I’ve had a lot of thoughts going through my head lately that I feel like I need to write about. I guess for starters I’ll say, this a post about my faith. Or at this point, lack of faith. I have doubts. Not in the fact that God is real, or in the fact that he loves me. It’s just that sometimes, despite all the assurances I get to the contrary, I doubt that everything’s going to turn out for my best. And lately, with the vast array of disappointments that seem to barrage me, these doubts seem to be getting stronger.
I’m just being honest here. It’s hard to believe in something you have never seen, and if anyone here who claims the same Christian faith as I do can tell me they’ve never had doubts about anything, I respectfully call B.S. It used to bug me so much in the various Christian circles I have been in, when we’d have “sharing time”. If you’ve ever been in any sort of Bible study group, you know what I’m talking about. The leader will ask a difficult question about a struggle you’ve had. Every answer is always about a past struggle. Usually sanitized so people wouldn’t think any less of your faith.
“Well, back a few years ago, I felt like…… [insert negative things about some situation that I’ve gotten over already]. But God used that to teach me [insert some platitudes about Christian faith], and I don’t feel that way anymore!”
Of course not, because now I’m a strong person and I have no doubts, and so no reason to be mad/sad/frustrated with God! Of course not, because that might make me look like less of the SuperChristian I want everyone to think I am! I have it all together!
I have been guilty of this myself in the past. Many, many times. But I am not a SuperChristian, and I don’t mind saying that anymore. I do not have it all together, nor do I ever want to pretend that I do. And it pisses me off that more people can’t admit it when they are struggling. You can’t have it all together all the time, and it bothers me when people pretend they do. Jesus had the harshest words for the people who pretended they were perfect. He came to help those who can admit that they are a hot mess, and don’t want to be anymore. He can’t help those who don’t think they need it.
Right now I am a hot mess, and I need help. This might be too personal, but I don’t care.
So, the other day, something really upset me. What that was, I’m not getting into. But I’ve been waiting for something, and it didn’t happen and it put me in a terrible mood. I cried about it on the phone to my best friend, and in the course of this conversation, he said to me, “It’s not your time yet.” And a lot of thoughts went through my head after he said that. The top one being, why can’t it be my time yet? Why do I always have to wait? Not just for this, but for many things. I told him, “It seems like it’s never my time. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern. I’m running my wheels in the mud, and haven’t moved much since this time last year. I’ve put in a lot of effort and there’s nothing much to show for it.”
We began to talk about praying, and it occurred to me what my problem might be. There is a verse in the Bible, in the book of James, that says, “You don’t get what you ask for because you ask with the wrong motives. You want what you want when you want it because you think it’ll make you happy.” (I’m paraphrasing.) And it hit me that this might be me. It is me. It’s always been me. I have my little Santa Claus list of stuff I want, that I ask God for because it’ll all make me happy. I think about the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray though. The first request in the prayer is, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” My tendency is more like, “My kingdom (or ‘time’, as my friend put it) come, my will be done on earth. Heaven’s a long way away, so God can have his due there.” And grudgingly, I admit that it’s the wrong thing to ask for.
But here is the thing with that. Sure, I can ask for Thy Will Be Done. But what if it’s not what I want? What if it keeps making me as miserable as I am right now? What if God is just sadistic and wants me to be here, always in this holding pattern? Always waiting and hoping for something that will never come to be. I doubt so often that God is really good because his will seems to disappoint me so much of the time.
I’m beginning to see a difference between “Thy will” and “my will” though. My will may or may not be good. Thy will is, supposedly, all good. I don’t always believe that though.
My will may or may not happen. Thy will always happens. It’s supposed to make me the most fulfilled. I don’t always believe that either.
Asking for my will is begging, like when I was a kid and wanted a certain toy from my parents. Asking for thy will is essentially humbling myself and saying I won’t argue anymore when my will doesn’t happen in favor of thy will.
Asking for my will means making myself God. Asking for thy will admits I can’t be God.
It’s like that scene in Bruce Almighty, when Bruce realizes he doesn’t do the God thing as well as God does it. He kneels down in the middle of the street and yells, “I surrender to your will!” And then he promptly gets hit by a truck. That’s about how I feel right now. Thy will be done, God. Please don’t let the truck kill me in the process.
I will grudgingly fake it till I make it. Because one blog post is not going to get rid of my doubts. It just organizes them and lays them out for the entire population of this planet to see and judge me on. Even though I don’t want to, I will pray Thy Will Be Done.
Even though I might not like the outcome, Thy Will Be Done.
Even though I don’t always trust that it’s going to work out for my good, Thy Will Be Done.
Even though I feel as though “he takes and he takes and he takes” (to quote the great theologian Sufjan Stevens), Thy Will Be Done.
Even though I think my heart is about to break inside my chest, Thy Will Be Done.
Even though I am tired, and lonely, and so over the struggle, the waiting, the sometimes blind faith, the unfulfilled hopes, and the love that seems so one-sided, Thy Will Be Done.
I surrender to Thy Will. Because really, what else is there?