It’s time for a confession:
I am a paranoid perfectionist. Yikes. That does not sound pretty. Well, it ain’t! (In fact, the perfectionist in me is having a very difficult time not removing that “ain’t.”)
I am one of those mothers who focuses on getting it right. I lie awake at night regretting words misspoken, time misspent, and attention misdirected. Comparing myself to the “experts” of Christian parenting, I see myself falling short, and soon battle the uphill struggle to catch up, measure up, straighten up, but I just can’t get it right. How will my failings affect my children?
What to do…what to do…?
When medical concerns come up (about every 15 minutes), I bolster my immune system, analyze medical records, dwell, dwell, dwell on every symptom in every family member, and settle into a pattern of anxiety bordering on panic. To whom should I listen? Where should I turn? What should I do?
Whom to trust…whom to trust…?
When financial issues arise, I struggle with my inadequacies. I seek to support and help my husband, but how? Should I step into this arena, head down that avenue, or tap this skill?
Where to turn…where to turn…?
In short, I have an exhausting mental character flaw that makes life a little more murky than it needs to be.
In steps God.
I have been wading my way through the mire of catastrophic oracles that make up the first half of Isaiah. Not being blessed with a naturally optimistic and laid back disposition, I have not found these prophecies of doom particularly uplifting. In fact, I noticed myself dragging my feet en route to the nice dent in the sofa I claim as my own during my early morning Bible studies. I even stopped reading completely for a while, stuck somewhere between An Oracle Against Damascus and A Prophecy Against Cush. After all, I justified to my Lord, I come to You seeking comfort. I already know how bad I am and what I deserve. What I need is an overdose of Grace or some straightforward direction in the form of writing on the wall…and I’m not getting it. (For future reference, I don’t recommend telling God what you think you need. You just might get your own oracle.)
I brought my concerns to my husband. His wisdom, as usual, surpassed my own as he reminded me yet again not to underestimate the power of God. I know, I know…but did I really know?
Finally, I prayed. I asked God to give me what He knew I needed to hear. With a stirring of hope, I randomly opened my Bible, pointed and read:
“Jesus put His fingers in the man’s ears. Then He spit.”
Hmmm…let’s try again.
“His body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.”
“Get behind me, Satan!”
What? Are you talking to me? Ah, never mind. I returned to my bookmark and read where I had left off the previous morning. A Prophecy About Jerusalem. Yippee.
Yippee indeed! Listen to this:
Isaiah describes the elaborate efforts Jerusalem undertook to bolster its defenses, strengthen its army, and prepare for the attack it was about to face. It was rather an impressive list. Were I the betting type, I would have placed my fifty cents on Jerusalem. They did everything right…almost. So why did they fail? It was the “almost.”
“You did not look to the One who made [the water], or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.” [emphasis mine]
They trusted their chariots and spears instead of their God. Woe to them. Woe to she who looks to the child-rearing experts, the medical pros, and the economic wizards instead of “the One who planned it long ago.” Don’t underestimate the power of God.
Point well taken, Lord. Thank you for speaking to me. Oh, and thank you, after all, for the oracles.