I am sitting here thinking back on this past weekend while pondering the stories I heard from women who have found themselves struggling with a life situation. What would you do if you had the opportunity to hear such things? My advice would be to close your mouth and listen! Open your heart and seek to embrace the moment and wonder at what some people have to go through. Sit astonished at the willingness to be allowed in. Be amazed over how a walk with Christ can make all the difference between hope and despair, and discover what you can learn from their pain.
I did just that and learned something about myself!
Being invited to a women's retreat at a church here in town, I eagerly joined this group of women mostly unfamiliar to me. The goal of this gathering was to listen to the difficulties a panel of women encountered along the journey of life and to learn how to best reach out to others who find themselves in similar situations. We heard tear-filled stories of infertility, empty nest adjustment, a still born child, divorce, the difficulty of moving from another state to Cedar Rapids, death of a spouse, becoming a new mom and much more.
Every story was hard in some way. Each woman articulated beautifully the path she was called to walk, one she never thought she would ever have to navigate. Although all were enlightening, one of them said something that stood out to me. It was a statement that gave name to a belief I have held. She said that she suffered from a "rightness" expectation. That means she presumed that there was a right way to do everything. She thought that someone, somewhere knew the right way and had the answers.
I am here to confess. I remember feeling that distress as I walked down the aisle thirty-five years ago. Desperately I searched for that "someone who knew" as I held our firstborn son in my arms, overwhelmed with the newness of being a mom. Searching for the right way to keep my house clean about did me in! It was even a part of my thinking as I started blogging!
My name is Deane and I am a rightness junkie! Always searching for the right way to do things, thinking that if I "get it right" everything will be OK; that is me. A deep underlying belief I hold is that if I can find someone who knows how to do whatever it is I'm wanting to do, that person will tell me and then I will do it right. Sometimes I even think Christ has a master plan that he just needs to hand over to me. But I've been learning some things that have changed the way I look at this. God has a plan but he is not looking for me to "get it right." He really longs for my heart to be attuned to his heart. He wants my mindful openness, trust, faith and boldness that He is WITH me. He will step with me as we navigate this thing called life. He doesn't want to give me a road map. He wants to be with me and together we will navigate the path on which I find myself. Do I think I am better than Abraham or Moses?
After realizing this I want OUT! I want to let go of the desperation surrounding rightness. God promises that his Spirit dwells within, giving all I need to know at the present time. The only rightness I need is a right heart - open, trusting, listening, waiting, responding and moving forward. He doesn't need me to insist on a bunch of rules or exact ways of doing things. He wants me to soften at his touch, to respond to his sweet spirit's movement, and hold close the faith that he is with me.
Ever aware of my "rightness" addiction I hope to be on guard against legal rule following or seeking. Instead I will feel the breeze against my cheek and recognize that he is near and be amazed at his quiet grace-filled favor.