Late Friday evening, just as I was on my way out the door for an awesome night, I got a bit of bad news. Severely disturbing and completely unexpected bad news.
Because I thought I took care of this 8 months ago.
The truth is that I thought I took care of this because I have grown a bit too comfortable in my own skin, a bit too satisfied with the gifts God has put in me, and it seems that 8 months ago when I penned a few words in my own defense, when I tried to handle the situation myself, I thought there was no way on earth that this world was going to tell me no. I have a unique ability with words and for the most part, I've been able to talk myself into or out of everything I've ever wanted/needed/thought I deserved. As I have grown and matured, I have stopped using this gift for evil (or ego) but when the world came against me 8 months ago, I turned my powers back on to do all I could for the sake of myself, thinking God has given me such words for such a time as this and thanking Him for creating me to take care of this.
So imagine my disappointment Friday night when I discovered that the world has adjudicated and I'm not so able after all. They don't care how fancy my words or how legitimate my point. There is this one little place in my life that's set out to screw me over and you can't argue logic against ludicrous. They just don't listen.
"My disappointment" is the light way of putting it. I was devastated. I was discouraged. Shaking and almost shaken as I tried to figure out how I could possibly have failed, how God could have let this come crashing down so hard.
And I responded as any red-blooded individual would have - I started crying. I started screaming, and then crying some more. I let my mind wander into the worst-case scenario, something I hadn't done in a long time. I overjudged my own worth and undercut the world's ability to judge. I stood by myself and declared my righteousness while condemning the whole rest of the world. I raised a fist to the sky, pounded it on my desk, spewed my hatred toward a few friends who would listen, and talked to a lawyer. Who agreed with me, which only fueled my flesh all the further.
Then I got in my car and drove off for what I was hoping might still, somehow, be an awesome night.
As I sped east on the highway, abandoned on the road all by myself (and ya'll, I wasn't even running late and I made record time), I took a deep breath and prayed:
Lord, I don't know why this is happening. It really sucks, God. I mean, I try to do all these things and I just want the world to play fair and I don't know why I can't seem to get one good thing going right now and I don't know why they are being jerks about this. I've tried to be nice. I've tried to be calm and reasonable and nice...
And at this moment in my prayer, I realize that for the past 45 minutes of my life, I have not been nice. Or calm. Or all that reasonable. But rather, arrogant and mean and impulsive. So I continue:
God, I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't react this way, but dammit, Lord! This sucks! ....I'll tell you what, and I guess this is the best this is gonna be because I'm all out of everything and I'm all out of ideas and I can't handle this one more minute and this sucks. So here it is: I'm going to be what I'm going to be. I'm going to be impulsive and reactional and irrational and emotional. I'm....I'm gonna be a girl. (laughing a little at this realization; He totally made me a girl and that's just like Him!) And You...You're gonna be God and do all of that peace and promise and presence and provision thing that You do really well. And then I'm gonna be ok and this is gonna be ok and everything's going to work out because I'm going to be me and You're going to be You and there's nothing to worry about.
An immediate sense of peace washed over me, and I could almost hear God proclaiming, "It's a GIRL!" At that moment, I realized the night: I had run completely out of myself for the first time in a long time. I had come into a place where I couldn't take care of me, and it stung. It ached. It defeated something in my heart to know that to the best of my ability, I couldn't. But I was able, in that moment, to understand powerfully, honestly, fully, that God can. And He will. And He is. And for that moment, that one simple moment in the car, even while I used a few colorful words about the people who had put me in this place, I realized that for that one beautiful moment, I remembered...
I remembered what it was to be His.
It's so easy, I think, for us to live in this place where He is ours. He is our God. He is our Savior. He is our Father and our Friend. We think about all the things we do for Him, all the things we can do for Him, and some of the things He does for us, but we still think He does them because He is our God. What an incredible moment, an awesome peace, a powerful shift to realize, even for just a second, that we are His. That He was not created because we needed someone to love, but that He created us because He needed to love. And He loves us so.
Then I laughed, wiped my tears, and walked into my evening. I didn't have another thought about the terrible news until a couple hours of later, and then it was simply this fleeting thought:
God will take care of it. Just breathe. ...No. That's not right. God never promised to take care of it; He only promised to take care of me. And He will. And He is.
I smiled and sank back into my seat to enjoy the evening.
More on that evening coming up this week. You won't believe the unexpected way God showed up in one simple night...