Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unwelcome insight

So we have this neighbor. I'll call her Edwina (not her real name.) From day one at this house, Edwina has inserted herself firmly into every single moment possible. She has come traipsing over to our driveway and door through every single home project, especially those within clear view, to offer advice and general observations. She has accosted each of us in our own ways, not just my own family but the other neighbors as well, to question us about intricacy upon intricacy. She seems to have no verbal filter whatsoever, and although her intentions appear to be merely friendliness borne of boredom, her curiosity can range from slightly annoying to downright rude and intrusive. She tells us what to do, tries to tell our child what to do, points out unfinished house business, and pries at us until we snap a bit. Even my unbelievably patient husband has grown weary of it.

When I'm in the wrong mood, I covertly check through shaded blinds to see if she's outside before I hurry into the yard for any reason. When I'm in the right frame of mind, I try to placate her endless queries with generalized but good-natured answers. I wish I could say I am in the right frame of mind most of the time, but remember? I'm a self-admitted loner and a privacy freak... so I often don't appreciate her nosey questions.

While I've been repeatedly dealing with Edwina's boundless curiosity, I've been simultaneously participating in a Bible study at a nearby church. We began by tackling the ancient book of Job. Wow. Short name, long suffering. Much wisdom about the character of God can be gleaned from that book. Each week, we've worked our way through more chapters, and the other women in my group and I have all discussed the depths and nuances of Job's ordeal.

The biggest lesson I've taken from it has been my need to question God less and accept and praise more. Even though Job is a righteous man to begin with, the humility that he learns by the end of his book is astounding. Who are we to question God, His ways, His means? Where were we when the world was formed? Do we know what all the animals are up to? Did we arrange the cycles of life, the rotations of the planet? Did we create any single living thing around us, including ourselves? And Job sits with his hand over his mouth, frankly embarrassed by his own impudence, listening to God and feeling small.

We were discussing the way that Job had initially questioned God's purpose, how he had wanted to know why things were happening the way they did. That led to some talk about our own questioning nature as humans. A few of the ladies in my group went on to say that often, we mere people want to win God over to our own plan, to "help Him" get things done in a way that pleases us. Sometimes we ask God too many questions, or try to insert ourselves and our desires into His plan. And God doesn't appreciate that; God works independently on a need-to-know basis, and honestly, most of the time we don't need to know. We probably wouldn't understand anyway—our perspective is pretty selfish and skewed.

And then, in the midst of this discussion, God poked me in the side and reminded me of Edwina. Her nosey ways. Her constant questions. Her advice. All unsolicited, unwelcome, and—here's the kicker—totally uninformed.

Just like my ways. I have been known to play Edwina to God.

Yikes, that was a disturbing thought. I remembered all the times I had bitten my tongue with frustration when Edwina asked yet more pointed questions about things that did not concern her, that she had no need and no right to know.

Just as I have done with my very own Maker.

So. There it is. I need to trust God more. When I do that, then I can stop asking God all those unnecessary questions. I'll bet He would really appreciate that.


Cari Skuse said...

Your post reminds me of the book I am currently reading. Have you read "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp? She asks the question as to why she is not happier, how to live a life well-lived. She starts to look for why and begins a list of 1000 gifts from God in her everyday life, and it leads to greater understanding. I an almost 1/2 through and it has really made a lot of sense to me. I think that you would like it!

Maybe we can get together some time?

Mel said...

Sounds like a good book! I am repeatedly recommending a book of related but not same theme: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Maybe when you finish Ann, we can meet and exchange? I am about the same distance from Soergel's and closer now to IKEA! ; )