Perhaps it is only fitting that for my first entry in this space I begin with a reflection on the fact that I have absolutely no idea where this year is going.
We’ve just wrapped up December 2014, untangled our feet from stray tinsel ends, picked up (hopefully) the last remaining fragment of torn paper and sticky tape from the carpet, and we are driving headlong into January 2015, complete with new diaries, new schedules and new hopes.
But, quite frankly, when it comes to the future of our family this year, the plot could go anywhere. You see there’s a whole lot of change in the air. The air is practically gagging with it. We are expecting a new baby, our third in four years, and making a move, both location-wise and work-wise. The Absent-Minded Professor of History, Dr. M, is putting down his whiteboard marker and taking up the pen, to be a student again, this time at theological college, where will be living on campus in community for at least the next 11 months. Although it’s not necessary to board a plane to get to our new life, it will still be a whole new area for us, with a whole lot of traffic and exhaust separating us from our wonderful extended family, and our beloved church brothers and sisters. And the trees. We will be leaving behind deep-suburban meets national park bushland surrounds, for a much more urban setting.
To summarise, in case you hadn’t already guessed: as we start this new year, I’m nervous. And excited, And nervous.
And what do I naturally do when I’m nervous? Start fretting. And running. And trying to solve it all, while the familiar chants, ‘what if…’[a or b or, God-forbid, c happens] and ‘I should…’ [do this, or that, or the other, just to make sure it’s all okay] take up residence in my thought life.
Which leads me to confession no 1 for this blog and this new year —stay tuned as I’m sure there will be more. In fact I intend there to be more, for confession after all is part of repentance. Which is a part of growth.
So here it is: confession no.1: I am bad at being still. I’m a lurt(a play on alert, in case I’m not making myself clear). It’s what an osteopath called me once. I’m wired, like a spring, or a jack-in-the-box, ready to pop at any moment. He could feel it in the tension in my neck. I feel it most of all on the inside. Heart and soul pangs. And in the constant whirring of my mind.
The problem with being a lurt is that it’s hard to rest, and over time it plays with your thinking. In fact, it’s the misguided thinking that creates the condition in the first place. We lurts (incorrectly) assume we know what needs to happen at any given moment, so we are constantly predicting the next move in our day, our week, our year. And we are expert worriers as well, the two go hand in hand, we imagine scenarios, and create equations. If I do A and B then C will happen. But if I don’t….[insert very bad, possibly catastrophic, outcome].
I already see it in my daughter, E. This inability to stay still. And she’s just three. Even when playing her concentration is furious, her movements constant. Her very domestic looking toys find themselves in dramatic scenarios and situations of life and death: rescues, trips to hospital, wild car and train chases. This is all okay in play, of course. But I wonder if inside herself she is already chanting her own ‘what ifs’, drawing crazy inward maps leading nowhere, destinations not yet reached.
You see the problem with these lurtish creations of the mind is that they interfere with the workings of the heart. In fretting, we miss the real-life happenings for the make-believe. We weigh ourselves down with burdens we never needed to carry. Most of all, we deny the Lord credit as the sole captain of our ship.
For the truth is that in the end, and the beginning for that matter, and the middle, he is the captain of our souls, he is the guider of our ways. We can do nothing without him. Lurts need to be leaners. Into God our father. Into his grace. I know I do.
So as I start this new year I’m writing it down: so I remember and can be kept accountable. Trust in the map-maker, he’s the one who knows where everything is heading, and he’s working for your good.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 NIV.