The Blueprint Doesn’t Match Because it isn’t Built

Our son wished us to be gone. While the words felt devastating coming from a 6 year old, it was comforting to learn from other parents that it is much more common than we first thought.

I asked him what he would do with us out of the picture and he sniffled through the tears to tell me that he would take care of himself. Oh, it was because we turned off the TV and he wanted to watch more. No beatings, no yelling, no grounding, we just turned off the TV because it was time to do other things besides watch TV. I know, we are monsters.

I asked how he would take care of himself and he shrugged his shoulders. (fun fact, he can’t use the remotes yet… he doesn’t know how. So you can see how well he thought this out. With us gone, he will have zero TV).

I asked how he would get food and he told me he would just go downstairs and get it from the cupboard. This is where we keep his chips, fruit snacks and crackers. And that was the extent of his plan. Which makes perfect sense… because he is JUST NOW 6 years old.

His master plan of living the good life is watching TV all day and night by getting rid of the only people that know how to operate said TV and he will sustain himself for the rest of his life on gummies and potato chips… enough to last maybe a few days. And because he is 6, we can’t even explain why this is such a bad idea.

His emotions take over and he knows more than anyone else. At first our feelings were hurt. We’ve done nothing but show patience and kindness and love to this child. We went through frustration, concern, a little laughter over the absurdity, and then it hit us.

God has a sense of humor, I think. Because even though we may not use the words, we speak this out in our life actions. We brush God away and claim, “I’ll handle this myself”. Either through distrust or lack of wisdom or lack of patience, or ego… we start trying to call the shots.

When the miracle doesn’t happen fast enough, it can feel like someone just turned off the TV. When the pain persists. When the hunger remains. When the relationship collapses… I’ll fix it. I’ll make my own way. I’ll do my own thing. I’ll make a move now. And how quickly forget that the God we push back, is the one that filled the cupboard for us to begin with. We think we don’t need God because we have all the gifts He has given us at our disposal.

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10 ESV

Another translation reads:

Cease striving and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10 NASB

Cease striving. Trust. Patience. Let God take control. Allow life to fall outside of the tiny box you crafted for it. Get bruises, accept scrapes, shed tears, and be mocked… In other words, line up behind Jesus and walk in his footsteps. But also, and this is key, allow the Father to lead through ANY valley, just as Jesus did. And accept and walk through those lows with eyes fixed on greater things.

Growth doesn’t fashion out of comfort. The things worth our moments aren’t conceived from our 6 year old minds. Our Master has put in us a blueprint full of pain, sorrow, and misunderstanding. But on the other end of that sketch is the love, protection, sustenance and all the saving we will ever need.

Until our fulfillment, we trust and we grow. Growth comes through effort, challenge, and acceptance of God’s gifts. There is a reason the blueprint doesn’t look like the finished product… we have to build it first. Until we finish building, all we have are parts and instructions. Once we finish, we have a God-inspired masterpiece.

When we don’t feel like building, when we think the effort is unfair or the destination looks off… we tend to turn towards ourselves. We grab the remote and pout against all the monsters that stand in our way. What if, instead of blaming the blueprint maker, we ask for His help instead? What if, instead of fleeing from Him, we wander to Him and spend more time with the architect and less time trying to figure it out through our own shallow and short-lived plans?

What if we could slow down and even come to a full stop… and know that TV and crackers aren’t the essence of life. Nor our jobs or accomplishments or hobbies. You know what is the most fun? When the desires of our hearts matches the blueprints within us. And don’t run after that frustration… the one that says the blueprint is wrong! That is what the 6 year old does.

The infant wants a new blueprint. The adult wants to complete the work. Lets grow in Christ. Be Still and know…

Image by Justin Martin from Pixabay

My heart hates driving

In traffic, I’ve grown tired of getting cut off, swerved at, beeped at, and being run off the road.  In short, I decided to stand up for myself.  At first it was rare and half-hearted.  ‘No blinker, no access’ I would say to myself.  I’d beep with all the might my imported hatchback could muster (… “meep”)  But the best defense is a great offense.  Riding bumpers, reading lane changes, knowing the road.  I became aggressive.  Anyone nearing my front bumper was the enemy and I wasn’t going to let them have the satisfaction of getting in front of me!

What happened?  My heart changed.  I’m a nice, quiet, laid back guy (My mom said so anyway).  People take advantage of that.  At the end of the day, I want them too.  Its the whole point of being nice.  But something got inside my head and reasoned that it was MY time.  And so I listened.  Full on road rage has settled in at times.  And I realized something needed to change.  So I would, every so often, let people over, slow down at on-ramps, and generally try to share the road.  But this was problematic.  I still hated those people who could have moved over earlier like everyone else.  I still questioned motives.  I still saw the angles.  My heart hadn’t changed back, only my mind had.

I caught myself today letting someone over and complaining the whole time.  They couldn’t hear me but I spoke out-loud to myself… “nice blinker!  oh, and no lights on while raining… kudos for the bad driving trifecta!!!!”.  I was angry.  Doing something nice for someone brings out joy in both parties.  Begrudgingly doing something because we feel forced by religion, parents, authorities, school, or any other reason… that breeds contempt.  In a moment of God-sent wisdom I realized that I wanted to make people happy.  My true desire was to finish last.  When I ‘WANTED’ to let people over, it became fun.  When I was having fun doing what I loved (being nice, and graceful to those around me), I knew my heart was back in the right place.

The heart controls our default actions… the ones we do without thinking.  If I hate driving, drivers, and travel of any kind, then I’m going to be a jerk on the road.  I can fool some people temporarily, but the heart will always stay true over the long haul.  If I want to be nice to other drivers, I can’t just want it mentally.  Its a forced fit that will blow up in my face soon enough.  I have to change the default behavior.  I have to have the heart of a nice person first, then I can successfully and meaningfully treat people nice.

I hope that makes sense.  I hope that analogy works for you… because this is the foundation of understanding the relationship God desires to have with us.  We are not forced.  But, some of us try to force it.  God doesn’t desire us to do things out of feeling forced.  God wants our hearts.  We can begrudgingly go to church.  We can fake a few prayers.  We can choke down scripture readings because we know we are supposed to.  All of those get a big red X with a buzzer sound.

God wants us to want to.  To desire to.  To love to.  In other words, our default should be to wake up excited for church.  Our standard should crave scripture.  Our first response… prayer!  And if we don’t, that isn’t a huge, colossal failure… it just means its time to stop changing our mind in a case by case basis and start changing our hearts permanently.

Doing something because we have to is called work, slavery or imprisonment.  Doing something because we love to is called happiness, contentment, satisfaction, and many other wonderful things.  Hearts don’t change overnight.  If you start clinching the wheel the next time a truck approaches, start conversing with God.  He is behind all successful transplants.  Be patient with yourself through the process.  God does not want the tired, weary, burnt out leftovers from your life.  He gave the best of Himself so He can join with the best of yourself.  Anything less than your most enthusiastic and heartfelt best is a mismatched relationship that needs some work.