Monday, April 21, 2008

and where it stops, nobody knows

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

...it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7:9

...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling Philippians 2:12


Back to that conversation Friday night at care group. The one that I was all upset about, but at least not yelling.

It went like this. I've spent years as a nanny, babysitter, serving in children's ministry, and taking care of my younger brother, covering (at one point or several) children ages 1-12. I've got the experience. And I know I don't like serving in children's ministry. So I approached a couple of people about whether there was another area in which I could be serving. I was met with concerned looks and the question, Why don't you like children's ministry?

Well, I don't like games. I never have. When I was little, I tried to get out of going to recess. Failing that, I would hide in little spots on the outskirts where I could be alone. I hated P.E. even worse.

I hate teaching in a formal setting. I had to do it for a year in college, and I think that's long enough to know for sure that I don't like it. And guess what age I taught? Five year olds.

I can't stand whiners and I won't stand for it when I have kids, but there's nothing I can do about someone else's kids who were raised thinking it was an acceptable way to ask for something.

I don't like entertaining big groups of people, no matter what age.

So at some point, the individuals I was talking to would ask, Well, what if you viewed it as a means of sanctification? The only Scriptural backup I could think of for this idea would be the Philippians verse, and that's really stretching it. God stays plenty busy with me. I don't think He needs help finding ways in which to sanctify me. No, I'm saying I want to serve, I want to help the congregation in some way, and there are lots of things that need doing that I actually enjoy and do well. Why pick one that will make me miserable?

Well, if it makes you miserable, then maybe you should check your heart. It sounds like you're going into it already determined that you're going to hate it, so of course you will. But what if you looked at it as an opportunity to learn ways to play with your kids, since you might not like games but they will?

If I'm going to be thinking along those lines, I know I'll get depressed. I'd be consciously preparing for something I don't believe will ever happen.

Why on earth would you believe that? When we're delighting in Him, God puts desires in our hearts that will be fulfilled. He's not out to trick you, dangle something in front of you and then say you can't have it.

You sure about that? Cuz I know I've seen things that look an awful lot like He does that sometimes because it was best at the time. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe....

He's a good Father. He's going to give good things to His children.

Yes He will. But how can you be so sure that what you see as good is what He will see as good? You don't know the big picture like He does. You don't always get what you want, no matter how much you want it or believe it was promised to you.

He wouldn't give you desires and then not fulfill them. "It's better to marry than to burn." If you've got that burn in you, then you can rest assured that you'll get married one day.

This is the one that really got me, and it's the third time I've heard that argument used in the last two weeks. You ever notice how the verse starts? "But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry...." There's no assurance there. If you can't practice any self-control, then go ahead and mess up your whole spiritual life because you WOULD be better off taking the route that you think is easier. But if you can stand it, stay away.

Well, I can't stand it!

You don't have any prospects, either. Maybe one day God will be gracious and take that desire away, never having allowed you to find someone to marry.


This is another one of "those things" that I can't find a solid answer for. I wouldn't wish my lack of hope on anyone ever, but the reasons for their hope don't hold any water for me. I'd love to be proven wrong, but the answers are always in the same vein. The way I see it, the issue is not whether or not I should hope to have a family one day, but that I should hope in God's good provision, never knowing how that might look. But I desperately want to hope for something more specific and it frustrates me to hear that people DO... but I can't accept their reason.

Am I missing something again?

2 comments:

tom said...

You asked, so I'm working on an answer. Come see me.

Anonymous said...

a.o. says:

I just put my 8 month old baby (back) to bed (again).

For a long, long time, I didn't hold other people's babies. I was always sincerely happy for their blessings, but in pain for myself. I have a degree in education and found I had no desire to teach because being around children became painful.

Three years ago I finally asked God to give me another dream-- another focus, a new desire of my heart-- if children were never going to happen for us. The desire never did change. It's all in His plan, HIS timing, not ours. That makes where I am right now all the more amazing and glorifying to God.

You know how long this desire took to see its fulfillment. Rest and wait paitently, sweet one.