LASTing Peace, Week 38, The Problem with the Perfect Plan

This week I’ll confess to you my obsession with finding the “perfect plan” the one thing that makes me feel like I’m in control and can predict the outcome of my life, be it physically, financially or something else. I’ll confess this, explain the lie behind it and share how you can find peace when you are (as we always are) out of control.

Disciplined or Driven?

I’ve always been a black and white thinker. I remember my therapists saying, “You’ve got to chill out, let there be some gray areas!”

And I remember thinking that was compromising, only wimps compromise. Is that true?

I’m wondering what you do halfway?
And are there some things that deserve to be done halfway?
And is halfway related to balance?

Imagine the teeter-totter from your childhood. That hinged pyramid was situated exactly halfway between the ends of the beam where you balanced your butt. Ideally, two similarly sized individuals capitalize on that middle ground and lazily bound up and down. That’s a positive perspective on halfway.

But normally, when I hear halfway, I hear lazy, uncommitted, indecisive, watery, wimpy, undisciplined. Right or wrong, that’s my default interpretation.

So the concept of moderate exercise? It doesn’t exist for me, or didn’t until the uncompromising Jesus began to cultivate in me the mind of Christ.

The idea of a balanced budget? Not my cup of tea. Just ask my hubby. I’d rather watch the savings account bulge than enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Recently, the cogs in my brain have been on overdrive. I can literally feel my mind overheating. You see, I told you that I am writing a book. It’s a good idea, a God idea. I know that it is what He has been calling me to do for years and only now have I unearthed the courage to obey Him.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Can I fully obey God and still fully rest in Him?
Can I be disciplined to sit down and write this book and still be able to set it aside and engage in relationships and enjoy all the other things God has put in my life and enabled me to do?

This is me naked.
This is me rambling slightly, trying to let you inside my head. It’s a little embarrassing that I can’t find the halfway point between doing something well and doing something obsessively; between doing something for God’s glory and feeling like I am responsible for God’s glory; the difference between writing a book because I have something to say and feeling like a failure if I don’t say it all today; the space between BIC (butt in chair) writing and waiting quietly while God puts the words in my heart – in His time. That’s the key: Obeying God, in His timing. 

I think, perhaps that’s why God is so insistent that we wait on Him. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, that we are to come to Him and share His yoke, His burden. That implies that He does have good things for us to do. The problem is that I often bend down, shoulder the burden and then try to run off and plow the whole field on my own. “Look Jesus, see how strong I am?”

For you, naked truth now,
Do you struggle with commitment in anyway?
How about self-discipline?
How about resting?

Do you see a fine line? And if you can see it and if you can balance on it, will tell me how?

Saturday is come and gone

“But concerning that day, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

“For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24: 36, 38-39

If you’re reading this, somewhere Harold Camping is very embarrassed.  The infamous Saturday, May 21, 2011, has come and gone.

Sadly, hundreds of people have swallowed the lie one man’s tiny little mind has calculated the date of Christ’s return.  If I can’t even fully understand or explain His love for me, how can I pretend to understand what He has purposed from before time began?  What saddens me the most is the damage that these lies do to the name of Christ, the infallible word of God, the Bible, and the reputation of true believers.

Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  I remember when I was little, my parents reminding me to be on my best behavior when we were out in public.  My dad held a rather prominent position at the largest company in our small Oklahoma town.  “You represent your dad.  When people see you, they associate you with your father.  You want to be an accurate representation.”  Christian, the same is true for us.  When we claim the name of Christ, we associate ourselves publicly with our heavenly Father and our Savior.

As a child if I lied, exaggerated, or spread rumors I would have diluted the respect that my father had in the community.  Similarly, as Camping, in direct disobedience to the Bible, predicts the date-specific return of Christ, people associate his false predictions and lies with Jesus Christ.  People will take the Bible less seriously and they will assume all Christians are liars.

For a more concise explanation of “Why it is Wrong for Christians to Predict When Christ will Return to Earth” check out article by Dr. John Ankerburg.

I was reading an article from the Associate Press about Harold Camping and this Saturday.  A few other things that convince me I do not want to be in his “camp”:

The prediction has been publicized in almost every country, said Chris McCann, who works with eBible Fellowship, one of the groups spreading the message. “The only countries I don’t feel too good about are the `stans’ — you know, AfghanistanUzbekistan, those countries in Central Asia,” he said.

Marie Exley, who left her home in Colorado last year to join Family Radio’s effort to publicize the message, just returned from a lengthy overseas trip that included stops in the Middle East. She said billboards have gone up in Israel, JordanLebanon and Iraq.

“I decided to spend the last few days with my immediate family and fellow believers,” Exley said. “Things started getting more risky in the Middle East when Judgment Day started making the news.”

McCann plans to spend Saturday with his family, reading the Bible and praying. His fellowship met for the last time on Monday.

“We had a final lunch and everyone said goodbye,” he said. “We don’t actually know who’s saved and who isn’t, but we won’t gather as a fellowship again.”

Seriously?  You don’t even know if you are saved?  Praise the Lord that the God I worship, who sent His son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for my sins and raised Him to life on the third day, tells me that I can know FOR SURE that I am saved.

and then I read this:

Bart Centre, an atheist from New Hampshire, started Eternal Earth-bound Pets in 2009. He offers Rapture believers an insurance plan for those furry family members that won’t join them in heaven: 10-year pet care contracts, with Centre and his network of fellow non-believers taking responsibility for the animals after the Rapture. The fee — payable in advance, of course — was originally $110, but has gone to $135 since Camping’s prediction.

Centre says he has 258 clients under contract, and that business has picked up considerably this year. But he’s not worried about a sales slump if May 21 happens to disappoint believers.

“They never lose their faith. They’re never disappointed,” he said. “It reinforces their faith, strangely enough.”

How embarrassing!!

“And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3

Why are people so eager to predict the date of Christ’s return, even when He warns us not to?  Why are some people so convinced of this date that they are willing to say their goodbyes to family and loved ones?  I believe it is the same lie that Satan used on Eve in the garden.  “You will be like God!”  It is our insatiable to desire to know all that God knows and to be in control of our own lives.  If ever I need a little reminder that I am not in control of anything, I read Job 38-40.

What do you think?

I know: When Jesus Comes there will be no mistaking it.  Amen, come quickly Lord Jesus!