I don’t want to write today. I don’t want to think about life and why stuff got hard this morning and how to deal. Here’s the thing. We rent our house. We had contacted the management company to get our sink fixed because it was leaking into the cabinet below. The guy came to fix the sink a week or so ago. It seems to be fine now and I haven’t heard from him since. Only this morning, while I was getting ready to wash some dishes, I discovered that 1) our sponge was missing and 2) we had a new stopper in the sink.
In addition to that, the kids have been scaring themselves (and, quite frankly, me) the last couple of days by pretending there is a person hiding in the shadows of our basement. We only moved in here a few weeks ago and they’re not used to having a basement yet, so I’m guessing this is just a way to play with their actual fears that someone might be in the basement. Only, I’m not amused by the game. It creeps me out to think that someone could get in our door, head down the back stairs, and be lurking about down there.
Between their games, which they played multiple rounds of this morning, and the changes to the sink which DH told me he hadn’t made, I had a minor panic attack. It wasn’t so much a heart-racing , shaking-in-my-boots kind, but more “I’m angry at the world because they just can’t stay out of my space.” I felt violated that someone had been in the house unannounced. We’re supposed to have 24 hours’ notice for a non-emergency visit. I got no notice at all. It felt like a huge invasion of privacy as well as making the house feel unsafe.
Emotionally, safety and control are pretty closely linked for me. I feel safe when I feel in control of stuff. If I have the keys to the house and I control who can come in and who can’t, the house feels safe. If random people can come and go without my knowledge, that feels very unsafe.
I understand that, realistically, I’m not in control of much. That’s one of the things God’s been working on in my life. As DH and I tell DD (who is very much like me in personality), we humans are only in control of two things: our attitude and our behavior. I don’t like that, but there it is.
We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us. (John 4:18, TLB)
For about a year between high school and college, I met with an older-than-me Christian woman for mentoring once a week. One of the verses she had me memorize was John 4:18 in the Living Bible translation. That part that gets me every time is the last “we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.”
I had a hard time with this verse 20 years ago because I wasn’t ready to admit that I was not fully convinced that You really love me. Today, I know that’s the truth. I have always had trouble confusing gratitude for love . I am always looking for ways to do things for people so that they will be grateful that I’m around, as though that’s some sort of litmus test indicating their love for me. It doesn’t work that way, though. That’s a good thing, because I can’t do anything for You. There is nothing You need. I can’t provide anything that You don’t already have. Except me. All I have to offer You is myself. But to give myself wholeheartedly to You, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, I have to trust that You really do love me and I have nothing to fear from You.
Trust is a pain in the neck. Even knowing that You offer me security that’s way bigger than I could ever provide myself, even understanding that what I don’t understand is significantly more than what I do, it’s hard for me to just give up the sense of control I keep trying to cling to, thinking it will keep me safe.
In some ways, it’s so easy. I don’t understand how a car works, but I get into one nearly every day. I don’t know most other drivers on the street, yet I trust that they’ll stay on their side of the yellow lines and stop when the light turns red. Even though I know sometimes they won’t. So how come, even after You have proven Yourself trustworthy time and time again, do I find it so much harder to believe You when You tell me that You’ll always be there? Why is it such a struggle to choose to let go and rest in Your provision? When You offer to love me for free, why do I keep trying to earn it?