I used to worry about my salvation growing up. I always wondered if I really believed. Many times, I still wonder. But as I grow older, I realize this is part of the process. There are seasons of strength and seasons of great doubt. That is just the way life works. At the end of the day, I know that I do believe and that it’s ok to ask questions. Better than ok, asking questions is essential.
In these times of questioning as a child, my mom would say to me, “well, if you’re worried about it, you’re probably on the right track.” Her words were a great comfort to me because her point wasn’t to advocate worrying, but to say that caring is a good thing. It pushes us to find answers. I agree. I think this applies to any area of struggle whether it’s faith-related or not.
I’ve done a lot of worrying since then and there have been seasons of strength and seasons of great doubt. I have always believed in a Savior but what I have never really believed in is myself. Not the kind of island-living belief where I roar and prance and take over the world, get out of my way kind of thing. Rather, the belief where I know myself enough to see my lines, my boundaries. I have a long way to go in that area. But I am getting there.
Most of my life has been this strange juxtaposition of living way inside the lines and also completely outside. I am a rule follower who breaks a lot of rules. I lack much of the cultural structure that a majority of people have. While the demands of life tug at me just like anyone else, how I respond to them is up to me.
Jerry and I were talking last night about how we work. There is a huge difference in working outside and within the home. I’ve always fought this idea but it’s so true. When you drive away to your job, you are transitioning into that working world. When you are home, there is no buffer. Life is like switching channels on a television where every moment is something completely different than the last. Or like when I take a walk with Calvin. I try to walk forward, while he, at the same time, is behind me pulling me backwards.
My problem is that I have been trying to change the reality of this truth rather than work with it. This is the sort of self-discipline I learned growing up as a homeschooler but it isn’t really getting any easier. I have goals. I meet some, I ignore others.
I remember nights spent crying at the kitchen table trying to finish my work because I had frittered the day away. Much of it was a productive use of time. Some of it wasn’t. In the end, I graduated and went on get my B.A. from NC State. I got my education and I followed the inside-the-lines path. But it was all backwards and long and now as I stay at home with my children and work part-time, I feel like that 13 year old crying at the table because I can’t get a handle on my schedule. I am fighting it when I need to find the current and settle in.
My lines are all but faded away, but I am trying to trace them over again. I long for structure and a system. Yes I know it’s not entirely possible given the unpredictability of parenthood. But I also know that if anyone can do it, I can.
I guess all that worrying is finally leading me to a place where I understand that I was made for this life. I was made to be creative and forge new paths. And I know that I am not alone, which is pretty amazing. But the best part is lately I realize that the people who surround me aren’t here to save me and pull me back to reality. They encourage me to lift up my own arms. They are here to show me that I can do this and I have been doing it all along. They are here to walk alongside me on their own path. We encourage each other. We trade strength when needed.
There is something happening. A shifting from the feeling of “I can’t do it alone anymore”, to “I have never been alone. Never. Not ever.” I am so grateful for that. So unbelievably grateful. Yes, Jesus came to save the world. But what he did in the process was equip and empower the people. He stood for each individual. He didn’t demand blind faith. He taught. He gave knowledge. He brought strength. He brought structure to a world with no lines and too many lines.
Yes, caring is a good thing. Looking for answers is a good thing. I pray I never stop. In the meantime, I’ll be here having my channels flipped and trying to embrace each moment for what it is, a gift.