Turn the page or go to sleep

 Why do I insist on holding my eyelids up when they want to plunk down with great force? Sometimes, I lay my head back on the pillow, close my eyes, and if sleep doesn’t take over in ten seconds, I heave my eyelids open again and look at the page. Still. The same page that I’ve been looking at since I crawled under these covers. For what purpose, I cannot tell you. Maybe my determination to lose sleep comes from a my old sense of responsibility to reach goals with my reading. Let me ‘splain.
It used to be a point of pride with me that I ALWAYS finished whatever book I started. I don’t know when that changed, but my pride has taken quite a tumble because I can’t even tell you how many books I have by my bed whose first few chapters are the only I’ve graced with my eyes. OK fine I can tell you – it’s four. But those are just the ones by my bed. I tend to read in moods. There is a children’s book (Five Little Peppers and How They Grew), a spiritual food book (Erasing Hell), another spiritual food book, well, more like spiritual steak (Knowledge of the Holy) and a book of short stories (True Stories of Great Escapes). That last one maybe doesn’t count, though, because I usually read an entire short story at a time. Success! I guess after my pretentious college years when I thought of myself as such a scholar, full of wit and wisdom, real life set in, whatever that is, and now I admit that I am a chronic book-starter-but-not-finisher-for-a-long-time. For real, though. Maybe it’s a phase that will pass. I hope it is. I remember I started Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and read about two thirds of it, but it was strangely written and I never finished it. I’m a little sorry about that, because I actually liked it. I wanted to watch the movie, but never could commit to viewing it without finishing the book. I might finish it one day. Why do I torture myself!? I’m depriving myself of the end of the story on paper and the interpretation of the story on the screen. That’s just silly silliness.
I also have a distaste for poorly written books and shallow fiction, so if you were going to suggest a cheesy Christian romance series, just don’t. Maybe I’m too snobby. Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I’m too closed-minded. Maybe I need to make a list of classics to read. Or maybe I need to shut my computer and my mouth and pick up one of these unfinished books by my bed.



Wait, but don’t be lazy

It’s a strange feeling to want something so bad, but it’s pretty much out of your power to do anything about it. I think if you ever get it, then, it will seem that much more like a miracle when it happens. And maybe that’s how it should be. Maybe we should have to know what it’s like to be one hundred percent dependent on something outside of ourselves so we can then experience and recognize true gratitude.

There are many things I wish were different about my present circumstances. (At the extreme present – as in, this very minute, not the general stage of life I find myself in, although I’ll get to that in a minute – I wish I was sound asleep and not plagued with insomnia at 1am heading into Monday.) I could sit here and list the things I wish, to extract a drop of sympathy from you, but I think that would defeat the purpose. My desires are just like the next person’s – unfulfilled. But you know what I forget to do? I forget to look at the BIG PICTURE. I mean the really big one that doesn’t take into account what people think about me, what my family expects of me, or even what I expect from myself.

I’m sure we’ve all hit a crisis point in our lives in which we wonder: WHAT am I doing with my life? Followed by the thought: I only get one life! Followed by: PANIC. We’re currently surrounded by an environment that screams at us to go get what we want! The world is ours! Your dreams won’t smack you in the face, you have to chase them! And I agree… to a point. There is also something to be said about waiting. I don’t suggest we sit around all day munching Cheetos and surfing YouTube until someone walks in and hands us our dream lives on a silver platter, with replacement Cheetos, of course, for the ones that fell between the couch cushions. If you know the life you want to live, you work to obtain as much of it is within your power. But the rest? In my case, I guess I will tell you a few of my desires to avoid ambiguity.

I want a husband and a family. I want kids really bad. I used to be afraid to admit that, like it would make me look weak, or like I revealed something no one ever should talk about. Why shouldn’t I say it? It’s a normal thing to want. But a husband isn’t something you just save up and shop for when you’re ready. They’re not just hanging around on racks according to our specifications. And if they were, they world would probably be a scary place. Picturing suits on hangers with heads in them is freaking me out right now, honestly. But the point is, you can’t just return a husband, even if you do have a receipt. So obviously I want it to be right and orchestrated by God. And kids… well, first thing’s first.

But back to my big picture theory. We really don’t know what will happen tomorrow. James 4:14 says that. Then it says, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time, then vanishes.” I want to focus on how I can better myself and those around me today, in this moment – but I want to have eternity on my mind all the time. It’s hard to be focusing on both those things at the same time – the now and forever, but it’s important! Because how I live now affects my eternity. We all have an eternity to face: what is yours?

When I get lonely and sad and mad and think life is not fair – I am working on remembering to wait productively for answers to prayers. (Side note and a quote from my pastor, Mark Anderson: “Don’t expect a $1,000 answer for a 10 cent prayer.”) This morning at church, Pastor Mark said that to wait means to affix one’s hope on the Lord. How great is that? If I only set my hope on getting a cute husband and a couple cute kids, I will be disappointed. (Even if I get those things they will fall flat without Jesus. Everything does.) But don’t you see? If I put my hope in the Lord, I will never be disappointed, no matter what my life looks like. God puts desires in us and the biggest one is for Him. If we fill it with other things, we’ll always be empty and sad. Fill it with Him first, then everything else He blesses us with is like extra frosting!

…Psalm 37:34: “Wait for the Lord and KEEP HIS WAY, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.”

…Psalm 40: 1-3: “I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”

When you wait for the Lord, you will never be bored! (Ha, that rhymed.)

Psalm 27:14

Psalm 27:14