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calm-still

Sometimes I swear I can be one of the most indecisive people ever.  This isn’t true every day (thank goodness!).  When it is though, it can be overwhelming.  There are days when I feel less anxious, more confident and seem to roll with how things go.  Those are rare though.  I often wish I could bottle that up and have it available for every day.

In relation, in the past it’s seemed apparent to me that I’ve been a better baseball defender as an infielder than an outfielder.  As an infielder there is less thinking involved.  Of course you have to have an idea of how to respond in each situation.  But all I ever had to do was rehearse things in my mind before each batter, breathe, and then assume a ready position.  From there I just responded accordingly.  As an outfielder sometimes there’s time to get anxious as you wait for that pop fly to reach you.

Also then, as I begin writing this, I am just watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Raymond’s brother, Robert, is obsessing over whether he should remain a cop or switch and accept a full-time gig selling home security systems which he has been doing on the side part-time for a little while.  He can’t decide.  He obsesses.  He thinks of every possible angle.  He makes a decision, and then reconsiders.  He asks the opinion of everyone close to him.  He takes hours and days.  It’s funny to watch, but also tiring.  Welcome to my brain… Get the picture?  I am suddenly reminded of this commercial.

This past week it seems as though my indecisiveness has been on full display.  My Dad went into the hospital on Wednesday morning.  He lives 3 hours away from me up north.  He has a traumatic brain injury and has resided in a nursing home there for many years.  Over this past weekend he started refusing to eat, drink, and also take his medications, thus dehydrating himself.  I just happened to take over guardianship for my Dad again this past week on Monday and a plan of mine has been to see about moving him closer to me and my family.  I didn’t know things would suddenly go erratic in just a few short days though.

Come Wednesday morning I was suddenly pressed into doing all I could to find out what was going on from a distance.  Then I stressed over going to see him and when.  As I was leaving a day later I stopped for gas only to find that I couldn’t find my credit card in my wallet.  That unfolded into a crazy scene of me backtracking and trying to locate it.  When I did it was just in a different place in my wallet that under normal circumstances I would never put it.  That ever happen to you?

Lastly then, now that I’ve arrived up north to be with him I’ve spent a lot of time stressing over him progressing, being willing to eat and drink again (which so far has only had small success), and ultimately be able to discharge him from the hospital hopefully directly to a new nursing home closer to me and my family.  I’ve been told that under these circumstances it’s easier to find placement for someone in my Dad’s condition so it seems like an opportune time.  However, I just wish I knew that this is how things will definitively turn out.  And I want to control it in that direction as much as possible.  As things happen as I’ve described here though, we easily recognize how little things are ever in our control, if ever at all.

Do you ever wonder how God makes decisions?  Does he ever analyze, consider, research, obsess, stress, ask for advice, etc?  Does he take every prayer or wish into consideration and every occurrence in your life and the world?  Some of what I just said seems wrong to think or wonder about God.  I imagine he doesn’t stress and obsess.  He must do something though.  We claim he has infinite knowledge and doesn’t make mistakes.  I don’t think there’s an example of Jesus ever being indecisive either.  The closest may be when he’s praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before he’s about to face the cross.  Even then he handles his emotions well in retreat and prayer and then decides “Not my will, but yours be done.”  Right here is a clue for our responses as well.

Back to my Dad.  His frontal lobe is severely injured and partly removed.  Much of our decision making and impulse control is housed here.  This has caused him to be less able to reason and restrain himself in his words and actions.  Can you imagine being a parent and less able to restrain yourself with certain things you want to say and/or do to your kids each day?  Now maybe you can imagine some of what I am hearing as I sit next to him the last couple of days. 😉

Psalm 77 asks some of the hardest questions of God.  “Will the Lord reject forever?  Will he never show his favor again?  Has his unfailing love vanished from the earth?  Has his promise failed for all time?  Has God forgotten to be merciful?  Has he in his anger withheld his compassion (vs. 7-9)?”  Tough questions!  Raw, real, no-holds-barred type questions.  One needn’t look too far to wonder such things though.  Natural disasters, traumatic events, war, famine, drought, or our current political culture name a few.

As I ponder on these thoughts of mine and write a few songs then come to mind.  One is an oldie by the band The Eagles called “Peaceful, Easy Feeling.”  Originally this song is written about a woman in Don Henley’s life, but the chorus speaks to this post as well.  It goes, “I got a peaceful, easy feelin’, and I know you won’t let me down.  ‘Cause I am already standin’ on the ground.”  That’s basically how Psalm 77 turns.  Starting at vs. 10 it says, “Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.’  I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your deeds.  Your ways, O God, are holy.  What god is so great as our God?”  The Psalmist ultimately remembers that God hasn’t disappointed (let his people down) in the past and thus ultimately never will.  This gives him a solid ground and firm foundation to stand on.

Another song is one I just heard today thanks to a friend on Facebook.  It’s called “Control” by Tenth Avenue North (you can listen to that here).  A part of this song goes, “I’ve had plans shattered and broken.  Things I have hoped in fall through my hands.  You have plans to redeem and restore me.  You’re behind and before me.  O help me believe.”  Then part of the chorus says, “God, you don’t need me, but somehow you want me.  Oh how you love me.  Somehow that frees me to open my hands up and give you control.”

Yet another song is by Jonny Diaz called “Breathe.”  You can listen to that here.  This song really gets to the hustle and bustle of every day life and how so easily we can never pause and breathe, relax, take in a moment, and be present with God.  The chorus goes, “Breathe, just breathe!  Come and rest at my feet.  And be, just be!  Chaos calls, but all you really need is to just breathe.”

Finally, one more song is one I see to hear only once every so often by Scott Krippayne called “Sometimes He Calms the Storm.”  I encourage you to listen to that here.  In the last couple of years I can definitely say I’ve reached the point of darkened skies and gentle wind gone strong.  Fear, worry, doubt, and grief drench the soul, but somehow I sail on trusting he is in control.  The last line of the chorus really closes things well as it says, “Sometimes he calms the storm.  And other times he calms this child.”

So these are some of my thoughts as I’ve gone throughout this week.  It’s felt like a challenging one.  It’s always good though to be reminded who is in control!

“Commit your way before the Lord; trust in him, and he will act… Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret…”  Psalm 37:5&7

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