Some of us have lived with F.A.B. (not to be mistaken with Fabio), a constant companion and guest in our heart for years. You have thrown him out lots of times but he keeps coming back. Leslie will be sharing with us her love and hate relationship with F.A.B. (aka Fear, Anger and Bitterness). May you find encouragement in your journey and a shift in perspective.
Contributing Writer: Leslie Foster from Ponderings of an Ohio Farm Girl
Did you know you can use a mirror as a dry-erase board? It’s true. No extra charge for that little tidbit. Currently, the following statement is written across the top of my bathroom mirror: “Real trust does not result in fear, anger, or bitterness.” I have been dealing with (or more often, living with) at least one of these emotions for the better part of two years now. Slowly, slowly, God is teaching me about that statement on my mirror.
About two years ago gave notice at my awesome job in Quito, Ecuador, that I wouldn’t be returning for the following school year. I didn’t make that decision lightly. There was a lot of prayer involved; both my own, and prayers from my wonderful support system. I was scared; I loved the community I was in, but I also missed my family, and consoled myself with the idea of being a part of their lives again for the first time in about seven years.
After saying goodbye in Quito, I moved into my dad and stepmom’s basement and continued the job search I had started in the winter. I visited family. I enjoyed awesome dairy products and convenience foods and Diet Dr. Pepper. I worked odd jobs and prayed for a job close to home. I thought I was trusting God.
And then I got a job six hours from home. There didn’t seem to be any other option; my time and savings were running out. I took the job. For about the first six months, I lived most of my days with an underlying sense of fear. Fear about my finances. Fear about proving myself in my new job. Fear about having to stay in this new, lonely place. Fear about the possibility that my life might not get better. I continued to look for a job closer to home that would allow me to pay my bills, but nothing surfaced.
Sometime in the late winter, my fear faded. It was replaced by anger. Why did God move me away from a great community in Quito into a total lack of community in this new place? I had never been so lonely. For so long. Without any reason to hope for change. It would be one thing if I thought God COULDN’T fix it. But I didn’t think that. I knew he was capable. Which meant that he must not be willing. And that’s a lot harder to swallow.
Time passed. I kept doing devotions. Praying. Looking for jobs closer to home. I found a church in my new town. I started making some friends. My anger started to fade into bitterness. Yes, some things in my life were getting better. But I was still six hours from home. No family. A stressful, unstable job. And still God was silent.
This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been walking with the Lord for over twenty years. God and I have done hard times before. I keep praying and reading and seeking, because I know it’s what I should do. Not because I feel like it. And finally, finally, I am starting to understand.
I haven’t been trusting.
I’m just starting to understand what that is, and I’m a far cry from doing it well. All I’m totally sure of is this: “Real trust does not produce fear, anger, or bitterness.” Those emotions presume to know more than God. To know better than him. The future isn’t my place. It’s all conjecture, and my guesses often leave my God behind.
God wants me here; in my present, BEING present and accomplishing his purposes for me.
Those purposes always include bringing him glory and reflecting him to others. And in this season, his purpose for me also seems to be that I learn what it REALLY means to trust him. Trust that is not based on circumstances or feelings. Trust that produces good things in my life, like peace, joy, and hope. Because ‘trust’ that produces poison isn’t trust at all.
Image via Flicker: Kyle May