Happy Little Accidents

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Over the years, I have enjoyed a variety of artistic pursuits. There’s a collection of rubber stamps, masses of paper, enough balls of yarn to wrap around the globe and then some. There’s a host of discarded craft supplies scattered about, piled in the nooks and crannies where I live. You name it, I’ve probably tried it.

As a young girl, I watched my grandmother crochet. Later, in my adult years, this therapeutic skill came out of me like someone with multiple personalities. I didn’t even recognize at the time, that it was my grandmother who inspired me. I started with making chains – a long, worm-like single row of stitches. There really was no use for these fascinating spirals. But, until I purchased the instruction books and learned some basic terms, that’s all I could do.

Because I tried winging it.

With every new craft or hobby, I struggle through repeated attempts to master the task before me by osmosis, or something like that. All becasuse I want to do it myself, figure it out. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a man-thing, this aversion to using instructions. That’s me.

Sometimes there are, as Bob Ross said, “happy little accidents”. But more often than not, it’s a disaster. There are wasted supplies. And time. The hours upon hours that my beautiful messes have occupied the kitchen table, resulting in dinners served on the couch. Beautiful messes that give birth to creations that sit on a shelf and remind me of my failings each time I walk by.

Happy little accidents are welcome in artistic endeavors. In art, that’s how you discover new things, express yourself. In real life situations, not so much. In fact, when I “wing it” and make decisions based on my emotions in the moment, or without using the wisdom I’ve learned from God, it never turns out well. It’s not happy. It looks more like a plain ole accident. It’s chaotic and brings with it regrets. And pain. More pain.

When I…when we step outside of the protective umbrella of the Lord’s wisdom and discretion and try to fix things without His strength – it’s simply foolish. Trying to make life work on our own creates or makes worse an ugly mess.

Proverbs 3 makes it clear that if we will “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” by acknowledging our need for His wisdom and direction, He will “make your paths straight.” Taking all that I know of God’s character, this just sums it all up for me. I can trust Him to guide me, to be my strength when I am weak, to calm my anxious heart when I’m at a loss for what to do next. He repeatedly assures me that He has my best interest at heart and is the help I need, if I will just ask.

Winging it should not be an option. Staying close to the great I AM will, without a doubt, create much better results than you or  I could ever imagine. He’s even given us, a very throrough and loving instruction book. The bible is not that confusing booklet with A’s and B’s that don’t match up and leave us frustrated and slamming tools to the ground.

God’s words to us demonstrate His love for us and how we can walk alongside Him in that love, using it to shape our lives and prepare us for sharing it with others who can’t wing it either.

And that… loving the unlovely, facing rejection, seeking and offering forgiveness, reconciliation and regeneration, interceding, healing…that I can’t do on my own.

We can’t do any of it on our own. That’s the starting point. It’s the beginning of a beautiful project. No happy little accidents. No winging it.

No happy little accidents. But a big, abundant, on-purpose life with no left-overs to discard or deem failures. Everything redeemed. All of it beautiful. All.

 

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imageI grow weary. I admit it. I do. With the big things, and sometimes…just the everyday mundane things.

The bible says, in Galations 6:9, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don’t give up.” ESV

Sometimes, it’s hard to hang on, to not give up.  Often, I feel like I’m doing life all by myself. It seems like I’m the only one who sees the danger ahead. Or feels the weight of bad decisions. Doesn’t anyone else care? This burden is too heavy to carry alone. That pain is too hard to deal with any longer.

You know those hard things that have happened to you? Those times in your life when you felt like giving up? That heartache that persists, and pursues you?

The disappointment. The bondage. Darkness. Burdens. Bad news. Pain. Defeat. All of it. You know what? Someone else has felt it too.

Many others have gone through THAT exact thing. It’s true! How silly –  how narrow-minded of me, to think that these trials are unique to only ONE person. Me. My story.

The story of your life, of my life, is built on thousands and thousands of moments. The details are personal and special only to you and to me. The timeline of my life won’t be the same as anyone else’s. But many of the emotional experiences, the good and bad, will be shared by countless other humans, all made by the same God.

We, as individuals, created in the image of God, with all of our quirks, habits and flaws…with our free will, we all have our own story. However, within the chapters of our story there are these moments that we encounter, that we pass through, that others will too.

And thus lies the point that our stories intersect.

Your life, my life…these very different stories arcing out into these intricate patterns that at various points along the lines will meet, will overlap and travel a perpindulcar path.

You, as unique that you are and possibly leading a radically different life than I am will feel a similar way, with an emotion that I will feel too. You will go through something that many before you have also been through. Others have had the same sorrows that I do.

I have felt overwhelmed about situations that didn’t go according to how I planned. I have squirmed with the consequences of unwise choices. And my life is not what I  had envisioned it would be like.

Maybe you feel that too? Maybe you are stalled there.

Anger, confusion, loss from a divorce? You are not alone. There are other souls nearby who have been in the thick of it and come out on the other side to find healing, peace and joy.

Grieving the death of your dream, shocked by an offense, disappointed by your child’s choices? You’re not the first one to feel that pain. You’re not the only one who is weary in the struggle. Others around you have been in your shoes and also tasted victory in the Lord.

Reach out to let them show you how. Let people into your story. Reach out and show others how the Lord can bring victory in their story too.

This embodies the reason to see every season in our life as a lesson. From the lessons, we can learn, grow, adapt, conquer. God will walk with us and show us His might in our situation, as we study, listen and wait on Him.  And what we learn, can….no, must..be shared with others. We must help each other. That’s how God designed our stories to work, to benefit each other. This brings glory to Him, this sharing. This is the meaning and purpose of community. This is Philippians 2 lived out as part of our story.

These intersections are where the the transfer happens – of God’s power from one child to another. Empowerment in the holy realm.

Look around you today. As a trained soldier in the Lord’s army, as a seasoned veteran, there are many souls out there about to go under, ready to give up. You have what it takes to point them to the One who can save them. Look around you weary warrior, for victorious brethren who have already been on the course that you are struggling on. Ask and receive the tools that will renew your strength, be your strength, get you through to see joy again.

We each have our own story, but we have the privilege and responsibility to step into the stories of those around us.  Whether we realize it or not, there is a dependence – I depend on you, you depend on me – to share what God reveals and teaches. His victory in your life,  and my life, is necessary for someone else to make it to their next chapter.