Almost immediately, I got side-swiped with regrets over the things that had disappointed me. I started comparing. I started wondering why the Lord hadn’t had ME do this or that ministry. Why hadn’t he given ME the life that looked so glamorous on someone else?
I stacked up these thoughts of missed opportunities like a Wall of Woes and festooned the top with the thought that now I’m old enough that some of those ships have sailed without me.
I sat in solitude time in my room Saturday morning and wailed to myself, “Why did that happen? Why didn’t I jump on board of at least one of those ships before they sailed?” There was always a reason, but I began to beat myself up and think that maybe I just hadn’t tried hard enough, and surely, if I had just tried a little harder, I would have found time to do some of the things I had always expected I would do.
The Lord quietly brought to mind the passage Lisa had spoken about that morning, John 5:1-9. This passage tells the story of the paralytic who has been lying beside the pool of Bethesda in hopes that when the waters are stirred, he will be able to get into them and be healed. Jesus asks him “Do you wish to get well?” Lisa pointed out that the man doesn’t answer this question but instead launches into all the reasons why the method of healing he had been attempting for 38 years wasn’t working. The Healer is standing in front of him, and he is still talking about the pool.
And there I sat in my room, doing exactly the same thing. The Giver of Dreams was standing in front of me asking what I wanted, and all I could do was moan about the dreams that hadn’t worked out in the past. It dawned on me then that it really hadn’t been the paralytic’s fault that he didn’t get in the pool, because, after all, he was paralyzed. That method was never going to work for him. So maybe my attempts to get on the ships that had sailed without me was just as fruitless as his attempts to get in the pool. Maybe those ships weren’t my ship in the first place.
What if all this disappointment over missed ships and feelings of disqualification because I hadn’t met my own expectations were distracting me from the very thing He was trying to show me?
What if I got so discouraged that I dropped out of the race right at the point when the Lord was poised to catapult me forward?
What if disgruntlement over what the Lord was not doing in my life was blocking me from moving forward in what He was doing in my life?
Did I really want those accomplishments more than I wanted Him? Did I want to feel sorry for myself over the stuff I have had to deal with more than I wanted Him?
I finally surrendered. I want God. Of course I want God. I have always wanted God. More than anything. But I had let my eyes stray from Him to the other things I wanted. What a relief to drop those things and focus back on Him. Because I can hope when I am hoping in Him. I can expect when those expectations are rooted in Him alone. And when I allow Him to give me the dream, I can dream again.