Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I think I've known for many years that one of the keys to a contented life is through acceptance. Back in my married years, I attended several Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings. One of the things that really stuck with me is the Serenity Prayer. You know:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

As a new Christian, I read an awesome book by Hannah Hurnard: Hinds Feet on High Places. This allegory drawn from the third chapter of Habakkuk follows the journey of Much Afraid as she travels with the Shepherd. At one point, in the desert, she meets a little flower which pushed through the dry, almost concrete-like earth to bloom, all by itself. The flower introduces itself as Acceptance with Joy. It was able to thrive despite its circumstances. Out of the entire book, that is the only part I remember. It struck me then, and obviously, is still with me.

But, on so many levels, acceptance just feels wrong. As an American (as you know, we are pioneers), as an "enlightened" woman, and even as a Christian, I can find rationale for fighting badness - for kicking against the goads as God accused Paul. Doesn't the Bible say not to be overcome by the darkness, but to overcome evil with good? How does that jibe with acceptance? Acceptance feels like giving up. It feels like surrender. Which, I guess, it is.

What I'm maybe starting to grasp - maybe - is that is a both/and thing. Yes, our Creator hard-wired us to rise up against injustice, that's part of being an image-bearer of Him. To hate wrong doers, to protest on behalf of the innocent. It's very scriptural, too. Just check out the Psalms.

However, ultimately, if we believe He is our Lord and that the earth is His and all the fullness thereof . . . then it only makes sense to do what we can, but leave the rest to Him. My problem is with the leaving the rest part.

I am seeing that I tend to push and push and push some more. I get a cause fixed in my mind, decide it's good (which they usually are), and then go full speed ahead. The trouble is, even if I started out doing a job for God, I stop asking Him for guidance, provision, and most importantly, I stop asking Him if this is what He has for me to do. Just because something is good and needful doesn't make it my job. Ouch.

Super-ouch because I've had to utterly fail in order to get the point a few times. I've lost homes, money, friends. . . I have a very thick skull, apparently.

Lisa the Therapist is working with me to fix this. She talks a lot about acceptance: accepting my past, accepting my present, accepting my future. It shapes out like this: I need to accept reality - how I feel about stuff, damage that I've done, damage that's been done to me. . . I'm learning to say, "I cannot change this. I will never have (fill in the blank)", or "I may never have (fill in the blank)." And further, as a Christian, that God may never fix this or change that. He may never give me the outcome I want and am convinced I need.

Can I be okay with that? If nothing ever changes, if I never see justice done here on earth, if I never get my deepest desires, will I still belong to Him and trust Him? Will I still believe? Will I believe that He is good?

Or will I turn my back on Him, pouting and sullen because He didn't do things my way?

If I am convinced that He is God, the Creator of universes, time, matter. . . how can I possibly be so sure that I know anything at all, let alone what's best for me and the rest of the world? There's a passage in Job that says it well:

Then Job replied to the LORD:
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, "Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?"
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

You said "Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me."
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.

Job 42: 1-6 NIV

I'm hopeful that I will get better at accepting. 'Cause endlessly struggling and striving has tuckered me out. I need a vacation. Anyone available to babysit?

1 comment:

  1. again you just blow me away! your honesty is amazing. It's great/refreshing to read. I really enjoy reading your blogs and you hit home on so many points - can't imagine a mom out there that couldn't relate at least a little! Please keep writing, I sure do look forward to reading your blog!