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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Parable of Trust

It was one of those days. Once again she found herself frustrated that things weren't working out her way or in her favor. She had lost control and that could only mean that she would be hurt...or at least, that's what she believed...

She huffed, clenched her fists and stormed off to her room. Inevitably, the house shook as thunder let go from the door she slammed.

She cleans when she's angry. She likes everything just this room, she had control. She busily got to work with a fury that kept her brow furled as her hands constantly moved, shuffling things into piles - places for the mess to stay put. Then she heard it.

There were soft footsteps coming straight toward her room. She rolled her eyes in disgust and slammed another stack of papers down. "There. Stay right there." The footsteps were not a sound she could control and that made her skin crawl. Then...

*Knock, knock, knock*  He tenderly thumped the knuckle of his index finger on the door as he gently whispered her name.

"GO AWAY!" She cut him off. "I don't want you in here. You can't come in here! Just leave me alone!"

He exhaled on the other side of her door. "Can't I just come in? I...I just want to talk."

"Dad, no! GO.AWAY!"

"Sweetheart," he pleaded, "will you just open the door?".

"No." She replied. Only this time she started to cry and knew she could say no more. She also knew he would never open that door unless she said it was OK. For now, she was safe and feeling in control but her heart ached.

But do you know that feeling that comes of being confined in a room for a long time? Do you know the weariness you feel after the sun goes down and you've missed dinner but you're just too stubborn to open the door? She felt all of that and decided to lay on her bed.

He really only wanted to help her from the beginning but she didn't like his answer so she darted off. But while she sat in seclusion, she thought it may be wrong to keep him out altogether. She knew he loved her so she began to move her organized stacks away from one corner where there was a chair. Then she waited for the next time he would try to talk to her.

*Knock, knock, knock* The tender tapping returned after dinner. He missed her. "Sweetie? Can I please come in and talk to you?"

She hesitated but answered. "Yes, I've cleared a spot." She opened the door and pointed toward the chair in the corner. She couldn't look him in the eyes, so she stared at the floor and said "Just sit...sit over there. But DON'T..." She quickly moved to make sure he didn't bump her organized stacks of books and papers and other random things she was cleaning up. "Just don't knock these over."

She slumped on her bed and asked, "What? What do you want, Dad?".

"I just wanted to tell you I love you and I know things aren't going how you thought they would."

He paused.

"You know? It kills me to see you like this. What are you doing in here anyway? You seem a little uneasy. Can I help you with this?"

"No, Dad. You can't. I don't want you to help me. ...I don't even need her to be my friend..." She picked up a card someone once sent her. "I don't even really want to be in that group anymore. Who needs them? They don't appreciate me for who I am and I don't care if I never see them again."

"Dear one..." He tried to reason with her.

"Dad, that's it. I love you but don't get involved. I'm done with all of this!" Then she mumbled under her breath, "I want my control."

With that, the room began to get smaller, pushing that chair in the corner closer to her stacks. Her dad calmly stood up and asked again, "You're sure I can't take care of some of this for you?". And the tears began to flow from her eyes as she clenched her jaw and tried to make them stop. The pain she felt was real but she felt isolation was now the only way she could protect herself.

"Dad. No. Would you just listen to me? I don't want your help. Just leave me alone. Stop trying to fix it."

Again the walls pressed in and the father placed his hand on her shoulder. "I'll be right in the hallway if you decide you'll let me help you. I would do anything for you because I love you, daughter. I love you and I'm staying right here. When you're ready for me to help you sort through this, I'd love to spend time in that chair and talk more."

In her choosing isolation, she didn't realize she would squeeze The Father out of the picture. In her choosing control, she didn't understand that she was sacrificing real relationship with Him and with the community she once had.

My friend, if you're teetering on the edge of trying to do life alone, or if you've already chosen in so many steps to push away community {church gatherings, or friendships, or small groups, etc}, YOU are the one on my heart this moment and YOU are the one I'm praying for.

This life is full of flesh and bad decisions. Humans can only be humans and that means life gets messy. And I know there are times when we just need a rest, a quiet room to find peace in, but we can't stay there forever. And we certainly won't find peace if we decide to navigate life from that place. Life is great in size and God is one who cannot be held within the walls we build. And because of those truths, we can't handle life like a DIY project.

Just like the father in the story, our heavenly father waits at the door of your heart. Inviting Him in means handing over the stacks of stuff. It means letting Him take the burden and the weight of all you carry from you. And believe me when I say He's never going to do that and then tell you He wished He hadn't or hold it over your head as a way to control or manipulate you.

In relinquishing control, we find freedom. In attending a church, we find a group of humans who are no better than we are individually, but can spiritually be an encouragement and a hand to hold in prayer. In not giving up on that group of people or that one person who offended us either intentionally or not, we admit that life and people and feelings are messy but they are the very blessings on earth that can make our lives rich if we allow them too.

Don't withdraw. Don't sing out that story or tell about that scar like an anthem. Let God take those things, add His personal touch to them, and use them to bring you healing and encourage others around you.

He's never going to leave that place outside the door of isolation but He will never be subjected to the control we feel we need to have. We simply can't contain Him. The beautiful part? His wild dance that we don't understand or know enough to join in without tripping over our own two feet? He is waiting with eagerness to hold your hands in His...your freed hands in He leads you and teaches you to laugh at the trip-ups and just keep dancing.

Won't you just open up the door?

Psalm 34:8 "Oh, taste and see that The Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" {ESV}



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