I don’t know about you, but I’ve had THE WORST attitude for the last 7+ days. Just ask my husband.
I don’t know if it was the 31 days I spent alone with a puppy and a preschooler, or the move we just made to New York City, or the fact that we are currently living in a one bedroom apartment with nothing more than two air mattresses and a makeshift table made from an Amazon Prime box. But I’ve been a snappy, dare I say, b*tchy, ball of anxiety — And God put me in my place about it yesterday.
To be honest, I’ve been kind of avoiding my Bible this week. Sure, you could say I was busy, that I had ‘valid excuses’ with moving and all, but I could feel God nudging me to spend some time with Him, promising that if I did, I might find some relief or even better, an attitude change. But each time I turned Him away.
….But then last week happened.
- My suburban dog’s fully trained bladder went awry all over the floor and allllllllllll down the hallway every single time we took her out. She’s confused about this whole city/ no grass thing, and because of it, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent walking around the block in 29 degree weather, praying – literally, pleading with the Holy Spirit to move her to urinate.
- I found out the brand new sofa that I just spent my life savings on, likely wont fit into the doorway of my apartment. (My husband is currently concocting ideas to take both the door of the apartment and the legs off the couch, in order to get it to fit. Tbc.)
- I found out my daughter who was scheduled to enroll in kindergarten in the fall in SC, instead, “must be enrolled right now,” the superintendent conveyed over email. An email with so. many. periods. and not nearly enough compassion.
And thus, I became the snappy, ball of anxiety. — A rather revolting woman to live with, if I’m honest. But God wasn’t having it.
“Are you desperate, or is this divine?” I could feel God pressing.
It’s not the first time God has asked me that question. He asked me that when I lost the baby. God asked me again, when just three months ago, my husband didn’t have a job and we had only $35 left in our savings account.
Are you desperate, or is this divine? He would hum over my hopelessness.
Because they require different responses.
Without a doubt, my current circumstances are divine — God hand delivered my husband a job in NYC (and not a moment too late!) and He sold our house in two and a half weeks, and gave us this apartment. Because of it, I know with certainty I’m exactly where God wants me to be!
“If you know your circumstances are divine, then why are you acting so desperate?” God asked, putting me in my place.
(Maybe after the week you just had, the same could be asked of you.)
I don’t know what had you anxious and intimidated this week, what has your sanity dwindling and your attitude spiraling, even as your eyes skim these words. But the question I’ve been asking myself all week is: what would it look like – for those of us who know we are right where God wants us to be – to show by our actions that we believe God knows what He’s doing — even amid the messiest, most expensive, and unsettling bumps in the road?
I finally opened up my bible, and this is the verse God gave me (it just so happened to be the very first verse I read.)
1 Peter 3:4-6 says, “Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way and… you’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.”
If we believe we’re amid the divine then our attitude should reflect that. But how? 1 Peter suggests a good place to start is to be unanxious and unintimidated by whatever it is we are confronted with.
Woah. Easier said than done though, am I right? I mean, my life is a logistical nightmare, and the city I now live in is pretty much the definition of a city that would naturally make you unanxious and unintimidated …. except, not at all….
But the good news is to ‘cultivate’ inner beauty like the passage in 1 Peter tells us to do, means only that we try to develop or acquire this set of skills. (Which I don’t know about you but is GREAT news for me, because try, I can. Master, I cannot.)
You see, being kind and gracious in New York City might not come natural for me, but it’s a new set of skills God is asking me to learn in this season. Acting unanxious and unintimidated when things go wrong, (i.e. the dog’s bladder is ruining your life, the sofa wont fit, and your baby is going to be dropped off ….in the middle of NYC … at the end of the school year… even though she can’t write her name without busting into tears) are NOT two words I would use to describe how I feel.
Yet, unanxious & unintimidated is what God is asking that we become.
(That is, if we trust Him as much as we say we do.)
God’s asking that we develop skills of patience, faith, and belief in this season — to cultivate a kindness people are drawn to, and to channel a peace that rises above the mayhem, and that points to the fact that we not only know the God who has ordained our every step, but trust that there is no depth we can fall where He cannot lift us from.
I wish I could tell you a story or two about how I mastered these skills this week, but unfortunately there’s no ‘happily ever afters’ for this blog post, no resolve to celebrate. (if you noticed, I barely posted a post last week and then I forgot to share it on social media.)
This week, there’s just a challenge made by God: a challenge to refuse to allow anything to make me timid or filled with fear — Even, the city that scares me!
And I’m taking God up on it. Will you?
(But really, if the sofa doesn’t fit, I’ll cry…)
// 52 weeks to write, 38 to go. //
(Update: I was right. The sofa didn’t fit. BUT… thanks to NYC, you can pay a rather large sum of money to have someone chop up your couch and put it back together. Uhhhhhmazing, and 100% terrifying… but mostly amazing. Welcome to New York!)