Work and trust are two major topics swimming around in my mind these days. Sometimes they tread the same waters. For instance, I’ve been timidly beginning a search for an online job to supplement our income–something like transcription or data entry. I want some new things that I don’t feel brave enough to charge to the credit card–like a whole new set of bath towels and a laptop computer. These reasons, when I really rise above the water and see them floating in the blueness of my thoughts, make me wonder if I ought to be more trusting. God will take care of my needs. I suppose I don’t need new bath towels and a laptop computer.
God takes care of my needs through my husband, who is what I like to call an “extreme farmer.” Really, he’s a dairy farmer who ought to have some reliable help so he can sleep in occasionally (sleeping in means 5 or 6 am), except he can’t afford reliable help unless he gets more cows to produce more milk, which perhaps would require even more reliable help. Then I get to the awful, self-hating thoughts like “if only he had a wife who could milk cows; he certainly married the wrong person.” He doesn’t think like that; I do. Again, I’m not trusting God. I’m thinking that I can ruin my husband’s life, when really, God has complete control over that, and I can do nothing to ruin anyone’s life.
So what do I do to trust God? Pray for guidance. That seems to be it. If suddenly homeschooling life swamps me, then I need to realize that an online job is not in God’s plans. However, until then, I’m slowly, ever-so-tentatively, educating myself on the world of online work, just in case my trust in God frees me to dive into new pools of life, or maybe just wade through a few interesting puddles.
Today I began reading a book by homeschool mom Sarah Mackenzie called Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace (2015). Already I know why God led me to this particular book. Because He is speaking through it to me! I am going to do a mini-series on this blog about my thoughts as I read this book.
Here is the part of the introduction (pg. xv) where she talks about the story of Mary and Martha:
We can picture Martha in her frustration with her sister, right? ‘Don’t just sit there! Do something!’ And yet the Lord gently admonishes Martha’s busyness. Mary, after all, has chosen the needful thing. The contemplative way. The being and becoming over the doing and the checking off. I can almost hear him inverting the message to me–turning my obsession with productivity on its head: ‘Don’t just do something; sit here.’
I almost cried in relief at reading this. I needed to hear that “the contemplative way” was the needful thing. I needed this assurance that thinking and listening to God is not lazy or less important than working, which is what my husband does all day.
I don’t know how this book is going to teach me about marriage. It sounds as if Mrs. Mackenzie’s marriage is good, and her own husband doesn’t work all day (she slipped off to coffee shops to write this book though she has six children, three under the age of two). But I do know that this book is going to teach me about trusting God. And I need that teaching very much.
I read a strange novel called Transit by Rachel Cusk (2017). The woman the book is about is a writer and mother and recently bought a house that needs lots of work. But the story takes place in a series of long conversations the woman has with people she meets. In these conversations we find out about the lives of these other people. This narrative style is disconcerting because it turns the spotlight on these other people and away from the main character. However, the main character does have a problem, and the problem itself seems more menacing because of the backhanded way it is confronted in the book. The main character lives her life forward, but I get the impression she has been hurt too many times and is now only living, stubbornly sticking to her miserable, broken house, and allowing her own flat emotions to slide beneath the much more passionate stories of her friends and acquaintances.
I have heard it is wrong to give up and withdraw from your own life. I have heard we must keep doing the right thing, keep actively loving and drawing nearer to the people God has given us to love. And yet, I see the ease of living in a lower key and allowing other people’s dramas to upstage your own. To cease caring, at least for awhile. The other way, the righter way, is rough and choppy, bouncing back and forth between gaining trust and losing trust in people. That way has the disadvantage of wearing a person out. I can’t entirely assure you that it is better. Will God be glorified if I fall down under the radar, quit trying so hard to live the right way, just let life slide a little from under my feet? That sounds so shifty and criminal, but maybe it’s just… rest.