“But I want it now Daddy!” That line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Veruca whines in that pithy English accent, knowing her father refuses her nothing, is one I’ve used many times with my own children. I was teasing them of course, and when they were young they would roll their eyes at me, and try again with “but Mom, this is different…”
Funny thing is that I do the same thing with my Daddy, my Abba Father. I want it now Lord. I’m not asking for a Golden Egg made by the Oompa-Loompas of course, but for something I consider far more valuable. Whatever “it” is may change with the seasons, but my want should be answered now, if God really knew what he was doing, right?
When my boys were little it was more “me” time. I was so frazzled and weary taking care of 4 little boys who had no concept of down time. I was tired of wearing sweats and pulling my hair into a ponytail. I wanted to wear clothes without stains, have an adult conversation without being interrupted every minute, and eat a warm meal at a leisurely pace.
As they went to school, one by one, I wanted them all in school so I could finally have some peace and quiet. I eagerly anticipated that first morning alone, with a nice cup of tea and a book…but that never happened. I had to return to the work force when my youngest entered school because my husband needed to do his student teaching. Someone had to feed the family. I traded my sweats for a suit. I now had a full-time job outside the home and a full-time job inside the home. Yippee.
I didn’t want to be a full-time career gal. I wanted to be a full-time Mom. I cried every Sunday night. I watched the clock. I “worked unto the Lord” thinking that if I just did the right things He would give me what I wanted sooner. My husband tried to console me with the fact that as a teacher he would be home with our boys after school and in the summers. But he wasn’t me and I was the Mom and I knew the way it was supposed to be!
I had a good job, but not the one I planned for. Not the one I went to grad school for, not the one I wanted. I was a college instructor, not a bank compliance officer. If only this, if only that…I talked to the Lord A LOT during my 40-hour work week: couldn’t you just take care of this one little request now Lord?
After a few years I submitted to His plan and gave up on mine; only to pick it up again every time something didn’t fit my idea of how it should be at work or at home. I was a crabby, resentful wife, a demanding task master to my husband and my children. Our relationships suffered, but the blessing is that they were all male. They didn’t hold on to resentment like I did. They loved me, they supported me, they were proud of me.
I made it my daily prayer to ask the Lord to use me in my job. To use what I saw as useless to make a difference for Him. At about year 5 I felt a shift in my attitude that was definitely the Holy Spirit at work in me, because I was still full of stubborn pride that masqueraded as acceptance. Although I had “worked unto the Lord” I hadn’t really used my gifts to make a difference. So I started with creative trainings, reaching out to the community, proposing new ideas, and building relationships with my co-workers. Even the nasty, irritating ones. “Especially those ones,” I heard Him say!
Little by little I began to enjoy my work, or at least the place I worked and the opportunities I had. The Lord touched some people’s lives through me during those years and once I realized what was going on, it made my job exciting and I began to anticipate Mondays!
There finally came a day, 7 years after I started this job, when a position at the local community college opened up in my field. I hesitated to apply because now I felt maybe this current job was the job God wanted me to have. Oh the conundrum! I applied, asking the Lord, as I had many times before, to open doors where he wanted me to go and close the doors that needed to be shut. For once and for all.
I got the job! And now 3 years later, I can’t imagine doing ANYTHING besides teaching psychology and human development on a spiritually dark campus. Every day is a challenge, a thrill, an eye-opener! The Lord uses me in this job too…there are people that need a smile, a hug, some wise counsel, re-direction…a little taste of Jesus everywhere.
My job is to follow Him. His now is the perfect now. Wasting energy, wasting time, wasting relationships isn’t His plan, it’s what I do when I’m not trusting His NOW. One of the pleasures of getting older is seeing all the stuff that God has worked out for His glory and my good. It really isn’t easy to trust, it takes practice, which the Lord delights in giving us, because He knows our hearts, He knows the best for us, and he knows that sometimes we are spoiled brats that do not need the Golden Egg right now!
Lord you are the Great I Am. Your ways are perfect. Thank you for forgiving my selfish, prideful ways. Thank you for making every NOW possible to grow closer to you and every NOW the perfect time to do Your will, not my own. Open my eyes Jesus. Help me to see what you see around me and help me to be what your plan, right now, needs. Amen