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Life/Faith

Never Quite Settled

There’s a stereotype that introverts don’t like parties.

I like parties, as many of us do.

I have my limits but specifically, I enjoy the planning part—the organizing, the themes, the decor, the outfits. For a few years, I’ve been waiting until I live in a bigger space to consider throwing more parties of my own, but I just moved into an apartment with a layout that seems a little tighter than my last one (which, by all accounts from others, wasn’t tight at all).

Finally, I’ve asked myself why I like to wait. There’s plenty of space for people, balloons, laughter, floor confetti that I’ll find in every corner until the end of time. It’s a habit of thought that I’ve noticed in myself: feeling as if I can’t do things until everything is “together.” It never is. I want to wait until I’m “settled,” I say. I never am. Why do we try to wait until everything is perfect to do anything at all?

I write this unpolished post with a scattered brain as I sit in an apartment that I’ve been in for a couple of weeks, on my furniture that just made its way to me yesterday. And I feel like I’ve been waiting for it. To start my life in new surroundings, make plans, explore, and simply exist as the person I am, I had to have all of my belongings together. It sounds even more ridiculous now.

There is still a lot more to be done before it’s all together, completed, and settled. I mean that in more ways than one and in more areas than furniture, but I’m done waiting.

We wait at the starting line for so long hoping that the perfect circumstances will show up and kick us straight to the finish with the acceleration we think we need. We want everything to be lined up in its ideal place before we start to run a race we’re already suited for. “I’m so ready to have a spouse so I can do ministry,” I’ve heard. And “I can’t study the Bible because I don’t even know where to start.” And “I’m not ready to talk to anyone about Jesus because I haven’t been to seminary.”

Of course, there’s value in discerning and generally being careful. When I speak to anyone or write out anything concerning God or Scripture, I’m at my phone or keyboard with fear and trembling, praying that the representation is as accurate a handling of truth as my mind can offer with the Holy Spirit’s help (2 Timothy 2:15). I find more often that our hesitation is driven by our own fears, jumping at the sight of our shortcomings, than our ability to proceed.

When I ask myself now why I wait (about things much more important than being able to entertain people in a big house), the hard truth is that I think I am going to be settled and life never truly is. I think that one day on earth I’m going to get it all right and have it all together, whatever “it” is. I believe I’ll be able to control the actions and reactions of other people and how they’ll respond to my personality, blog post, or tweet. The attractive glimmer of perfection that calls to me far away in the distance is actually the rock in my shoe that can keep me from running anywhere at all.

That’s where I think many of us might trip over fear. We fear failing, losing, and being found out. We think that if everyone sees that our life isn’t the best it could possibly be by our own impossible standards, this life is over. We must think that we’re bigger than we are with more power to control outcomes than we actually have. We’re impatient to think our sanctification, healing, and more will come to us overnight, yet we keep waiting to make progress.

In times I’ve felt the most settled, I’ve learned that it’s time to get up and go another place where God still reigns and builds His kingdom. I can work to adjust even when I don’t understand. When I still hurt where there’s been pain, I don’t have to be fully healed before my life can continue. Whether I’m in a corner counting all the broken pieces or on my knees asking to be fixed, I don’t have to wait until I “get over it” to go through it. It’s okay to move, limp and all.

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