When you’re in the dark.

When You’re In The Dark.

You’re in the dark.

What are a few things that come to mind?  Uncertainty?  Fear?  The unknown?  Lost?  Anxiety?  Direction?  Confidence?

Okay, so maybe the last two aren’t the typical reactions you’d expect.  In the dark I always worry about my toes and “what’s behind me”, which is exactly why I don’t watch scary movies.  I have an overactive imagination already without other people’s ideas in there.  Now, I’m NOT the person that starts screaming bloody murder when the power goes out.  I just start feeling my way over to the flashlight.  I do have a little control.  But when it first happens, you still get that little jump in your heart.

Perhaps you don’t know how far to the right of your foot the bedpost is, so you overcompensate to the left and find the dresser with your toes.  Or you know exactly where your flashlight is, but you end up knocking over a few things in the process. Either way, visibility in darkness is pretty much nil.

Does life ever feel like this?  Honestly.  Have you ever just sat down, blind to whatever you are seeking?  Unable to find you direction?  Wishing that magic light switch on the wall would make the lamp come on even though the power is definitely not on?

We are creatures of habit, most of us, to either a greater or lesser extent.  How many of us flip that switch when we enter a room?  How many of us EXPECT things to be as they were before the power went kaput?  Whether you are that person that wakes up at X a.m. every day like clockwork and your entire day is minute-to-minute scheduled and followed, or whether you are the person who wakes up at X, Y, or Z a.m. and still arrives on time and takes whatever comes at you, there are things that can happen to blindside you and make you wonder what just happened.

I’ve never been so structured that I have a minute-to-minute schedule, but I’ve never really flown by the seat of my pants, either.  There are pros and cons to both sides and I’m happy to be somewhere in the middle.  I still have plenty of room for improvement:

  • I like to be places on time, if not early.  But I don’t always put my keys in the same place, so I don’t always get places when I need to.
  • I like to prepare new dishes and make recipes that are out of the norm for us.  But I don’t always plan ahead and I have to go all the way to the store for the one ingredient I missed.
  • I like to pay my bills on time and in full, but sometimes I overspend during the month and, ahem, I have to draw out of savings.
  • I like going places with friends, but I remember that the outfit I had planned to wear seemed so great that I already wore it this week and I haven’t done the laundry yet.

Your examples may be completely different.  I don’t know what your life is like, but I do know that everyone has something unexpected in their life:  job loss, marriage difficulties, devastating health news, problems with children, other financial issues.

And when the darkness hits, how do we find that light to show us the next step?  How do we react when the light goes out?  Do we freeze, panic, and scream like a teenage girl, or do we shuffle around groping in the darkness for the solid feel in our hands of the flashlight with good batteries?  Sometimes our initial reaction can set the stage for the rest of the story.

Imagine you’re driving down the road and suddenly something goes wrong with your vehicle and you have to pull over to the side.  Yes, most people will be aggravated, if not curious, about what is happening.  Is it the alternator?  Is a tire going flat?  Am I out of gas?  The first reaction should be calm.  Okay, so I’m not that person, but I do try to recapture the calm afterward.  I pull over and get of danger, then I begin investigating.  If I discover it is something beyond my expertise, which in a car is pretty much anything, what should I do?  I call in the troops to help me in my situation:  tow truck, mechanic, possibly the dealership.  From there, it’s up to them.  I just pay the bill.

Sometimes we are in the dark and all we can do is call the tow truck.  You’re in a spot that you thought you weren’t going to be in for long, or at all, and suddenly here you are and things are looking a little scary.  You can’t see but one step in any direction.  If you are in unfamiliar territory, how do you know which direction to turn?  How can you be assured that the left, right, or straight ahead is the answer?

These are the times that I go to the one answer that has always seen me through.  This might not set well with you.  This might not be the answer you were looking for.  This isn’t a talisman or magic lamp type of answer, because it’s not instantaneous.  But here it is:  faith.

I have to believe.

I have to keep pressing on.

I have to keep going.

I have to keep positive.

I have to have faith.

Here’s where I am:  I have no job.  I have bills.  The money is getting low and I’m getting nervous.  I’m doing what I can by looking for a job, trying to bring in a bit of money through my hobbies, scouring, searching, seeking.  I thought I’d have a full-time job in no time flat.  I thought I’d have a paycheck in the bank by now.  I thought the bills would be completely covered without any worry by now.  But my timeline isn’t the one that matters.

That’s where the faith comes in.  If I honestly say I believe in God, this is a massive test of how much I trust Him.  The Bible states that God’s time is not our time and His ways are not our ways.  I just told you my expectations.  I’ve just shared my heart – I’m nervous.  If I didn’t have a family, it would be different.  I have to rest and be assured that He is working out things for my good.  I’m doing what I can on my end.  I think it would be foolish to surf the web and veg on the couch all day and expect Him to prepare the way for me.  If you read The Job Search post, you know that I believe in doing what I can to facilitate this search.  I believe in being prepared so that when the door is opened, I am ready to walk through it.

But I don’t want to kick open a door in the meantime that isn’t meant for me.  For anyone who has read the Old Testament of the Bible or the Torah, you know that God promised Abraham a son.  His wife, Sarah, laughed.  She believed, but she doubted and after some time passed, she decided to take things into her own hands.  Abraham ended up having a son through his handmaiden.  This was not the son that God had promised.  He had said Sarah would have the baby.  When it wasn’t happening fast enough, Sarah changed the rules and brought intense heartache not only to herself, but all those around her.  The child of promise, Isaac, was eventually born.  God fulfilled His promise.

It doesn’t happen in our time frame all the time.  It doesn’t happen in the way we expect it to happen.  It happens when we trust, believe, and wait.  And we rest.  We rest in the knowledge that He has our best in mind.  He has promised it.  So, friend, while you are in the dark, know that even though you cannot see more than a single step in front of you, there is Someone who can.

While you wait, take advantage of the time.  If you have children, spend the extra time with them.  If you have a hobby, relax your mind with it.  Take time to do what you have to do to prepare, but don’t force things that you know won’t end well.  Wait.  Rest.  Prepare.  Be ready.

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