I stayed up late the other night writing about all the ways I was failing as a mother, and as a wife, and as a person; about my wretched, angry heart that is at war with everything; about how easy it is for me to despise.
As I cried and wrote I felt myself spiraling deeper and deeper into the pit of despair. But I had enough faculties about me to know I was being highly emotional and irrational, so I decided to let the essay sit for the night and pick up my thoughts in the morning.
A new day brought a new rationale, and the manic death spiral I had been on the night before seemed as seperate from me as Niki’s multiple personality, Jessica, on Heroes.
One of the passages I turned to in my mania was my current favorite – Ephesians chapters 4 and 5. I turn there often when I feel I am falling into old patterns of thinking or behavior. As I read, I was struck by this verse in particular:
“…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of the light, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5: 8, 10). My favorite word in this verse is ‘trying.’ It implies that living in the light does not require perfection of character, but simply that we let the light shine so the darkness does not consume us, for ‘all things become visible when they are exposed by the light,’ as it says in verse 13.
In recovery I was asked what the phrase ‘one day at a time’ meant to me, and I blew it off because, DUH, the answer is in the question. But I see now how I’m trying to change everything about me that’s bad all at once by blinking my eyes like a genie. As in, I had a breakthrough several weeks ago [blink] and now I will never speak harshly to Ruthie again. Or, I have ordered my day and my life to be more productive and efficient [blink] so now I will have instant wisdom and patience to be a better parent.
I’m not flipping back and forth between the darkness and the light. I’m IN the light, and while here I’m trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing, and sometimes I fail, but I continue trying to find my way. It’s like the computer game I watch Bryan play, called Myst. He gets dropped into a world and begins exploring, not even knowing what his mission or purpose is. He jiggles handles, he pulls levers, he enters hidden caverns, and finds clues. In Myst even mistakes tell you something – they tell you that what you tried didn’t work, so you’d better try something different.
I need to lighten up a little bit and trust that God is sovereign over my circumstances, and know that he is pleased with me even NOW, in the trying.