Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Surrendering Plans

      A new friend recently asked me to describe my perfect day, five years' from now. I hope it's a good thing that it took me ages to decide on, because really, I've no idea and on the whole I don't massively care. Last year in so many ways showed me what is important and what isn't worth worrying about (FYI - hope = important, tattoos = not worth worrying about - hence the 'hope' tattoo). Yes, I do still cling onto the idols of comfort and health and happiness, and trust that God will refine me - (although, let's be honest, that's not often massive 'fun'), so that I can truly say I only need Him.
    But, that aside - it's quite liberating to not be bound by my own Five Year Plan. It is, I suppose, part of what I'm sloo-oo-oo-wly trying to get into my head about Surrender. Like, real surrender. Like singing "I surrender all", and actually truly meaning it and, what's more, seeking to live it after the Sunday service has finished. Obviously, no one likes surrendering. We could also call it 'relinquishing control' which , as Monica from Friends points out, "is just a fancy word for 'lose'".

   And I'm not writing this blog because I am any kind of expert at surrender - I'm so, so not. OCD plus general control-freak personality means I like to plan my day, have  a routine, and Know Where I Am Headed. And yet for so many people of my age, this is the most uncertain times we've faced. 

  Surrender should be, as I said in my last post, knowing that the One who holds my future is also the One who holds the stars in their place. Sometimes, surrender may be as basic as recognising that I'm not God; and that God is not a malevolent puppeteer out to ruin my life. He is, however, in control; maybe surrender is accepting that we aren't.

Eurgh, what a horrible thought! (Because obviously, when I am 'in control' everything in life goes swimmingly). HA.

   My 'surrendering' to God means saying it's okay if I lose my job, or if I never get married. Our twisted mindsets can make us decide that with the fear of losing this stuff, it's safer to take our lives in our own hands.

    My friends and wider Facebook community (on the whole) appear to be getting engaged so rapidly that I will soon be able to count my single friends on two hands. This is wonderful, but can make me feel slightly unfashionable in the current trend. Control Freak Thea's brain tells me, if I don't take things into my own hands - take 'control' - I'll be 'Left on the Shelf'.

    The other part - the Still, Small Voice - not only reminds me how futile it is to try to manipulate God's plans whilst claiming surrender - but reminds me of the Faithful Father I have. A Father who is compassionate, who sees my hopes and dreams and doesn't laugh at them (well, except maybe that one about the Volkswagen Beetle).

    And no, that doesn't mean I'll enjoy perfect health, or get married, or own my own home. It does mean, however, that I have already received the most precious gift, the answer to all my hopes and dreams, who will forever satisfy. This one - "who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all" (Romans 8:32) - He's the One who watches my steps and guides my path. And in uncertainty, fear and the absence of a Five-Year plan, surrender suddenly seems like a beautiful option.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Autumn Routines

It’s a wonder how quickly randomness turns to routine, even faster than the leaves turning orange and brown and the sunshine bowing out for another year.

Even since my last post, things seem to have moved on rather a lot. I’m ‘settled’, I think it’s safe to say, although how long it will take to be truly settled, and how one measures that, may be rather harder to ascertain  But I do feel settled and happy; London’s an amazing city and I love that I have so much more to explore yet. 

My own Bridget Jones comparisons haven’t stopped - I’ve made a number of stuff-ups at work, and although my skirts are considerably longer and I’m not yet overweight, I am heading that way. Healthy-eating rears its head for the occasional lunchbreak before being silenced by chocolate cravings on a Tuesday afternoon.

I still don’t know where I’m going, where life is heading, and still, that’s okay. I know it’s being guided by the One who holds the sun and the stars in place- what an incredible thought. I have to remind myself of that all the time; that I’m right here doing what I’m doing for a reason, whether I know what it is or not.

And so, this is the pattern that each day takes- attempting to live it for God’s glory, praying that He will make beautiful things from my mistakes, clumsiness and weak efforts.