Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Breaking Down Babel

In December, God healed me of back pain by convicting me of sin. I asked for prayer for healing from physical pain, and God answered by showing how my  patterns of control and anxiety were causing me physical pain. My "white knuckled" approach to life had actually caused the muscles in my back to tense up as well. Looking back, it makes perfect medical sense; the whole point of sin, however, is that we're blinded to it and its effect in our lives. 

Over Christmas and the month of January, which was less complex and hectic, I felt "successful" in living a new way-- more relaxed, more OK with not being in control. But as of Monday, the spring semester has officially started, and my old patterns have proved themselves to be alive and well in my heart. In many ways, this semester will be a season of transition-- it will take time to unlearn the "white knuckled" way of life. 

This past week, a friend who recently gave up his job to plant a church came for dinner and described his current season in a similar way. He said his tendency is to construct a world in which dependence on God is not necessary. "I can manage, I've got it under control, I've mapped everything out and I can take care of it." He said that lately, he's been realizing that God will crush every brick in that self-constructed Babel. We were created to be dependent creatures-- we are dependent-- and God is good to shatter the illusion that we aren't. He is good to show that the false gods we actually do depend on (whether we realize it or not) are just that; false!-- and that a truly safe life is a life of trusting in Him alone. 

Tonight, I found myself knee deep in this pattern of trying to "manage" apart from God. Day two of the spring semester, I was already throwing up my hands in defeat. "I know this way is not good or right, and yet I'm still walking in it." I asked God to show me what I couldn't see-- how I had gotten here again, what lie I had believed and followed down this path of anxiety. As I prayed, I realized that what I desperately wanted tonight-- and was trying to protect at all costs-- was an opportunity to "relax." I was stressed, had a lot of work ahead, and was not in the mood to do it all. I decided "relaxation", which I had defined tonight as a clean house (accomplished magically without housework) and a movie. 

As I prayed, I realized I was depending on that as my hope instead of the Lord. I realized I had chosen to manage my own life-- to construct a world in which dependence on God wasn't necessary-- by depending on relaxation to get me through a difficult week instead of depending on God, my loving Father, to get me through a difficult week. Is relaxation bad? Does God not want me to enjoy movies and bubble baths? No. But are they false gods, unable to really sustain me through difficulty? Yes. My God is loving to point that out to me. He is good to expose the lie and bring healing. 

Tonight, I'm practicing dependence on the Lord-- instead of on relaxation-- to get me through a difficult night. I'm finding that it's actually quite relaxing. 


Enjoying the Journey SUMMER 2009 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah Guerra said...

Wow, such a great reminder of what it means to rest in the Lord. I was convicted of the same thing as I read this. Thanks for sharing, Hannah!