“Thus, the first point that gives the fundamental tone to our Christian personality is this: the living awareness that salvation, liberation—words that mean the same thing— are found in a reality that is already present in man’s life: Christ. The opposite of this first point is seeking salvation, that is the meaning of our actions and those of others, the meaning of time and of the world, by establishing it in something made by our own hands. This happens in our personal life, for example, when we cry over our dreams or when our plans do not work out. We delude ourselves because we have placed all our hope in human strength.”Giussani, L. (1986). Morality: Memory and desire. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Every year for the past 8 years, lent has been a serious period of reflection for me. Without fail, there has been something that has caused me to question if I actually trust God, and the plan that he has laid out for me.
It always hits me like a ton of bricks- I am just living my life, doing my thing and casually thinking I trust God. I blindly follow Him into the desert, thinking “hey, I’ve got this. I am happy and trusting God and theres no issues here.” Then he gets me out there and I swear, every single year he just like *POOF* up and disappears.
And I look around, and theres nothing but sand as far as the eye can see (my worst nightmare) and I feel deeply alone.
As my carefully constructed universe comes crashing down around me, I come face to face with the truth that lies deep within me. As a Type A person, I always have a plan. And a back up plan. And a back up plan for that too, actually. Every hour of every day is carefully accounted for, work, school, prayer, community, volunteering, read a book, write for the blog, buy milk. The list goes on and on.
And when things don’t go according to my plan? I get more and more anxious. I start to shut down and then get nothing done which further spirals me into more anxiety because nothing is getting done. I put my trust in my ability to get shit done, on time and to the best of my abilities, at all times. I place all my hope in my human strength.
You can see how this a recipe for disaster in this season of reflection and purification we have embarked on… right?
Well friends, lent started a week ago. Just like most lents, it started in a packed church (well, gym this year, but I digress) with lots of people waiting to get their ashes. And I didn’t think much of it, except to commit to finding God in the center of my mess. I said this so cavalierly, like “oh hey, its no big deal. I’ll just find God in everything and that will make it a good Lent.”
You can guess what came next… right?
School got hard. My group seems to be on the brink of destruction every time I turn around. Did I mention that we have our capstone due on March 27th? Nobody’s schedules line up. There’s additional meetings, and things need to get done. I need to print out how many copies of the 30+ page thesis? And put it in tabbed binders with a deck as well? Who am I, Rockefeller? Sheesh!
I am still trying to get my house ready for a baby to come home to. I am so blessed that I have so many people who love me, and want to gift me with the things I need to take care of my little girl. And right now, I am frantically cleaning and purging to make sure I have room for all of these things.
I have a class at the hospital with the doula program. I have a class at the hospital on breastfeeding. I have to get stuff together for a baptism and did you know you have to go to a class for that too?
And then there is just the whole being pregnant bit. No matter how many books I read, how many vegetables I eat, or how many kick counts I do, this whole thing is kind of out of my control. And that is one of the scariest things I have ever had to experience.
Ultimately, I can plan all I want, but it doesn’t matter. I have to trust that God gave me this tiny person for a reason, and that He will not lead me astray.
As I enter into the craziest weeks of my life thus far, I am certainly entering the proverbial desert.
But I am reminding myself that God would never lead me into a desert that He does not intend to lead me out of. And that even if I feel alone, He is always there.
Here’s to hoping that this lent leads me to a deeper understanding of the true meaning of trust.