Mental Gymnastics

I have always been inquisitive.  But I not only want to know what is going on, I want to understand it.  If I don’t and things aren’t falling into place in my little blonde head, I have been known to go without sleep to figure it out.  If I cannot understand or process and the clock is telling me it is tomorrow, then that’s when the real frustration sets in.  I will lie awake until I can put into words what is going on in my heart and tell it to God.

This kind of thinking may sound noble, but it’s a pain in the ass.  (Yes, I said that.)  It’s troublesome.  It’s like a journey of a thousand miles that begins with a single thought.  Better to have thought and lost than never to have thought at all.  An ounce of understanding is worth a pound of thinking.  And my favorite, laugh and the world laughs with you; think too much and you think alone.

Yep, I have been one of those over-thinkers always trying to figure out my life or another’s life.  The problem with believing you must understand is that you won’t always get it.  And this line of thinking causes you to not just lie awake, but to start to believe you cannot trust God to give you revelation or do what needs to be done.  It exposes what you believe about God.

I recently was talking with friends about some of my latest mental gymnastics and realized that I was trying to prevent a repeating of past mistakes.  I had been engrossed in making a decision and had fallen for the wrong thinking that I needed to be afraid of past situations recurring if I made a bad choice.  Every time I started to climb the thinking ladder was like getting on a sliding board that drops you off the bottom into a pool of self focus.  The result of too much focus on my decision had made the issue loom larger and had made God seem small.

We don’t always realize when this shift has taken place, but we can learn to discern it by the feeling of imbalance it produces.  It may not always feel like fear, but that’s always the root of the issue.

One of my favorite movies is “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  In the film, they “meet” in a chat room and continue to e-mail each other while not knowing each other’s real names or identities.  In one scene, she writes to him, “On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.”  Well that’s fine for the movies, but I find “not knowing” to be challenging.

This time of waiting on God and this time of not knowing has been different from any other time of my life.  It has reminded me of two verses in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 8:2, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”

And Hosea 2:14, “I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.”

God is not trying to hurt or confuse me by not revealing what I want to know.  He’s not into playing games with His children either.  That’s not His nature.  He will however take me to places that test what is in my heart, but it is always in love, and when I hear Him speak, He speaks tenderly to me.  When you are in the desert, there is potential for you to come to know the Lord in a new way.  After all…

“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)

This time of my life has certainly clarified my understanding of God and to know Him more is always worth any amount of sleeplessness and frustration I can think of.  I have become more certain of His love and provision for me, and more assured of the infallible nature of His Word.  God is reliable, trustworthy, and always has my best in mind.  The adversity we go through builds character, amplifies faith, and deepens our relationship with the Father.  If we submit to it, we come out looking more like Jesus.

I may have some times of mental gymnastics again, but it won’t have the same effect on me for I have learned at a deeper level to trust in the Lord – even when it requires everything.  So how big is your God?  Today my God is pretty darn big, and by the way, I slept great last night.

“I will lie down in peace and sleep, for only You make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)


© May 2010, Robin Lawrimore


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