20 July 2010

Analysis Paralysis and Fearful Forgetting

I hate dilemmas, especially the kind where you feel strongly both ways. Choosing lanes to be in when entering a toll plaza, what line to stand in to be checked out of a store, any type of choice that has variables you cannot control make me crazy. Yes, Virginia, I am a control freak. I also hate multiple guess questions on tests. I can talk myself into and out of all but the most inane answers. I go right into analysis paralysis. I am headed there now.

I am receiving long term disability payments. I am injured and my injury is permanent. Every month I get to guess when my payment is going to arrive. The insurance company mailed a check to me on July 9th. Their office is 1 state away; one eastern size state away. We aren't talking Texas or California... just one teensie tiny little state away. In fact their state borders my state. I have not received the check. I am too broke to pay attention let alone the bills unless and until that check comes. So, do I have them stop payment and issue another check? That will take two business days for the new check to be issued and then I will have the joy of waiting again for the mail which may or may not contain the object of my desire..... because you know..... as soon as they stop payment on the first check.... it will arrive in my mailbox. OR- do I wait just one more day.....and in doing so, waste a whole day and have to wait even longer for the second check to come. Argh! I hate these situations!

Each day I have gone to the mailbox expecting that God will have answered my prayers and the check will be there. Each day I am disappointed. I try to manipulate God unsuccessfully by saying, "You know, Lord, hope deferred makes the heart sick." Never try to manipulate God. He has ways of making you regret such foolishness. For instance, is it a coincidence that I taught a seminar on biblical hope the day I thought the check would arrive? I think not. Is God trying to tell me to live out what I say I believe? Probably. Sometimes, well no... that should be most of the time or um ...actually all of the time... I hate it when He does that. Know what else I hate? I hate that He knows that I know better than to pitch a fit and sulk because that's what I really truly want to do. A good old fashioned temper tantrum of the Sicilian kind sounds like a grand idea. Superb even. But... could I look the ladies I have been teaching about fear and hope in the eye after I did it? Yeah, probably. I have no desire to pretend I am perfect because my imperfections are too massive to disguise. I am honest enough with them to show them just how ugly my heart really is... and I do know what I have been saved from... and although I do have moments of clarity where I am humble, thankful and gracious..... I have more moments when I am not.

Right now there is a storm brewing. Thunder is rolling across the hills and my bright yellow sunflowers look like they are made of neon against the black of the stormy sky. If I didn't think I deserve to be hit with one of the lightning bolts that are stabbing through the clouds and strobing light in all directions, I would go take a picture of them. Alas, for now it's a beauty only God and I will share. These are the decisions I prefer because they are easy to make, like not going out in the storm. Others make me crazy because no matter what I choose, like which check out line to be in at the store or whether or not the insurance company should issue a new check, it will invariably be wrong.

One time I was at Home Depot trying to buy a pot for my African violets. I stood in line to be checked out and for some reason the one customer before me had issues. Issues of the stop everything kind. Issues that befuddled the cashier, her supervisor and the store manager. After waiting in line for some time I turned around to the woman behind me and said as I pointed to myself, "Look at this face and remember it." She raised an eyebrow in a quizzical fashion and I continued, "If you ever again see this face in line before you, you should recognize it and get into another line as soon as possible." We laughed together and chatted about funny things the way two strangers bonded in adversity often do. I finally made my purchase and waved to her, pointing to my face one more time as I left the store.

A couple of hours later I was still running errands and this time I was in WalMart. It was a typical busy Saturday and I was trying to wait patiently in the ever lengthening line when from somewhere behind me I heard, "Oh no!" I turned and looked and it was my Home Depot friend. She started laughing as she grabbed her husband and her cart and went looking for another line to stand in. We both laughed hysterically as we caught glimpses of one another over the candy bars and other impulse items you find in check out lines. We were quite the sight, especially as she and her husband walked past my line with their bagged items on the way out of the store. I pointed at myself one last time and said, "Remember!"

"Remember!" and, Fear not!" are the two of the most common commands given to us in the Word. Why? Because God knows we are fearful forgetters. If we do not meditate on all the ways that God has been faithful to us in the past, we are losing out on huge spiritual growth and blessings. I actually taught that to the women in our bible study. Sneaky, clever God. Nice of you to bring that up and convict me before my attitude really suffered and I continued to sin. "Repent!" is another of those oft given commands. I need to take my own medicine. I will purpose to remember all His benefits when I make my trek to the mailbox tomorrow, hoping not in the insurance company or the USPS but in His care and providence and I will strive to be content no matter what the postman brings.

Psalm 103:1-6
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, {bless} His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things, {so that} your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The LORD performs righteous deeds, and judgments for all who are oppressed.

Joshua 4:1-7
1 Now it came about when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,
2 "Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe,
3 and command them, saying, 'Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight. '"
4 So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe;
5 and Joshua said to them, "Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel.
6 "Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?'
7 then you shall say to them, 'Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.' So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever."

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