I have an opinion about something in my life that I wish was different. Owning this perspective often, I find myself grumbling about it. Well, I don’t complain out loud. It is mostly in my mind. As an irritant, it seems to reach up and rub against fear and anger in me, reminding me that it is still alive and well. This troublesome thing has been around a long time and when the right situation presents itself, I can feel it in an instant.
Why have I put up with this attitude for all these years?
Well, I guess I’d have to admit that in my mind, I’m not the problem. It is clearly someone else’s deal. So I’m waiting and looking for change… but not in me.
Jill Briscoe, teaching from Lamentations 3, told a story in which I deeply resonated. She shared that when their children were young, her husband had to travel a lot. She resented the fact that she was basically having to raise their children by herself. She fussed, asking questions like: Why does my husband have to be gone so much? Why do my children have to be the ones without their dad? Why do I have to be home all the time without him?
She realized her attitude was not healthy. She knew her position needed to change but she couldn’t find her way to transform it on her own. Her husband’s job included travel; that was not going to become different. So she realized that the only way her heart was going to align with what she knew was right, was to ask God to do it.
So she carved out a few hours of solitude and talked with God about it. She realized that her situation was the yoke He had put upon her. She was resisting and resenting it, even though she knew it was from Him. So she cried out to God asking Him to change her heart and she planned to stay right there with Him until He did!
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him…
Lamentations 3: 25-28
Many times I have spoken the words, “God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” We cannot save ourselves, so God sent Jesus to do it for us! Yes, I totally believe that. But how does God make the changes in us that we need to make? Jill asked God to do for her what she had been unable, up to that point, to change by her own self-will.
God met her. She stayed in silence until He settled her heart and peace came. After those hours with God, Jill found herself no longer resenting her husband’s absence. Joy came and a willingness to bear the yoke that had been put on her shoulders. God did it. She couldn’t and she didn’t.
So when I confront the source of my angst, I realize that the change I seek is really not in someone else but rather within my own heart. I can fuss about how slow He is in changing the other person, but I am convicted that I am the one who needs to accept the yoke that has been placed on my shoulders. Perhaps I’ve been focusing my attention in a place that is not mine to focus. I am saying, “Look in the mirror, dear. Ask God to bring rest to your squirming irritation under the yoke He so clearly placed on your shoulders.”
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
I’m not sure what I have always thought Jesus was talking about in this verse, but it certainly becomes clearer in light of Jill’s story. Wherever God has placed us, there we are, and we can squirm and complain, or we can ask God to fill us with such love and trust, that the angst will fall away in light of His absolute wisdom.
What about you? Is there something needling your soul, triggering you to complain and resist a situation in which God has clearly placed you?
Let’s stop, you and me, and let’s take time to come to God and own-up to our uncooperative attitude and admit we have been unable to make the changes we know need to be made. He will, in his best timing, meet us and do the work only He can do. We need to let him.
I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready to let go and be free! How about you?