Saturday, November 20, 2010

The easy way is the hard way

Someone in a movie I saw said something to the effect of "What's the use of being almost twenty-[whatever age she was] years old if I still have so much to learn?"

The easy way is the hard way, oftentimes. And I'm not only talking about sin, although that can be part of it. Mostly, not enough wisdom.

Sometimes you just need to listen to other people and quench your natural fix-it tendencies. It's like when you're a kid and you have a fever and feel like you're freezing to death, but your mom puts cool rags on your forehead when you want to huddle by the stove and wrap yourself in comforters. It's like going into a skid on the first icy road of the season and having to remind yourself that putting the brakes on is not going to solve this situation.

Up can look a lot like down, especially when your mind and life are frenetic or full or confused. When you're dizzy, you really can't make very good judgments about which way to lean to correct the tilt of the room.

Another paradox is that your strengths can also be your weaknesses. I am a pretty reserved person, and introvert. I am quiet, (usually) patient, and notice moods and details about life, thinking about things before I speak, pondering the meaning behind words, quick to listen and slow to speak. I don't tend to interrupt, brag, scoff or blurt things that I'll later regret; I would usually rather defer to others than arouse conflict.

But this means that the problems of the introvert are also mine: sometimes we don't speak up when we should, and leave places realizing we should have said more; we notice voice tones and little phrases in conversation and re-hash what was said until we find problems that weren't really there; our professors report that we should share more during recitation discussion (every term); we give way too easily and we avoid argumentative discussions instead of helping in them.

And in times of uncertainty or stress, we pull away from people. It's often an attempt to do what is right, but it's the easy fix. It seems like it would be better to get away from people if you are frustrated, so that your sin affects the least amount of people possible. It seems like if you aren't getting enough done for school, you need to cut out all extra-curricular activities and closet yourself with your books and laptop until everything gets done. It seems like you should keep the problems you have inside of you, because every day has enough trials of its own, and every person has enough of their own, and humans are inadequate to this particular problem of yours anyway.

But we are not supposed to plug through on our own. Even if we could be enough for ourselves, each of us, as George MacDonald said, needs God and every human relationship He has given us. And the easy way (what we think is good for us, i.e., me spending all of my extra moments on thesis because that's what's biggest in my life right now) isn't always what we need.

Friday, end of the school week: I worked serving kids, kids who are from broken and hurting and confused and tangled homes, kids who needed hugs, kids who needed to vent, kids who needed to be corrected and re-corrected. Then I hung with girl friends until 2 in the morning, watching a flick, eating chocolate and cheese, gabbing and laughing. I came home more positive, encouraged and raring for life than when I try to motivate myself with Bible reading alone in a quiet place focusing inwardly.

Our hearts and souls need to be in peace, but we cannot force them to that peace by whipping them up into a lather about our state or our work or our failings. It is in busy, scheduled days that we really enjoy breaks on facebook and 5-minute naps and phone calls from mom; it is in looking outward and serving others that we are made happy; it is in submitting that we are honored and in serving that we lead.


  1. Very nice, and something I needed to hear. :) Thanks, Bobbi.

  2. Cool blog! I'll have to check it out more often. Love you sis. Vicki

  3. This is the first time I've read your blog. (not really a bad mom you guys, just super busy) It is glorious to realize that my little girl, who is in many ways like her mother, already at such a young age grasping things that took me so long to comprehend.
    Her mouth is full of wisdom and kindness is on her tongue.
    Do you remember, Bobbi Jo, the first bible verse I had you memorize? It seems even as a toddler your personality quirks were there for me to mold if I took time to search them out. Think about that as you get to know these young troubled kids, maybe something you give them could help them for years to come. I love you sweety! Mom