Yesterday I went to my wood shop and did some lathe work. This may not sound like much, but it has been over a year and a half since the last time I touched the lathe. I have done other wood work since then, little projects here and there but nothing on the lathe. I really do like turning wood but something happened that made it stop. I was injured. I ran my finger into a disk sander and …well, lets just say it took a couple of months to heal. And it did heal completely. But I didn’t go back to turning wood.
The weird thing is that I didn’t make a conscious decision not to work on the lathe. I would go into the shop and start working on a project and the lathe was there, but I didn’t go near it. I had several projects I could have done but I would always skip over those and go on to something else. To get all psychological about it, it looked like my subconscious had associated the lathe project with the injury pain and I was unconsciously avoiding the lathe.
Yesterday, I made a conscious decision to do a wood turning project. And I made it through. The project came out fine and I was able to do another and another. Like a barrier had burst that had been holding me back.
That made me think about other times that I have been injured, not physically, but spiritually. I realize that there were some times that I have made myself vulnerable and there was an injury that occurred. Either I hurt myself or someone else hurt me. And just like the accident in the wood shop, I started avoiding those situations. And I am still avoiding some of them.
Now, I am looking at those times when I was hurt and asking myself if I am avoiding situations like those without thinking about it. Are there decisions I can make that will overrule my minds desire to protect me. Can I , through sheer will, turn those situations around. And I have decided….No, I won’t.
Now before you go, what?!?, I don’t mean that I am giving up or not going to decide to go into situations that hurt me before. I mean, “I” won’t. I won’t do it by myself. I can decide to go into places that were painful. But if I do it through sheer willpower and then if it works and I make it through, it would all be me. And I don’t want that. I want my actions to bring glory to God. I want my decisions to be fully in line with what God wants me to do. If that means going to a place of injury, then ok. If that means staying where I am, then ok.
That doesn’t make my free will any less. In fact, in my mind at least, it is the ultimate in free will. I decide to go with God. All the time, in every decision, in every way. Have I gotten there yet? No, not yet. But that doesn’t change the rightness of that decision. Here’s the thing, when I make a decision and I make it the way I believe (through prayer and thought and love and mercy) that it is the one God would want me make then I go out on faith.
I can hear the objections already, “Aren’t you making your own decisions and just justifying them to yourself by using faith in God? “. My answer to that is no, just because I have faith I don’t have to be blind. I question, I discuss, I look at other viewpoints. The key to me is to be able to continue in my faith. God doesn’t call us to blind obedience. We have the example of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22), questioning, searching, finally deciding and going on faith.
In the end, that faith is the wonderful part, because it lets me be free. It lets me be free to decide. It lets me be free to accept the good things that happen, or accept the not so good things. I have faith that God will guide me, I also have faith that God will help me grow even if I get the decision wrong. I have faith that God will put people and situations and thoughts in my life that will bring me closer to him. I believe that God doesn’t confine himself to “yes” or “no” answers. He has no rules to follow but his own, he can cause that third outcome that I can’t even imagine. All I have to do is believe and follow and decide to be with God.
He will take care of the rest.