Thursday, April 24, 2008

On fear and high school orientation

Yesterday I attended a HIGH SCHOOL orientation because, strangely enough, my oldest son will somehow be in HIGH SCHOOL next year.

Hello? How is that possible?

We received all sorts of (very confusing) information regarding tracks and diplomas and electives, in addition to a four year plan to be filled out and submitted next Friday.

Did you catch that? A FOUR. YEAR. PLAN.

Just four years and my boy, my number one baby, my firstborn will be a man, a graduate, a grown up (we hope). Good grief, four years ago was like, well, yesterday. Which leads me to believe the next four years will be like, well, tomorrow.

How is that possible?

In Bible study Monday night we went around the table, each of us sharing something we have feared. Spiders, tornadoes, and financial instability were named, as well as rejection and public speaking. Here are some of my fears:

Rejection.
Failure.
Inadequacy.

And yesterday as I drove home from the orientation I was overcome by what is perhaps my biggest fear of all: I am afraid of missing God's plan for me. I fear my tendency to fritter away my days. I fear standing before the Lord and hearing Him say "This is what I had for you and instead you chose to sit on the sofa."

Take yesterday for instance. I piddled around the house, I cleaned up the kitchen and "mopped" (I'm not sure the Swiffer wet jet counts as real mopping). I took a shower and went to the orientation. I read some blogs and posted a silly "What I Learned On Spring Break" post. I sat in car line. I did laundry. I taught young girls about missions with more irritation than affection. I watched American Idol (and was greatly relieved that Brooke was safe). Was this God's will for me? That day is gone; I cannot have it back. Did I redeem the time? Did I make the most of every opportunity? Did I live for my Lord or myself?

There's nothing quite like waking up one morning and realizing your oldest son is about to enter high school to make you realize how quickly time passes. Life doesn't slow down; quite the contrary. It hurtles forward with jet force propulsion. As I glance back, I see my mistakes and lost opportunities. I see all I did and didn't do, all I should have and shouldn't have done. Good decisions and dumb decisions. Times of walking with the Lord and times of rebellion. Those days, all of them, are gone.

I'm not trying to be all spiritual when I tell you that it is my sincere desire to live for the glory of God and God alone. In all honesty, I want to be found faithful to His call.

But I know myself. I know how selfish and self centered and self consumed I am. I know that sometimes my self is so loud that I do not hear, or heed, the voice of my Lord. I know that many, maybe most, of my days are frittered away in self indulgence.

Something my pastor said this past Sunday has been ringing in my mind ever since:

We are afraid because we know who we are.
I am afraid of rejection and failure because I know who I am, I know I can't measure up. By the same token, I fear missing all that God wants and desires for me because I know who I am. I know my sinfulness, my depravity and my inadequacy. I know them well. Instead, I need to remember Who He is, "your shield, your very great reward," as the Lord tells Abram. And me. Knowing Who He is will radically change the way I live:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps. 27:1)
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear... (Ps. 46:1-2)
God is...therefore...whom shall I fear? The Lord remembers I am dust. He knows I am weak and it is in my weakness that He shows Himself strong. I need not fear because the One who has called me is faithful and He will do it. God is, therefore I will not fear! He is my shield! He is the very great reward, the true Treasure of this life! May I fix my eyes on Jesus, knowing He is the Author and Perfector of my faith!
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
(Luke 12:32)

20 comments:

  1. I needed this today! I am juggling some worries that I must let go. May I not focus on the obstacles before me, but rather on the Power behind me.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. Your post really made me think about my own life.
    Some serious soul searching needs to take place!

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  3. I needed this today, too. I am in the midst of, well, I don't know what to call it, not exactly a depression but definitely a slump. I don't want to fritter away my life, either. I want so much to be found faithful. And yet I waste so much time sitting on the sofa - literally and figuratively. May I learn to focus on what really matters!

    Thanks for what you shared here.

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  4. Lisa:

    I believe everyone goes through what you have mentioned, but let me reassure you, your time hasn't been wasted on your eldest. The conversations we have on the bike realize that children CAN be brought up in this world in a godly manner. You should be proud.

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  5. I waste a LOT of time. Then I moan and have a pity party (SELF-pity) when I don't feel like I'm fulfilling God's call for my life...if I've even found it.

    Like all the other commenters, I needed to read this! Thanks for being obedient.

    On another note...AI isn't really a waste of time, is it? All kidding aside, I've stopped watching the results show. I listen while I'm doing something else, and pop in for the last 5 minutes. And I was so glad Brooke was safe!

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  6. I loved this post!!! I've been lurking on your blog for awhile, your posts are always thought provoking and encouraging.
    Thanks for sharing, I needed to hear this.

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  7. It is so funny this is your post today as mine today is abut my oldest going off to college next year. I SO undrstand. Hang in there mom! I'd like to say it gets easier. It doesn't. But God is with us every step of the way!

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  8. Did you just creep into my head and write my thoughts??? I guess not b/c I don't have a teenage son, but everything else could have been ME!

    Thanks for sharing, sister, and stirring us to live for HIM alone, not wasting one single moment!!!

    I came home the other night to an email that had me all wound up in fear - fear of rejection, failure, and not living the way God has called me to live. Yep, you pretty much summed it up!

    Oh Lord, grant us the grace to listen to you that we might hear you leading us through our day that we might bring you the most glory in every day!

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  9. You have rung some bells today, sister. We're getting our boy's first year of high school under our belt now, and it is mind-boggling that we are at this stage. And those fears you listed for yourself could be on my blog just as easily.

    (And BTW, I do get a little annoyed that they practically act like the kids have to declare a major when they are making out their high school schedules!)

    I know from reading your posts that God is going to say "Well done, good and faithful servant."

    Thanks for your transparency.

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  10. There is nothing like your oldest entering high school that make you ponder the quick passage of time. I'm sorta sitting in the same boat again with my oldest graduating. Where did the time go?

    I know I could make much more effective use of my time, sometimes I get stuck in the rut of everyday or being too busy. But is the busyness of the Lord is the question I need to ask myself.

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  11. You write very honestly, which I admire. These are thoughts I spend much time on each year when my birthday rolls around and again on New Year.

    Its so hard to remember that we are "but a vapor" when we get caught up in living our own lives. I'm with you...I want to be part of things that glorify God!

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  12. You've reminded me of my purpose today, Lisa. Just to love well. Thank you.

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  13. Wow. I too wonder if I am missing the big picture. Between the diaper changes and the baths and the meal preps and the business of life, I often go to bed and wonder what happend to the day. I guess I feel as if I really don't take the time to realize His plan for me TODAY. I just pray that when MY time comes to stand before Him, that I was faithful. (and I secretly hope that raising my babies is what He would have me do in this moment and that He understands the commitment I feel to them. I know He will for HE created me and put the longing to be a stay at home mom in my heart.)
    Sorry for rambling but you got me thinking

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  14. Lisa, your words today made me think and cry....this week has been most difficult, starting on Monday with a Personnel evaluation that gave me the same score that I received a year ago...Pardon me, but does that mean a whole year with no improvement - I think it does....I wailed this to RA - who said that the score was an excellent score and that I needed to look at the bigger picture....well that bigger picture is what I received from your words today...and that is what I am striving for....I know that you are not fishing for compliments, but as for being on the outside looking in....I see God using your "fantastic 4" in mighty and powerful ways....my prayer is that I can be and do what I need to be and do..yes, found faithful in my work, in my parenting and most of all in my service to HIM...

    I love you more...

    MdA

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  15. Wow Lisa, great stuff. I am a master fritterer of days and I am often struck with that same fear (usually at 2 a.m.) -- What if I'm really missing out? What if I've frittered too many days?

    Thanks for your honesty, and for the encouragement.

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  16. Great post Lisa!
    I too want to glorify Him with my life and ask the same questions.

    I'm also thrilled that Brooke is safe another week!

    Sue

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  17. Seriously Lisa, have you been in my head...

    There are so many things I can relate to in this post it is not even funny.

    #1 being that last week I went to my oldest son's High School Orientation as well (class of 2012, eek!) where he signed up for his MAJOR (Pre-Med) (we never did that when I was in high school) and we walked around the school (holy smokes it's big...there are something like 2500 high schoolers there).

    The fears are also something I can relate too...1) because I know ME, and 2) because I know HIM. I know He has a great big plan for my life and it scares the bejeebee's out of me.

    Thanks for your transparency...I love it!

    Melissa

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  18. Wow. I too wonder if I am missing the big picture. Between the diaper changes and the baths and the meal preps and the business of life, I often go to bed and wonder what happend to the day. I guess I feel as if I really don't take the time to realize His plan for me TODAY. I just pray that when MY time comes to stand before Him, that I was faithful. (and I secretly hope that raising my babies is what He would have me do in this moment and that He understands the commitment I feel to them. I know He will for HE created me and put the longing to be a stay at home mom in my heart.)
    Sorry for rambling but you got me thinking

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  19. You've reminded me of my purpose today, Lisa. Just to love well. Thank you.

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  20. I waste a LOT of time. Then I moan and have a pity party (SELF-pity) when I don't feel like I'm fulfilling God's call for my life...if I've even found it.

    Like all the other commenters, I needed to read this! Thanks for being obedient.

    On another note...AI isn't really a waste of time, is it? All kidding aside, I've stopped watching the results show. I listen while I'm doing something else, and pop in for the last 5 minutes. And I was so glad Brooke was safe!

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