place for a year -- and dreaded seeing that cloud moving them onward. Onward to where? Why must we pack up our things and move when You've already told us we don't get to enter the Promised Land anyway? Why can't we just settle somewhere else and stay put?

No, I don't envy the Israelites, and I don't know that I could have been as obedient as they were in this order. I might have obeyed it but I certainly wouldn't have had a good attitude about it!!

So anyway. I guess God wants me to take a lesson from the Israelites today and live day by day, waiting for His leading, and trust that He will get me to my Promised Land in His good timing. I have absolutely no reason to be anxious if I truly believe what I say I believe. And so I will remind myself each morning to look for the cloud to see if it's moving, and not worry about where tomorrow's cloud might take me, but just keep following today. I only hope I can be as obedient as the Israelites in this particular matter... :)

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