My friend Chris Plumb recently started a blog, you can check it out here. He recently wrote a novel and is looking for publishers. The blog is more about his random thoughts, which I find interesting. Please support him. He is stepping out in faith, and believing in his dream. He sat down and wrote a whole novel, which I always think about but would never actually have the discipline to do. He wrote the novel as response to circumstance. He, like so many other talented teachers, hasn't been able to find a permanent teaching position, and turned the negative into a positive by using this time to write.
I am very humbled by the fact he simply decided that he was going to write a book and did it. There are so many things that I want to do, but don't follow through with. It takes a leap of faith to follow your dream and put yourself forward. I have been thinking about faith a lot lately. Soon after Harrison was born, someone wrote me and shared that they saw Harrison as a reward for my faith in God's plan. They felt like I had submitted and therefore received what I wanted. This perspective of my experience bothers me. It makes feel like a economic transaction. I did this, so you owe me this.
At church this week, the message cemented my feelings. Pastor John said over and over again "Faith is not a guarantee that you will receive the outcome you want." This statement reverberated with me. There were many moments in my journey through infertility were I had a "false faith" I said the "right" things and expected God to grant me a baby. It never worked, because God isn't a slot machine. I can't put in a certain amount and win a prize.
"But" I can hear my friend saying, "You did get what you wanted, so there has to be some reward." This is a dangerous way to approach faith. I know, it is how I did it for a majority of my life. I made the "right" choices, I was a good girl, and I expected certain rewards out of it. If I was faithful than God was obligated to provide me with the family I wanted, the husband I wanted, and the future I wanted, when I wanted it. When I was 18 and the boy I "wanted" decided that our plans to go to college and get married weren't want he wanted, I was left feeling cheated. I put in a certain amount. I upheld my end of the bargain and God had let me down. I put God in a box of my expectations.
It took a decade for me to stop dealing with God in this mathematical way. It took a deep challenge that brought me to my knees in order to let God out of the box. For me, faith comes through obedience. I had to slowly work my way up to accepting that I wasn't in control and that my plan was not "the plan". Everyday I have to get up and make a choice to not try to be in control and let God's plan be in place. This is not easy and it isn't my nature, it is an active choice. Sometimes I am successful and a lot of times I fail.
Harrison has been a blessing beyond my imagination. I don't feel that I did anything to deserve or "earn" him. What I did was give up control and commit to whatever life God had planned for me. I admitted that I didn't know everything and that I needed A LOT of help to get through this crazy life.
Faith is a personal experience. Sometimes, like my friend Chris, you need to move forward and take chance, or, like me, you have to stop trying to "make" things happen and wait for God's plan. For me, faith is an active daily choice. What is it for you?