So it’s true. I’ve always been a bit stubborn. Most of the time, knowingly and overtly to whatever or whomever is in the way of the thing I want to do, be, or accomplish. Most of the time it isn’t entirely all that selfish (or at least that’s what I like to tell myself) as it is the tenacity to survive or to accomplish something someone says I won’t. Sometimes they are small things like moving a couch, a file cabinet (yes I moved this one by running into it with my shoulder until I got it where I wanted it and swore at it the entire way across the condo — not my proudest moment) or bigger things like completing a stint in a national service program after I had death threats and a broken nose or walking 26 miles all over NY over a week with my sister because I wanted to experience it like my sister was – not impeded by my physical challenges that slow me down in places like Disneyland or Six Flags. I wanted to not fall to the siren’s call of the waiting taxi on every corner, not sure of what we’d be sitting in, how quickly we’d get somewhere or how much lighter our pockets would be at the end of it all.
But other times, I find myself inadvertently stubborn — and those are the times that nearly stop my heart. Times that you think you are listening, have convinced yourself you are ever, and then days or weeks later you re-examine the advice and realize that you were ever so wrong. What you once dismissed as someone’s two cents was actually sage advice and you were just too stubborn to see it. Not listening gave you the excuse to ignore your fear in the corner. You know it — the one that was driving you on to overlook what the person said?
I had this moment a few weeks ago when I was advised by a VERY wise woman that i needed to sever ties in a particular relationship before I moved on to the next stage of my life. I was sitting there proud of myself because recently I had actually found my “voice” and bravery — decided to walk on in the prompting of the Lord to continue my journey in the place my heart had always called home even though I was never born nor raised there. And yet, I refused to give up some of the ties to the place using the excuse that I could not abandon them. How would they do it without me? Could they find a way? I knew how to remote so I’d continue to help from afar, just not sitting in the chair. Still steering the ship, just sitting from a more remote seat.
And since I’ve been gone, we have had more than one conversation about how he needs and wants an actual someone in the office. How he is scared and it feels out of control to him without someone sitting in the actual seat to guide him. My initial knee jerk reaction is to assure him that we can do this, all we need is a bit of smoothing out. To assure him that the Lord is in it and will help us set it right.
And then, this morning in the midst of a shower, I got corrected. I was correct on one count. He is in it…but I am not the one to bring the solution. I was operating in fear and hanging onto this hand in the job, veiling my help as a solution for him. It isn’t a solution for him, it is a crutch for me. I can never walk on in the future with the past hanging desperately to my neck.
I don’t advise you try walking with things clinging to you, I bet it’s happened to you if you had something or someone you have loved — it’s normally with a kid who doesn’t want you to leave somewhere and so they cling desperately to anything they can make solid contact with and hang on for dear life. Sadly, some of you may have also experienced it with romantic partners as they cannot imagine their life without you … I did and his hands somehow managed to land squarely around my throat until he decided that wasn’t working and switched it up a bit and tried to punch the life out of me — that’s another story for another day(Side note: If this is close to home for you you, there are lots of amazing resources some of which can be found here).
And so, this morning the Lord challenged me — how did I plan to walk on to new doors with one hand still on the exterior door of my old life? My arms are only so long so eventually I would have to make a choice. Go back to the “old house” and live the “old life” or trust His path for me. Set him down lightly, assure him that I hear what he is saying and give him suggestions on where to find the next girl for the seat. Trust that, the financial gap that will be left by the leaving will be filled by Him (I am reminded of the great “Do Not Worry” Bible verse Matthew 6:25 -34). Trust that moving on means REALLY moving on, not just beating our chest when we make some small victory. He is all for celebration of these successes and rejoices with us, but also knows the greatness He has called us to beyond the things we ever imagine for ourselves.
..and suddenly, I see the tremendous wisdom in her words spoken not so long ago and laugh at myself for being so inadvertently stubborn.
What issues do you hang on to like a life raft in a whipping sea? Do you believe that He has your back some of the time or all of the time? If you believed all of the time how would that change the life that you are living? What choices that you are making might look different if you could stand on that belief in practice and not just in word? What would it take for you to take your hand off of the door knob? What is the pay off for hanging onto it?