Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spinning out of Control

Have you ever felt your life spinning out of control? You are going along in life with a nice little rhythm, and the next thing you know, the rhythm is messed up. Now sometimes it isn’t messed up to the point that it truly disrupts things, or it isn’t critical if it does – like…forgetting to dust the house one week, after all, the dust is going to be there next week and you can get two weeks worth of dust for the same amount of effort! (This is especially true in Spring when we have windows open all over the house – lots of dust!) Maybe you can get the cat to jump around on the furniture and knock a lot of it off to the carpet which is your husband’s job.

But there are systems that are so delicate that the littlest disruption sends things spinning out of control. For me, this delicate system that the slightest thing can totally disrupt is paying bills. I have a very tight budget (did I say VERY and TIGHT). There is a little wiggle room (I have learned a few things over the years) for those bills that tend to fluctuate such as heating and cooling costs seasonally. So although it is tight, it isn’t impossible. But then there is the time that it takes to actually sit down and pay bills.

I had a nice little rhythm of income and a nice little system of paying bills and life was good (or at least okay). But something came along, I am not even sure what it was, and I got behind in the rhythm. Then I got really busy at work and I didn’t take time to sit down and pay bills, and then BAM – the next thing I knew it was “out of control.” Unfortunately, I tend to handle “out of control” by ignoring the problem. (FYI – not the best way. I do not advise.) Then out of control turns into nightmares and panic attacks that things are going to be cutoff or hauled away or whatever said penalty is for being a financial idiot.

Can you tell I have been this road a few times? And each time I get it back together, generally by the skin of my teeth, or more likely by the grace of God. I vow never to let it get that way again and purpose myself to stay on this nice little rhythm that enables me to sleep at nights without evil utility people with wire cutters lurking in the dark recesses of my imagination. But then….

There are always times of craziness. Sometimes it is just a period of blowing the budget on outdoor and gardening stuff (my most recent error). Sometimes it is a period of having to be away on business and then attending to stuff piling up at work because you were away, and not spending enough time sitting down taking care of personal business. Seriously, I am too poor to need a personal assistant this much! But no matter how much I intend not to let it get bad again, occasionally it does; it just does.

This is like sin. Sin is missing the mark of perfection. We can try and try and work and work to try to lead perfect sin-free lives, but something always comes up and we miss the mark – again. Some people have that wretched personality type that we quit trying something that is impossible. So we quit trying to live perfect lives because it isn’t possible and therefore it doesn’t really matter what we do, and oh yeah by the way, we aren’t as bad and Mr. and Miss XYZ living down the street, and then we feel that we’re okay and aren’t we just perfect the way we are, we like ourselves. Rationalizing is one long run-on sentence.

Then one day something comes along to rock our delicate system built on lies to ourselves and others that we are doing okay, and we are face to face with reality. BAM. Don’t ya just hate that?

That’s where God comes in. Unlike my financial woes, where there is often nothing to bail me out of these stupid situations, in the case of sin in our lives Jesus has erased our sins and is faithful to forgive us when we ask forgiveness. And unlike my not having a personal assistant, we have the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and encouragement to continue on with the rhythm of our journey of faith. Do things happen? Of course, they do, but we need not fear the evil lurking in the recesses waiting to capitalize on our mistakes, because God has told them to shoo!

Of course, this is a slightly simplistic view of sin, but isn’t it really simpler than we tend to make it? So, what do you do when life gets crazy?

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