I’ve been on the road again, wandering through airports and streets I’ve never seen, reconnecting to family and friends out west. I’ll be home soon, but today I find myself along the Olympic Peninsula, on the edge of the water near the woods on a foggy afternoon. I look out to the trees on the other side and they cannot be found, hidden in the mist.
This is how my heart has felt lately. Unable to see clearly what’s across the water, but standing with the mainland at my back. The last few weeks have been familiar, but I’ve been feeling the shifting in my days as I adjust to some new things. It feels slow and steady and precarious and curious. The tide rises and lowers and there I stand, swaying forward and back, learning to find my balance.
This week, I was talking with my boyfriend about the goodness of God. He mentioned that sometimes we forget that Jesus is unceasingly good, and as the conversation went on, I said to him, “We treat God like Midas.”
In Greek mythology, Midas had a touch that turned things to gold. This would be a convenient gift to have because you’d never have to worry about going poor. Of course, Midas’ story is tragic as he turns his own daughter to gold. But whenever someone has the ability to make things turn out well or in their favor, we say that they have “The Midas Touch.”
Sometimes, when things are thriving or a clear answer is given, we say, “Wow. God’s fingerprints are all over this.” It’s a way of saying that God is present and his favor has been found. Or sometimes, we say, “That’s great! God is so good.” And while those things are true, they were still true in the midst of doubt and darkness and fear. Lately, I’ve been wondering who God is to us when things aren’t golden and clear.
God’s character is good–always, always. His character is just–always, always. His nature is divine–always, always. He’s not good only when we close on the house we want. He’s not just only when slaves are set free. He’s not divine only when we “hand him control.” We never had control, dear ones.
As we set out into a new year, the hope is for the golden and the clear. We believe that we can set resolutions and they will happen if we will it. We set goals and make lists and secure plans. We get away and focus on what we want to accomplish and while that’s all good and well, I’ve found myself pausing for a moment and asking myself what it is I’m after. If I’m honest, I do have a few things I hope to nurture and grow and trim back this year. But I’m starting to see that just because it’s written down in my day planner or on my mirror or my journal doesn’t mean it’s going to be firmly in my grasp.
A few days ago, I found myself on the water’s edge again, wondering how I could possibly write to you people if I was tired and weary and stretched too thin. How can I remind people of Truths that I’m aching to see in my daily life? How can I lead anyone if my feet are sore and my map just got blown away in the wind?
In the last little while, everything has felt new. I’m just now starting to get a rhythm with my job after 5 months at it. I’m learning to consider others in new ways and to make time for quiet. I’m making myself eat healthier because I’m 28 now and a little something in the mid-section is a whole dang thing. And while some of these new roles feel unfamiliar, I’ve found that Christ is the same as He was yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8.) I’ve found that His love is steadfast (Lamentations 3:22.) I’ve found that he can see everything and our blindness isn’t going to stop Him from getting to us (Acts 17:27.)
My concern is that we tend to make lists and “invite” an ever-present, all-powerful God into the picture. That we compare ourselves to everyone else and make their version of success the end goal instead of reconciling ourselves to the fact that we walking toward a Holy Horizon that seems foggy and unclear but will lift to reveal straight up GLORY. We actually believe that we’re the ones writing the narrative and controlling the outcomes and God is just there to watch. As if I must be put together to type words. As if it all hinges on my performance.
To be resolved is to be set or placed intentionally somewhere. We see it in the book of Daniel when Daniel is “resolved” to obey God. It’s not a quick decision, but a place of deep commitment, a character trait that seeps down into your bones. A few months ago, as I explained this to my neighbor’s kids, I said, “Here’s the difference between deciding and resolving: if you could have anything for breakfast tomorrow, what would it be?”
“Grits and cereal!” one of them shouted out eagerly, clearly a child of the South.
“Okay, so what would you eat if you could only have one meal for the rest for your life?”
There was a pause and a moment of thinking things through before they revealed their carefully considered options.
“See, a decision is what you want for breakfast tomorrow. To be resolved is to figure out what you’d eat every single day forever.” I said.
“Oh.” the same kid said, “It’s like a self-promise.”
“Exactly.” I smiled.
More than making my own specific resolutions, I hope to be resolved. To be set on God’s character and realize that I am firmly in his will. To be found in a place of telling the truth and clinging to the Word of God.
If you hit every goal or grow your business or buy a new home or get engaged or pass the bar or potty-train your kids, thanks be to God. But don’t believe that He’s suddenly good because of those things.
Because if you don’t hit the number of followers you want on Instagram, you are still miraculously and beautifully being made into the image of Christ. If you don’t lose all the weight you hope to, you are still inheriting the Kingdom. If you find yourself silenced by someone’s unkind comment, you are still an ambassador of the ever-living God. Nothing gets to take these eternal realities away from us.
My prayer is that as we venture into 2018, motivation abounding or insecurity haunting, we’d be able to get quiet and recall the character of God. That we would find ourselves standing at the water’s edge, shaking but moving forward, certain that the fog will lift.
Convinced that He’ll reveal it all in time.
Resolved that He is exactly who He says He is.