I arrived frustrated and frazzled at the destination where my niece and I planned to have lunch. Along the way I became hopelessly lost in the maze of the parking lot at the mall. Don’t laugh. If you’ve never been lost in a mall, it’s because you’ve never been to the Galleria in Tyson’s Corner, VA. It’s a nightmare to this Marylander, as are the highways that I must travel just to get there. The mere thought of accidentally getting caught up in the frightening tangle of HOV lanes and not being able to get off until I reach China grips me with the gut-wrenching fear that I may never be seen or heard from again.
I called my niece to tell her that I was hopelessly lost and in her kind and gentle way, she provided me with the directions that I needed to get myself back on track. That said, she told me that she was going to hang up, park, get a table, and wait for me.
“Nooo” I pleaded! Please don’t leave me! Please hang in there with me until I get there! She did, I got there, and we found each other in the parking lot, gave each other a gigantic hug, and headed toward lunch. What a blessed relief! God bless her. God bless cell phones.
“You’re going to turn this into a blog,” she quipped before we had even entered the building. I hadn’t considered the possibility, but since she put the idea into my head, I thought, “Why not?” It seemed like a fairly reasonable challenge—certainly one that was easier than finding the Cheesecake Factory amidst the myriad of storefronts and garage entrances.
It’s bad enough to be lost in the mall, but add to that the fact that it’s not the first time I’ve done it. Oh no, no. It happens every time I dare venture into the mystery maze of the Galleria. Repeating a mistake over and over is enough to send me into a wailing fit of “Why God? Why do I keep doing the same stupid thing again and again? When will I ever learn?“
Well now, isn’t that just the question of the century!? Why God? Why do I keep doing the same stupid thing again and again? When will I ever learn?
Like dear Connie, God is patient. God is kind. God listens to and hears my desperate calls for help. God waits for me and hangs in there with me as I bumble my way through life making wrong turns and bad decisions, and while I blindly stumble along making the same mistakes over and over, mistakes that leave me feeling befuddled, frustrated and stupid.
But it’s all okay, because just like Connie, God will be there to provide gentle guidance along the way, wait for me, and when I arrive, He’ll rejoice because I finally made it to my destination. It’s always reassuring to know that no matter what, I’ll find my way back home. He knows that I will, and I know that I will—it’s just a matter of when. Now would be good.
I’ve been gone for what seems like an eternity—off by myself again wandering around aimlessly in the desert trying to find my way back home. Another blogger asked a question worth pondering—if I stopped blogging, would anyone notice? I would. I noticed that I have gone missing, but I couldn’t seem to find the oomph to get myself back on the return trip toward home. Perhaps because I temporarily lost the way. Sometimes it is very hard to return to sanity whilst being on vacation from one’s own head. When I’m out there doing the aimless-wander dance, I wrestle with feelings of self-doubt and guilt because I think that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, whatever that is. Perhaps you might be somewhat familiar with the feeling?
I don’t quite know what it is that drags me off course, but the one thing I do know is that the real problem here is that I have wandered away from God. I have wandered away from that part of myself that is the best of me, and collided head-on into the self that I’ve been trying to avoid for as long as I’ve been on my spiritual journey. It doesn’t usually go very well. I don’t think that escape is the answer.
When I’m away, I experience lethargy, laziness, sloth (hmm—isn’t that one of the seven deadly sins?), and a general sense of malaise that eats away at self-esteem and sends me straight into the despair of zero self-worth. Eeks! That’s not a very nice place to live! Feelings of low self-worth sneak in while we are looking the other way and inflict torture upon most of us at one time or another whether we are aware of it or not. Now that’s a condition truly worth avoiding!
Once it finally dawns on me that my sojourn into the desert is a lonely one, and that it robs me of the joy that is my true birthright, it’s enough get me to hop on my camel and gallop out of the desert as fast as I can–or at least as fast as a camel’s legs will allow–and I return happily to my quiet time with God, and yes—maybe even blogging. But sometimes that realization comes at the speed of molasses in January. Why is that, I wonder? And what is it that makes me wander off in the first place? Maybe that part doesn’t matter. Maybe I just need to keep my eye on the end goal and enjoy the jagged journey along the way.
My last blog was written nearly two months ago on July 13 and yes, rather recently I have heard from a few readers asking about it, and for that I say thank you for your encouragement. So often a little nudge from others is all that is needed to provide a wandering soul with renewed faith and the desire to move forward on the path. So much of life is about intention. Do I intend to finish this blog, or will I get halfway through, take the dog for a walk, and forget it, as I have so many others?
Will I sit down every morning and spend my quiet time conversing with God, or will I keep Him waiting and instead fritter away precious hours and minutes checking emails, tweaking my daily to-do list, reading negative news, or fretting over undone chores—then suddenly wake up to the realization that I’ve gone missing and lost my senses again? God doesn’t care if the laundry gets folded or if there are dishes in the sink. God has more important things than household chores on Her mind.
Here’s the thing. God gave me an assignment—a job to do—and if I don’t do it, I’m not holding up my end of the bargain. Not that God bargains, mind you—it’s just that I’m the one who entered into the contract. I’m the one who said, “Okay, God, if this is all you ask, it is the least I can do.” All God asks is that we be happy, and that we find the joy that dwells deep within our hearts and waits patiently to be found. The only thing that God asks of us is that we realize that we are loved and forgiven, and that we have no reason to think or feel anything less than that. I’m the one who lays self-doubt and guilt at my own feet by allowing myself to slip into the false belief of thinking that I am less than I am.
When I am able to remember my assignment, my promise to God that I will love myself as She loves me, feelings of low self-worth, guilt and self-doubt fade and transform into the remembrance that I am truly a beloved child of God, perfect just as I am. And so are you. And so is everyone else, even though sometimes appearances may say otherwise.
This week a little voice in my head suggested that I take my umbrella into Trader Joe’s. Did I listen? No, of course not. When I emerged from the store after all of five minutes, torrential rain was flooding the parking lot. Clearly, there is something in me that is a whole lot smarter than I am, and one day perhaps I’ll learn to listen. Meanwhile, I’m going to do my darnedest to quit taking little side trips into the wilderness and make a commitment to honor my prayerful intentions instead. Wish me luck!
Now I must ask myself the question—am I going to push the publish button now or am I going to make myself crazy wondering if it’s good enough? Cheech. There I go again—listening to that pesky self-doubt voice instead of to the one that’s smarter than I am, the one that makes helpful little suggestions, like, “Take your umbrella.” Whenever will I learn? Or maybe the real question is—when will I not forget? Does it all have to be perfect? No. Does it really matter? No. Is it a good thing to be content with whatever is? Absolutely.
Thank you good readers for the nudge that I needed to get my feet back onto the return–to-God path. It feels great to be back and God willing, I’ll stay stay put, resist the temptation to wander away again, and see you soon. It is unbelievably comforting to know that God loves me when I’m ornery. He loves me when I am small and petty. He loves me when i procrastinate, when I’m lazy, and especially when I’m behaving like a sloth. He loves me no matter what. What a gift. What a wonderful God!
Yep. I’m doing it. There’s nothing quite like pushing the publish button to bring joy and set my feet back on the path. Before I push it though, just a thought to remember–God loves you and so do I. What is there to say but Thank You Thank You Thank You God?