Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston, Texas with her college sweetheart Kyle. She is the wife of a worship-pastor and mother to four young children. “Normal” days are filled with homeschool, endless dishes, games, books, mis-matched socks, and writing whenever sleeping children permit. Lindsey writes about living the new song of the gospel at Worship Rejoices.
Sanctification freaks me out. As a girl who hates change, I fear the process God ordains to produce Christ-likeness.
I like life neat and tidy with clean counter tops and well-dressed children and my life is the opposite . Four small children are beating the control-freak out of this mama, one dirty sock at a time.
Today there were zero breakfast makings on hand. It is a sad day when cereal and toast are impossible. Our punt, a family breakfast date, ended with a hysterical toddler flailing and shrieking, demanding we give him more sugar.
Crazy donut boy’s tantrums continued at home and I surrendered. I laid, face down on the floor of the entry hall. Don’t think me holy, I wasn’t praying. I was hoping to fall through and disappear. If I could lay there long enough, ignoring the reality of my son, the shrieking sanctification vessel, my husband might call in sick out of sympathy. No dice.
I apologized to my man. I knew it was his job to go to work and mine to stay home and cope with insanity, with all love and gentleness. I kissed him good-bye, but I stayed on the floor in a heap of my own denial.
Sunday School answers aren’t enough.
I know God has called me to be a mother and he is with me. I am well-versed in the “right” answers. But my feelings of momentary misery dwarf all memorized theology. God was allowing me to experience domestic drowning and I couldn’t get a grip.
The Psalmist says God uses all of life (even empty cereal boxes, sugar sprinkles, and toddler tears) to test us, try us , bring us into the net, and crush our backs with burdens. He lets men ride over our heads and brings us through fire and water. (Psalm 66:10-12) I’ve never gotten that verse in a devotional email after a rough day.
I want an easy existence. Obedient kids, a clean house, and iron-stomachs immune to vomit bugs. I work hard to eliminate the unlovely parts of life. Try as I may, I can never skirt the underlying issue:
My spazzoid heart freaks when life doesn’t go my way.
You too? Ask yourself these three questions.
1. What is God doing to me?
I’m admittedly self-centered and tend to see all pain as a personal attack from an angry God. I beg and plead for relief and exhaust myself with white flag waving, hoping God’s arm can be twisted into giving me what I want.
By allowing me to suffer, God isn’t doing anything to me. He’s doing something for me. My weaknesses and insufficiencies reveal my need for Him. They keep me from worshiping myself. Without the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in my life, I am destined for re-occurrent episodes of despair and disillusionment. God loves me through his refining work on my behalf. (2 Cor. 3:18)
2. What’s the point?
I can accept I’m a work in progress, but what’s a girl to do when a sanctifying situation is reeking havoc on my emotions?
The world tells me if I’m unhappy, something is wrong. I can fix any problem with the right discipline technique, weekend conference, book, expert, pill, or formula. False promises of an illusive Utopia, robs me of the need for the glories of Calvary.
I need to surrender my longings for a better life now, for the sake of knowing Christ and making him known.
Am I a victim or a beloved child?
I should be thanking God when He ignores my petty requests for immediate intervention. He has something better than a cease-fire in mind for me. He delivers me from my fears, control-issues, and self-absorption. This is not abusive, it’s merciful.
My “victim” mentality has to go. I am a recipient of grace, not a victim of God’s displeasure. My drama is being redeemed for my good and His glory. (Heb. 12:7-11, 2 Cor. 4:8-9, Rom. 8:6)
Don’t spazz when you’re being sanctified. Behold God’s hand of provision, He is making all things new. It’s all part of the plan.
Breathe with me...