This morning at breakfast Papa announced, “I’m on vacation today. Let’s make silly putty.”
After breakfast, I strapped on a carpenter's belt and followed Josiah outside for a deck-building day. The poor guy has quite the motley crew--mostly me--but he's pulling off an outstanding deck building project. Sometimes I step back and realize that I'm proud of my baby brother. He's turned into a man I respect--for the ability God has blessed him with, and for his heart of service to God. My mind drifts back on the days when I worried and cried for his soul--before Nathaniel called him to repentance. The work God does is profound.
As we worked, we talked, and I vented.
I’m such a negative person.
I’ve really been encouraged and growing and strengthened so much lately, but the last few days have overwhelmed me with negative thoughts. At night when I sit down to write, suddenly I am so frustrated that if my life were written on a page, I would wad it up and burn it, just to have it all gone. It seems like such a stark failure and so absolutely pointless—like everything I believe and stand for will never be proven to be right and will never bring God glory. And like I will never be perfected. I hate being negative. I want to trust and praise and worship God and to love and serve and forgive others. I know I’ve been raised as a critical thinker, but my heart is critical, too. How can I change it? How can I become someone who focuses on God and His goodness and tries to proclaim His mercy and empowerment to others, instead of just watching and evaluating and thinking hoards of harsh, judgmental and condemning thoughts? This is not what I want to be, yet I feel forever sucked into a garish mud-hole of criticism. I feel the critical influences all around me and I find myself shrinking from them—yet these are also sources from which I have learned so much wisdom. How do I learn wisdom without being negative, cynical and condemning of others?
All afternoon I despised myself for being so negative. Yet, that is negative, as well. Self-condemnation equals defeat. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. It’s in light of God’s mercy that I can renew my mind and offer myself a living sacrifice.
I need to start where I am, with simple obedience and rejoicing today. Tonight. Tomorrow. I need to quit trying to make what I know is right make sense or look right to others, quit worrying about how I make God look and just obey. He can take care of His own image. I’m just supposed to be seeking to be conformed to His image. Abigail, just obey. Just obey.
Sometimes I think I'm just a lump of silly putty, myself.