I have spent my entire life desiring and striving for things to be perfectly ordered. I like to plan, I love to prepare and I loathe the unknown. I also love things to be balanced, tidy and symmetrical. So ordered plans and matching clothes...that is how I like it. I remember being as young as preschool and early elementary wanting my barbies and dolls to be dressed in matching clothes and their hair neat and combed. I remember spending lots of time trying to figure out how to get my barbies rough, ratty hair to be soft and smooth. I washed it. That made it worse, and I wanted to throw the Barbie away...to me it was worthless. As much as I like things this way, I am innately creative. The barbie's hair was too boring, so I tried to curl with a curling iron. Yeah, that didn't work and there went perfectly ordered Barbie...again wanted to just throw it out. As a stage designer and theatre director, I constantly fight the need to have the stage perfectly balanced and symmetrical in its design.
I have a lot of inner conflict with the creative side of me and this perfectly ordered side. They don't always go well together.
As I am learning more about myself, I am learning that it really has more to do with hating the unknown, and having too high expectations for how things should go.
Either way, when things are uncertain or they do not go as I planned - I stress. I did as a child, and do as an adult at almost 30 yrs old. Don't get me wrong, I have gotten a little better. I don't always throw the tantrums anymore. :)
God doesn't really care so much to feed this issue of orderliness that I have. Actually in the last six years, he has done the opposite. Turning my world upside down, making it look like something I never planned. Even this year, He has decided to interupt my order (or my stubborn continued attempts at order) by giving us a surprise pregnancy. Wow. I cannot begin the list of how that has already and will continue to change things. Although, I have grown in this area, I still find myself stomping my foot in frustration.
This happened a few times last week. We were on this almost two week long vacation. I have never been on vacation for that long. I had a lot of plans and expectations. At the top was relaxation and rest, next was enjoying everything I eat (I'm pregnant), and most importantly, spending quality fun time with my baby boys. I dreamt of laughter, ocean waves, and really tasty food. I did NOT plan for my 4 yr old to completely freak out when he was unexpectedly knocked slightly over by a small wave while we were picking up shells.
This was the second day we were here. It changed everything. My little boy who is easygoing and sweet, totally freaked. He planned for this vacation for 6 months. No kidding...he packed his bag in January. However, after this unexpected fall - he decided he hated the beach. He threw a fit. He doesn't throw fits ever. The first full day at the beach began terribly.
He wanted to sleep, he wanted to stay in the van...anything to be away from the ocean. I wanted to throw my own tantrum and then throw him in the ocean. I'm not kidding, I literally thought, maybe we can shock his system by throwing him in. I am an awesome mother.
Anyways, as I quickly realized I was losing my perfectly planned relaxing day on the beach, I began to stress. I thought, this was it, a preview of the rest of our vacation. My dreams of sand castle building, water splashing and naps in the sun were ruined.
I am learning when I begin to lose myself in a world of pessimism, it's time to step away for some solitude. So, I did. Before I threw my spastic 4 yr old in the ocean, I got away.
I sat near where the tide is coming in, and began to cry. I know it seems I was overreacting, but these were tears from weeks and months of working too much, feeling overwhelmed as a mom and continued grief mixed with pregnancy hormones. I had set up major expectations for this vacation. I was playing with sand, and for a moment, I looked down at my hands. I realized I had created a cool little design that looked similar to a butterfly. In the next moment, I quickly noticed it was perfectly symmetrical. God speaks in the craziest of ways. It was as if he gently spoke and said, just how you like things. Perfectly ordered and symmetrical, unmessy. And I responded with a resounding, YES! I love things just that way. And in that moment, the tide came in farther and washed away my design. I swear I felt God smile, shake His head and say, Let it go. Always he is saying, Let it go. Let go of your expectations of people, things and events. Let go of your well ordered plans, and perfectly ordered designs. I have created your life to be messy and unpredictable, and yet it all falls into MY perfect plans for you. You will find more joy and peace when you let go and rest in me. Enjoy the moment, and let go.
So, we had a conversation. I asked for forgiveness, and I begged God for patience for my little one and (for the millionth time) patience for the unexpected messes. And I walked away from that spot and came back to my family with more peace than any perfectly ordered vacation could have given me. And, about halfway through the day he began to relax and found friends to play with. God heard my prayers.
By the way, as I watched the tide for the next little while, I noticed it never came near me again. Other than the one time to wash my little sand design away, it stayed farther out. Funny.