Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Less than ideal

Yesterday I was talking with a good friend on the phone about "less than ideal" circumstances. At this point in my life, I feel like my circumstances really have a hold on me--not allowing me to reach or achieve my "ideals". While I know full well God works in imperfect situations, after awhile, the battle gets hard, and I am exhausted.
My sweet friend reminded me of Jesus' birth: how He was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem since the beginning of time, how Mary endured labor on a donkey, and when they got to the town where the King of Kings was prohesised to be born, there was no room for them in the freaking inn! (pardon my language.) Wouldn't you think God would prepare a nice, cushy spot for His own Son to be born? At the very least, wouldn't you expect a measly room to stay in and labor in?
But no.
Mary gave birth to the Son of God in a dirty smelly stable.
All circumstances were seemingly against them.
All ideals out the window.
Things were not perfect.
But God showed up. Oh yes He did.

This post is going to be part of a series of posts I hope to write in the future about becoming a "Recovering Idealist". While ideals are great and good, they are often not what God has in mind. When we let those ideals get in the way of the life God has planned, then they become idols. I don't want to let go of my ideals, merely let God work in the imperfect circumstances, and thank Him for it.

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed....Life is like an old-time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.

The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
~Jenkins Lloyd Jones


kristin said...

i'm excited for your upcoming series and i really needed that perspective today... thanks for that.

L.L. Barkat said...

Oh yes. Flexibility is not easy to come by. But it's so freeing when we finally figure it out. How to go with the less-than-ideal.

Loved this.

Courtney said...

Looking forward to your series, Andrea. Perhaps God has been wanting you to write the series, make the discoveries... and maybe that's why the "ideal" is on hold for now ;)

Remember that first line in the film Bella? "Want to make God laugh, then tell Him your plans!"

Michele said...

I am really looking forward to this series! :)
I loved reading this. Thanks!

Prairie Chick said...

Wow. That freaking inn thing really puts things into perspective! How beautiful is a word fitly spoken. Like apples of gold in frames of silver. Your words are always a beautiful picture in my mind (even when they are dealing with life's messiness). (((blessings Andrea)))

Janel said...

A M E N ! ! !


tonia said...

hey! we're on the same train! :)

love you, dear heart. i send sympathetic hugs and wait for your series with anticipation!

:..Rebekah..: said...

Oh, Andrea, this is so timely for me right now! I am such an idealist, and since things aren't how I think they should be, I'm struggling with having peace and joy in my life. God is really convicting me and showing me what the condition of my heart is right now. I really look forward to your future posts.

laurel said...

I always enjoy your insights, and look forward to reading this series.

Rose said...

wow, thank you for that insight... i should probably start working toward being a 'recovering idealist' as well. i especially benefitted from the quotation at the bottom. thank you for your prayers. :) <3

p.s. please let me know next time you are in town. i would really like to have a cup of coffee with you. :)

Elizabeth said...

God showed up.

That's the most important part of all.

Battling with you against the idolatry of idealism,

and very far from perfect,
Elizabeth Esther

SuzyQ said...

Moving, insightful and true.
Your writing is a breath of fresh air!
I'm really enjoying your blog.
Have a blessed day.
Suzy :0)

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

"Recovering Idealist"--I like that. :) We all, all, all live in the midst of imperfection our whole lives, and it certainly is important to accept it or even embrace it.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

"The trick is to thank the Lord..."

Isn't that always the crux of it?

Very much looking forward to this series, Andrea...

All's grace,

Anonymous said...

I have always called my husband the romantic idealist... i am the staunch realist..... i think god brought us together to bring us into balance...

Crystalyn said...

i just found your blog through nie's and this post really touched me. i know about feeling exhausted with "less than ideal" circumstances. this is a perspective i had not thought about before. i love it.

Anonymous said...

That quote is by Gordon B. Hinckley. Just thought I'd let ya know!

blessedmommie said...

I just discovered your blog today through some random clicking beginning with Heart of the Matter...and I know that God wanted me to end up here today. What you described in this post is exactly where I am at, and I have been feeling so stuck... you have given me a lot to think about. I have been holding onto my ideals too tightly, and it is time to let go. I will come visit again. Bless you.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

This has been the recurring theme of my life, and one I still don't fully understand. It's not usually because of, but IN SPITE OF our circumstances that God receives glory, and we somehow end up with our greatest joy. What a mystery. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts on this, Andrea.