Monday, July 28, 2008

What to do?

Have you ever been in an impossible situation where it really did not matter what you did, it was not going to be enough anyway? But you still felt like you had to do something, anything. When I was 11 years old I watched my mother and a high school boy carry my father from his office to the car, the apparent victim of some heart ailment. Weeks later my father was declared permanently 100% disabled. He lay in bed months at a time. I remember my well meaning relatives telling me, you're the man of the house now. I believed them and that was the beginning of my ulcerative conditions that began showing up when I was around 13. Every one was always saying, is there anything I can do? I should have said yes, Mow, rake, weed, vacuum, trim the roses, paint, dust, I think you get the idea. No one ever did to the best of my recollection. As I look back on it now I have to wonder, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! Did they really expect an 11 year old to DO what a man could do? Of course I could not and I do not seriously believe they intended it either. The Lord himself rescued me from my self, but that is another story. Nothing I could do was going to change his health. They wanted to strengthen and encourage me and that was the best they could think something, anything, even if you really can't do it. Pretend, fake it till you make it. Something similar to this has happened in our spiritual lives.

The children of Israel went through a spell of that. They had just escaped Egypt after a series of 10 totally divine miracles that ended in the destruction of the first born of all Egypt. For confidence and comfort God provided a night light and an umbrella for what may have been 3 million people. Then God puts them to a test, actually a series of tests so they would get to know Him better. He had already demonstrated His incredible power but now He leads them to the spring of Marah, where the water is undrinkable. Later they would run out of food and have many other similar tests. The worst part of the test that they had trouble with was "what to do?" Where do you find enough food and water for 3m people in the desert? The hard fact was there was absolutely nothing they could DO to solve the problem,but DOING was not the test. The test was BELIEVING. Those that believed in every case were saved, those that tried to DO something...complain, make a new God, refuse to look on the serpent raised, or whatever failed the test and some paid the ultimate price. They struggled because they refused to understand the nature of the test. JUST BELIEVE ME, I will take care of you. And God did every time, miraculously.

We have been wondering together where we have gotten onto a side trail and lived "less loved" than what Father offers. We are struggling with the same affliction. When we don't know what to do, we panic, grumble, complain, worry etc. God is not asking us first to do, but first to Believe. Doing is a result of believing. is there something you are failing to believe that is causing you to live Less Loved? You will never do your way out of or in to anything with the Father. He does not leave that option. If your leery of sharing, just hit the anonymous button..


Anonymous said...

The Bible says perfect Love casts out all fear...I have a long way to go to live that because I still struggle a lot with fear.

Fear of different things my pet fear is me and or my children being attacked/kidnapped / raped/etc. I have to tell you reading The Shack has challeneged this fear in me made worse by our vacation destination is my mother-in -lawschildhood lake cabin. It has electricity and indoor plumbing -THANKFULLY- be being in Maine it doesn't have central air so that means leaving the windows open. This challenges my fear a lot. Adding to that light in doors or out draw bugs so they tend to keep them off. So yes my origional fear is made worse by the fact that I'm afraid of the dark. Not afraid of monsters and such - actually I am afraid of monsters only my monsters are of the human kind.
I'm going to hit annoymous but only to avoid the challenge of entering a password on my Blackberry.
Brenda B

heidi jo said...

I'm with Brenda on those pet fears. I have often prayed, "Please God - not that - PLEASE protect our family from THAT!" And sometimes I've felt afraid He would 'let' it happen because after all, it happens to others... what might be asked of me?

I think of the same verse so often and as I read one of the books on topic it hit me like a ton of bricks... I thought I KNEW how loved I was but I am NOT living in perfect love because I still struggle with fear. Still, I don't know how NOT to be afraid of those human monsters. We tend to be the King and Queen of What If in my house - trying always to be prepared, ready for danger, preventative... and it's not that those things are wrong, it's when the fear has too much of a drive for those things that it's a problem. And that is a hard balance for someone who wants to let go of fear, but struggles to, and wants to FULLY rest in love.

Changing gears... This is not a fear issue but it is my current state of affairs: I have felt confident the Lord would provide, but have wondered why in the world He's taking SO LONG! I've worked SOOO HARD! You should see the massive stack of paper print outs (that doesn't count the hundreds I've viewed online) of houses we're considering for rent... when you don't know the area it's very hard to make a decision from a distance... thus 6 totaly trips up to DC for Jas, several of which, Seth and I went along. Part of me wonders if I'm just to let go for a few days and NOT look for a house - which is essentially what we've done. But I don't want to be unfaithful in doing my part on the practical side of things... I think the state of my desk attests to the fact that we're trying to do our part for sure! It's not an issue of laziness or anything like that. Now, here we are, ready to move out of our house TOMORROW and we don't have a home to go to. What we DO have is each other and God's hand. Our family is together, it could certainly be worse. We have movers to help us with the heaviest of our belongings. We have a moving truck for the things we want to move ourselves and a VERY gracious man at the UHAUL place who gave us an extra 2 FREE days to help us as we try to figure out what is next this week. We have a great kennel for the dogs if necessary and the option of decent hotels. We WILL be ok, we will have food and shelter, and hopefully SOON our OWN (ok, rental) house. :) It's almost getting laughable it's SO last minute. For the last 40 days (hey, that's interesting, that # - that's how much notice the Air Force gave us about this separation) I've thought and heard from others, "Well God may not be early - but He's never late - He'll provide." He is certainly proving that never early part right now. :) I feel at peace about it - TIRED - but at peace. Fortunately I do know that even my wanderings are led by Him. :)

shauna said...

This may not make sense, but bear with me - I worked last night and I am going on little sleep. As for the fear thing - this is big for me too. I have had night terrors for about 16 years now - I hit whatever/whoever is in my way. I try to run out of the house, etc. My biggest fear is someone taking my children or me, rape, etc. I had a night terror years ago that a man in a ski mask broke in and raped meand my cousin whom I lived with at the time. 3 years later a man in a ski mask broke in and raped my cousin in the same room I had that night terror in. Although it was a HORRIBLE experience for her - she grew closer to God because of His presence with her that night. I know the Bible tells us to trust God, fear not, etc. but God also gives us emotions and the common sense to be afraid of some things. If we weren't afraid to touch a hot stove we would get burned, etc. No one wants to be raped, or have our children kidnapped, etc. I think those can be "common sense" fears. We know that we live in a fallen world and that those things are possibilities, and it is only natural to NOT want those things to happen. I think where it gets unhealthy is IF we worry about it SO much that it takes our focus off of God, or if we would start to think that God would not be "good" IF those things happened to us. God loves us and it hurts Him when bad things happen to us, but we live in a fallen world and bad things do happen to good people. I think the casting out fear thing is knowing that even if/when something bad happens that God will still be there with us and He will walk with us every step of the way - but that doesn't mean we won't hurt, cry, and long for the bad circumstances to be over. I think the ultimate freedom of fear will come on the day when we step out of this world and into Heaven with God. Having said all of that... I know that I am a paranoid, overprotective mom. But I waited a long time for my kids, and I want to do all that I humanly can to keep them safe, and trust God with their lives outside of the responsibilities he has given me as mommy - knowing that they ultimately belong to Him.
Heidi, we are in a somewhat similar situation - although not as stressful. 2 months ago we had 4 sources of income - all ministry based, we are now down to 2 of those, with 1 more possibly coming to an end soon. The "do-ing" part is that I have been working a few night shifts and my husband has picked up some temporary work. I don't think God wants us to sit back and "Do" nothing knowing we have bills to pay at the end of the month, but I also fully believe that God has a plan for us and He knows what ministry position He wants us to serve in next. We have a peace, and yet feel torn between DO-ing too much, not trusting God to provide, and Do-ing too little, not being responsible adults. Where is the line? I know in the end we will look back and see the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly and smile at the beautiful picture God has put together in our lives. Heidi, hopefully that day will come soon for you. Papa Z (can I call you that even though I have never met you?) where do we draw the line on believing and "do"ing? How do we know when we are trying to do too much ourselves or if we are being faithful in what God wants us to do? We/us meaning, me, Heidi, or anyone else in these kind of life situations.

jolleyzoo said...

I was talking to Doni last week and expressing to her how grateful I was that you are finally blogging. I also pointed out to her that I have finally discovered where she comes up with some of her deeper conversations, the conversations you have to retrace hours after the phone has been hung up. I mentioned to her that recently I have had to set your blog aside, only to be read after the kids are far away from me and I have just a few minutes to read and reread if needed, not wanting to rush through it and take the chance of missing the message or the reminders you are giving all of us. You are inspirational indeed!! Ferris was laughing at me last night asking me why it was so necessary that I take my cup of coffee to the computer and a notebook when logging on to your blog. My response to him was fair.

"The head of the Zimmermann family is speaking, the notebook is for any scriptures he may reference, and coffee is a good aid to help me listen up when something important is being said."
In this particular posting I could express soooooo much from all sides of afflictions, feeling loved, and learning to just believe.....who couldn't.
Just before I logged onto your blog I was reading my emails and got this from a friend.

"All God wants from you is a pure heart, a humble heart, a heart that is submissive to His word and His voice. All God is asking for is that you give Him your heart so He can cleanse it of hate, strife, unforgiveness, envy, wickedness, anger, rage, bitterness, WORRY, FEAR, SELFISNESS, greed, conceit, pride and many more things that do not describe love."

Doni Brinkman said...

On Saturday afer we had that "the root of all your issues is fear" talk, I laid in bed thinking about all the time I have spent quoting "perfect love casts out fear". All of a sudden - I had a revelation that stunned me - which, therefore, made it laughable. EVERY time I visualize that verse - the DOER in me has heard it like this. "When IIIIIIIII can love God perfectly, IIIIIIIII won't be afraid." See the problem? LOL!!!!!! For the first time, I have new eyes on this topic. As I understand how HEEEEEEEEEE loves me perfectly, I won't be afraid. I am pretty amazed at how easily it has been to read the bible like an instruction manual trying to decipher all the many ways in which I need to "get it right" and then often walk away freaked out over passages like Matthew 5-7, instead of having every "He loves me" passage jump off the page. I stopped in the middle of Job (have been reading straight through in chronological order) and restarted today in Matthew. Dad???? Did you hear that? I STOPPED my agenda and RESTARTED without finishing. Remind you of a particular Sweetie incident lately shopping with Grammy? Apparently, the Everett gene diminishes a tad as it goes down the line. LOL

Don Z said...

Shauna, first,I am honored that you would think to call me at all, much less Papa Z. We may not have met, but you are prayed for and loved. As to how do I know where the line between doing and trusting resides. That is in constant flux. I have never punched a clock...except on Sunday AM and a very irratiting alarm when I was a died a merciful death...anyway, I can theoretically set my own schedule every day. I usually wake up and ask Father what are we doing today and begin my rotuine. most often the phone rings or some interruption happens that redirects my plan. I go with it letting God set my schedule. I also have a small business on the side in the RV field. I work when the phone rings and trust Father to direct it. Is there more I could do? Sure, there is always more. I try to do the reasonable while waiting on Fathers directions.

Suzie I would carry a notebook to record your wisdom and strength but I already know what your going to say, it is always the same and you have taught it to me. You always say something like, "for a long time I did not know God loves me and now I do". AMEN

heidi jo said...

amen with you papa z. :)

i realized (as i sat on the beach absorbing the message in He Loves Me) once again, that in the verse "perfect love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment" relates to me especially in the latter part. it's not a conscious thing necessarily and i KNOW BETTER of God than that... but i often find myself fearing the discipline or reprimand. i know it goes back to some years past when the simple shout of my name had me in sobs. it didn't take much more than that.. .the shame was overbearing for any little thing i'd done wrong.

i NEVER THOUGHT i applied that part of the past to God - I KNOW BETTER OF HIM! I DO - I TRULY DO! i've been overwhelmed and shared the message with others about what kind of Fathre He REALLY is... what joy and healing I found in HIS kind of Fathering.

but like the stray dog, i realized that i am still getting comfortable in my new home. i think i'm doing just fine - i snuggle with my 'owner' and become part of the family - playing, laughing, living, following, trusting, accepting daily provision as part of life now, fitting right in with the normal routine (as if God can have one) :) ... i even invite friends who need some love and shelter to join me! i tell of my Father to others, pray for my unbelief in specific circumstances, learn more of Him, share with friends and reach out with the GOOD NEWS! and yet, even after it's been proven OVER AND OVER AND OVER again how LOVING and FAITHFUL He is (boy, have I ever SEEN THAT IN ACTION!) I still hit moments where i fear... where the shame crops up and i can't seem to let it go but truly, it goes back to that fear of punishment - not that something physical will happen necessarily - but that my shame will be forefront, even encouraged for a moment, that the disappointment for my errors (even my error of fear or shame in the first place!) will be impressed on me just enough to know i REALLY get the message and make it stick this time. i never thought i THOUGHT that of God... and logically, i don't. but there is still that deep down fear and i'm sure it relates to the past... i sometimes even feel ashamed of my shame!

i'm going to learn to rest. it's time. :) i'm thankful that He already knew what my struggles would be.. i'm thankful that He is a gentle Father to me. it's exactly what I needed from Him. i must trust that side of Him. he knows i am only flesh... and He adores me. wow. :)