Yesterday was a wrestling day. I feel like I spent a lot of the day in prayer and half-sleep (which is not to suggest that I think it is good to pray while half sleeping, but hey, it happens). At the end of the day I was doing my homework for my Bible study. (Yes, I should have done a little each day all week. No, I didn’t do that. I did the whole thing last night.) As I was looking at the questions thoughts just kept coming to me and I think some things kind of came together. I tried to explain it all to DH. He listened sympathetically and mostly helped me realize that what I was saying was lacking any continuity. So apologies now if this doesn’t make sense.
At the crux of it all, I think, was the question of joy. In my last post, I wrote:
I know joy is supposed to be unaffected by emotion and that I should be joyful even when I am sad. I’m having trouble with that in practice. I’m working on it.
I guess my subconscious has been mulling that over for the past few days. And I have come to a few conclusions about this. I’ll start here with one epiphany that I think is helping me open the door to true faith in my life.
I have a lot of head knowledge. I know the Bible pretty well and I can quote it to myself. I can’t tell you how many of my recent journal entries have said things like,
“God, I know you say that ‘all things work for the good of those who love you, who are called according to your purpose’ (Romans 8:28) but how is this (our infertility) for good?”
“I know you tell me that you have plans ‘to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11) but I am struggling to believe this is true.”
And, my favorite,
“God, I believe. Surely I have faith the size of a mustard seed!! You said, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you’ (Matthew 17:20). So why isn’t this mountain moving yet?“
I have head knowledge (which often undermines me by turning to pride, but that’s a story for a different day), but I am coming to see that I am lacking in true faith–gut faith. (It is sad really; at the end of the day all that knowledge is wasted if it keeps me from truly knowing and trusting my savior with my life.) If I stepped out of that boat onto the water to be with Jesus as Peter did (Matthew 14:29), I’d be telling myself all the while that surely I could stand on the water. It wouldn’t matter, though. Because I am lacking this real, honest, gut faith, those empty words would do me no good. I’d almost certainly find myself swimming.
I’m beginning to understand that this head knowledge – gut faith disconnect is a serious problem. It is keeping me from having real joy. It is also keeping me from being able to trust completely in the Lord in this crisis of my life.
So I’ve been praying for the Holy Spirit to move in me, to give me that gut faith. And my head knowledge says it will happen: God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
And I am praying this not in an effort to manipulate God into giving me what I really want (to be a mom to a baby or 5), but in the hopes that he will transform the desires of my heart such that I want him and that I want to be with him and in his presence and to serve him, above all other things–even the things that seem good and fulfilling, like being a mother.
(As an aside: I’ve tried the praying with an eye toward tricking God into giving me what I want. It doesn’t work. I think he’s on to me.)
If knowing is half the battle, is actually believing the other half?