You’d think I would have learned by now that saying, “I will never…” is a really dumb idea. Inevitably that is the very place life takes me. I said I would never live in Texas (no offense, Texas) and I took a 6 month internship outside of Dallas. I said I would never have kids, and currently my 4 month old son is playing upstairs with his dad. You get the idea.
It looks like God is getting ready to lead me into another one of those Nevers. I didn’t go looking for it. I’m not sure I want it. And, quite frankly, it scares me. One might deduce that God likes for us to suffer through Things We Don’t Like. Or worse, He has some perverse sense of humor.
But I think those Nevers are signs of a deeper heart issue. When I take a moment to reflect on why I say never I realize there is something causing me to refuse. Selfishness, fear, greed, or even loving the wrong things can lead us to draw those lines in the sand. It really is an issue of control. Do I trust God to direct my life even if He takes me to places that are uncomfortable, scary or unwanted? Will I let Him pry my white knuckles from the reigns? Sometimes He leads us to do those Nevers. Sometimes the struggle and surrender is the real issue, and when the wrestling is over we realize life has taken a different turn. Either way the process is part of our heart’s refining – I think the outcome is secondary to God’s desire to make us more like Him.
My refusal to have children stemmed from old heartaches and fears that convinced me that to have a child was to risk rebellion and heartache. I had seen the pain parenting can cause and I wanted no part of it. God also revealed a deep, deep selfishness. I didn’t want to share the time or resources or energy necessary to be a parent. Discovering this selfishness lead me to a place of surrender. I knew that, children or not, I did’t want my life to be guided by such ugly motivations. I told God that if He wanted me to have children, He would have to change my heart to want them. Slowly, over a period of months, He did just that.
The Never I am facing right now makes my stomach churn. There is still much uncertainty about what God is asking. But this time I want to face it with wide eyes, aware of the reasons I resist and willing to examine those with Him.