Things have been a little trying over here lately. I hate to use the word stressful because I promised myself I had let my ole worrywart persona go, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than mildly concerned for a second. Initially came the feeling of anxiety, quickly followed by the voice of reason.
“Haha. No need to get upset,” it sang. “You know God’s got this!”
Of course, He does, I’d chuckle to myself, and then I’d do my right best to walk forward in that belief. Well, if you know anything about life you know that believing something, telling yourself the truth, and abiding in that afterwards is the true test. So, even as my heart was proclaiming that God was in control, I still found myself feeling bummed. You know how you’ll have that underlying feeling of melancholy? Or perhaps it’s better described as a trigger-finger feeling. It’s like you’re on the edge, on pins and needles, like you’re expecting the worse to happen, and you’re readying yourself to jump into action. I guess that’s how I found myself feeling. It’s like I was sitting on the end of the bed waiting for a knock at the door, wringing my mental fingers, despite the fact that my Father told me I had plenty of time to get ready before company came.
After a year of renting our home the time had come for our renters to move on. The thought of losing them saddened me. It meant I had to face the anxiety of paying a large mortgage in a vacant home. It meant the decision of whether to rent again or sell. It meant the hassle of going back on the market, the frustration of paying for electric I wasn’t there to use, or yard maintenance I couldn’t even enjoy. It meant things like unexpected repair costs and trying to reconfigure our budget, for only God knew how long, and of course, the anxiety that is waiting. Waiting for someone else to fall in love with our home like we had once done. The spirit of truth told me it was taken care of, but the fleshy thorn of worry made me feel on edge regardless.
Today we walked back to our enormous truck. It was a huge, black dually (six tires total) 4×4, complete with an engine that could haul 21,000 pounds! Good thing, too, since it’s what we used to pull our traveling home. There’s one thing about moving your house from here to there. You need dependable tires. It’s not just vehicle damage you worry a blowout could bring, but the possible damage it could have on the fifth wheel you’re pulling behind you. We had just left an auto shop, and the gorgeous, deep tread, front wheels gleamed like the best sought treasure. Wow, they were really good looking. Seeing them made me realize how much we had needed ones that weren’t slick like a seal.
“It was a bit more than I thought it would be,” my husband commented, head down, trying to hide his frustration.
“How much more?” I asked.
“The quote I told you wasn’t labor or mounting and balancing included like I thought,” he answered.
I tried to push down the knot of concern in my throat as we drove back towards home on our brand new, pricey tires. I did mental math in silence.
That’s all the overtime I pulled.
We still need to pay to have the yard work done and floors cleaned.
Mortgage is due next paycheck.
Then the truck payment.
We’ll need to get gas…
I tabulated debits versus credits in my head, cursing the stale housing market of a small southern town.
“Can we go eat,” my eldest asked in a whine. “I’m hungry!”
“No,” my husband and I chimed in unison.
We drove in silence, my brain having a mental pep talk with my nerves.
It’s going to be ok. It’s going to be ok.
“They’re really good tires,” my husband finally said. “We got the best, safest tires, with a great tread rating.”
“Yes, we did,” I answered, taking his hand and looking softly at his strong profile beside me.
Yes, we did.
There were so many things going so right. We had found someone to do some cleaning inside and out for our sticks and bricks home, and at a price well below all the quotes we had received. We hadn’t looked for this particular answer, but it had come. We had found a way to rent an RV spot for the summer for only $160 a month. That’s nothing. We had spent over a grand at places in the past. I knew we couldn’t afford that kind of high rent and a big mortgage at once, and just like that a solution had come before we even knew a problem was behind it. We may not have tons of cash to give away, but we certainly had what we needed. Just like how God provided just enough manna each day for the Israelites, so too did we always have just enough. If some kind of trouble came up, the solution always popped up too. He was so faithful to us.
I reminded myself that when a strong gale blew on tumultuous seas that my trust wasn’t in the boat that held me, but rather in my Savior, the creator of the ocean, that carried me.
I realized I was the happiest I had ever been, and despite any concern or anxiety I had to push away about finances or selling our house, I realized that I felt better than ever before. There was hardship, and there was sickness. Unexpected bills came, or my old knees ached. I worked long hours, and we needed to replace the slide-out seals on our RV before they started to leak. I had no idea where those funds would come from, but I knew that for now it wasn’t leaking. Despite it all a river of peace ran through me, below me, above me, like never before.
I’ve found that you go through different seasons in life, some more difficult than others, but if you can find joy in the season you’re in, no matter how hard you have to look, it’s a blessed season.
I’ve found that storms will come and problems will rear their ugly head. That. Is. Life. There isn’t a life without trouble on this planet. If you breathe air, then you will experience some sort of turmoil in life. That’s just the reality of it. You have to understand and accept that, but then still make the decision to keep going forward. It’s not the storms that define us, but how we walk through them. I’ve discovered I like holding the hand of Jesus as I walk. Then I forget it’s raining.
I’ve found that it’s easy to look at the things that make us unhappy, the mess that makes life so far from perfect. But it’s also easy to see the joy. You can find it if you look. Somehow that makes the journey more enjoyable, the season more fulfilling, and the everyday more appealing. It makes the worrisome, bothersome buggery seem less. It makes the sunshine seem more… I don’t know, sunshiny. You cannot find a perfect life, but you can see it perfectly clear as the blessed life God gives.
I’m not living my best life over here.
My life is full of uncertainty. But it is also full of a certain God. He is ever present, and He has good things for me, even if I can’t see how He’ll get me there.
As we drove down the road, my mood becoming more positive as I reminded myself of God’s goodness to us, my husband spoke about the armor of God.
“Have you noticed,” he asked, “that the shield of faith is something you must pick up?”
He went on to describe that the helmet of salvation we always wore, the same with the belt of truth, or how we shod our feet in peace. But when the fiery arrows of the enemy came, we had to take up our shield. We had to raise up the sword of the spirit to battle. In other words, we always had our armor on, but when adversity came you had to be intentional in your defense.
I wasn’t living my best life over here. And that was ok.
Real life was too uncertain and chocked with difficulty to be practically perfect.
I wasn’t living my best life over here, but I was over here living life the best way I could.
When trouble came knocking, because it would (that was life), I took up my armor again. Seasons change, adversity comes, but my God is constant. And He is constantly looking out for me. My flesh tells me to fret, but my spirit tells me to be still. It shows me His kindness, His past provision, His future promises.
I am the happiest I have ever been not because I’m living a perfect, dream life. I’m not living my best life. I’m just enjoying life as it comes the best I know how. And somehow, gosh, that makes it seem like the best.