Right now, there’s a hurricane looming in the Gulf.
It’s very wet today as I stare out over my patio balcony onto the slippery, gray street.
I love the sound of rain, how it bounces off the pavement. The sound makes me feel warm and secure. It reminds me of special times in my youth when I’d sit in the den listening to the Beatles sing about rain as I contentedly watched it fall outside.
Ah, youth…..I remember reading some wise saying about how such a thing was wasted on the young. And even though I don’t consider myself that old, I am coming to the point in my life when I look back on my childhood with a longing to return to those carefree days when I had no responsibilities.
Yet as I write this post, I realize that even then, as little as my responsibilities were, I did have a few: cleaning my room, homework, going to school, doing whatever it was I had to do to collect a few dollars in allowance…
Yes, come to think of it, I did have a few situations in my young life in which I was held–be it by my parents, teachers or some other adult authority figure–to a certain level of accountability. And now that I think about it, I wasn’t so good about adhering to that accountability because I’ve always been a bit touchy about being told what to do.
Okay, since this is a blog that requires honesty, let’s not mince words. I resented being told what to do and am still that way.
I’m hard-headed and I like to be in control. I like doing things my own way because operating in that manner insures that I am in control. Bad stuff that happened to me early on left me with a need to make sure I was always one step ahead of whatever might happen next. I either had to pretty much know the outcome of a situation beforehand or most times, I wouldn’t walk into it. It was the same with performing. If I wasn’t going to perform something be it onstage or off to perfection, I simply didn’t perform.
This stubbornness and desire to know what is around the corner before I get there has been a thorn in God’s side with me from the moment I accepted Christ. Being the control freak that I am, it has been very difficult for me to relinquish control to God. I think part of it is that there’s a young girl in me who still feels God abandoned her when she really needed Him the most. Logically, I see now that this is not true. And because God is a patient, loving Daddy, He also understands that in order for that little girl to trust Him as the adult in me trusts Him, she must be shown the Father loves her. So God is patient with me in my reluctance to turn all over to Him. He doesn’t fume when I take back control from Him but gently nudges me to let Him back in the driver’s seat, all the while assuring me that I must trust Him and have faith because only He knows where we’re going.
And I want to go God’s way but I’m afraid. God won’t tell me everything. Sure, He’ll drop hints. He’s even shown me the end result of some things but never the middle. Never the how and this irks me, the control freak. I know that where I’m going and how I get there is a process but wouldn’t it be so much easier, Lord, if You could tell me what happens so I can be prepared?
Then I hear God say, “Now, what would you learn if I did that, daughter?”
To which I mutter, “Nothing, I guess,” and sulking, cross my arms over my chest.
“My grace is sufficient for you,” says the Lord. “For My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:9
So through much trial and a lot of error on my part, the Lord has brought me to the understanding that in order to develop faith in Him I must trust Him implicity. Now if it were just a matter of trusting God, I could do that. I really believe God loves me and that He is looking out for my best interests. The real trust dilemna comes when God sends people into the equation. I don’t trust people. People have hurt me, therefore, I must protect myself against them. And that’s pretty much been my attitude from about the age of 14 on. The me-against-them mentality with “them” being the entire world. Yet, ironically, it has been the approval of people (not God) that I have sought most of my life.
Every person God put in my life early on in my walk with Him, I defied; I pushed them out. Nobody was gonna tell me what to do! I wasn’t going to be held accountable to anyone but myself, which was the one person on whom I knew I could rely. I used to think, “God, if you tell me to do it, I will but so-and-so? Who are they that I should listen to them?”
The reply: “They are my servant and the authority under which I have set you.”
Romans chapter 13 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves…for he is God’s minister to you for good.”
Because of my past hurts, I’ve had a lot of trouble seeing the good someone could bring to me. It has been a constant struggle each time I get introduced to some new person in my life to see the Jesus in them rather than the fact that they are flesh and blood and could potentially harm me.
God works through people. And in order for me to trust Him, I must begin to trust those through whom He works. So, the subject of accountability started weighing heavy on my mind. The last month or so-and especially since I had my health scare-I’ve been wondering if maybe getting an accountability partner isn’t such a bad idea. Even Jesus wasn’t entirely a lone wolf.
Back in the day, I relished my aloneness. It somehow, in my mind, set me apart and made me special. But I wonder now if perhaps I haven’t been kidding myself. Or maybe that alone time was necessary but now, it is a new season. Ecclesiastes 4 says:
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
I went to a business conference where I learned that people are more apt to make good on what they say if they make the promise publicly. It’s the resolutions we make privately that tend to get left by the wayside. Funny how we are more committed to do something if others are watching. In fact, now that I think about it, people in general tend to act better when they know others are watching.
So, now I’m seriously looking into finding a few people to whom I can be accountable. Actually, I don’t know if we really have a choice in whom we’d like to be accountable. I suppose that’s God’s call. So let me rephrase and say I believe God is about to give me another crack at being held accountable to someone. I guess I’m either getting older or more spritually mature because I’m not rejecting the idea as I did in the past but am rather looking forward to it.
I wonder how I’ll do? A few years ago, that kind of wondering would have been enough for me to not forge ahead because I didn’t have the answer.
Now I think, “I wonder how I’ll do? I dunno, God, I’m kind of scared but…let’s go find out anyway.”
A few songs come to mind that I feel is relavant to this post. There isn’t just one that stands out, so since I love music anyway, I’m going to post them all. Hopefully, along with what I’ve written, one or more of these songs also relates to you…
Al Green-I’m So Tired of Being Alone
Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston-It Takes Two
Donnie McClurkin-I’ll Trust You, Lord