I have a confession. We have 7 overdue library books that I just can’t find anywhere. They’ve been renewed once already, and I searched all the normal places—backpacks, bookshelves, and under the bed. I even looked at my parent’s house thinking they got left behind after a sleepover. No avail. These books were gone. I can’t let it go though. I am unnecessarily carrying the “guilt” of our missing library books.
With everything the last two weeks demanded, I decided it was a good idea to hyper-fixate on finding these ridiculous books. I deep cleaned my daughter’s room, and the van. I sorted toys from our basement to donate and reorganized cabinets. Why did I pick the last two weeks to do all of this?! Am I nuts?!
I even went to the library to plead my case and beg that the librarian let me admit defeat and pay for them. Instead, the kind-hearted librarian renewed all 7 books and assured me they would turn up in the next month. Little did she know that I had practically upturned MY ENTIRE HOME during two stressful weeks in an attempt to find them. Renewing them was not what I “needed” so I thought. Paying for them was my attempt to earn favor. Pay my debt and relieve my heart. So much simpler than the heartache of a continued search.
God always has a better way though, doesn’t He?
In a desperate attempt to redirect my heart, I finally prayed that the Lord would help me find these silly books. I prayed that two days ago. And do you know what happened today? I was picking up the piles on the stairs—you know the ones that sit there for months ignored? Yup, those ones! I went to move a random target bag and lo and behold,
THERE ARE THOSE MISSING LIBRARY BOOKS.
The sight of these books brought me to my knees. These books that caused so much angst. These books that I wrongly accused my kids of misplacing. These books that put my behind in gear to accomplish some tasks I had been avoiding. These precious, ridiculous books that tell me the Father sees me.
Maybe it was God’s kindness—and my messy tendencies—that kept these books covered up. Maybe it was God’s kindness that allowed me another task to focus on while I was feeling so much pressure elsewhere. Maybe it was God’s kindness that will provide an opportunity to ask my kids’ forgiveness for wrongfully accusing them. Maybe it was God’s kindness that He helped me find them today…
Sometimes, the Lord allows me to operate from my own strength for a while—waiting patiently for my heart to bend toward Him in trust rather than break under my attempts to shoulder the weight independently.
See, I think life’s problems are a lot like these library books. Elusive and hidden. We spend a lot of time worrying and working. Worrying and working some more. And worrying and working some more. Maybe even giving up and bargaining to assuage the discomfort our hearts feel under the weight of their pressure.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 MSG
I was listening to this on Dwell this morning, and love that. “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” When He sits rightfully on the throne of your being, and you turn your anxious thoughts to Him in prayer. Big and small. From concerts celebrating a full year’s creative work to missing library books to those torn from war, oppression, and political unrest… there isn’t a cry of the human heart that He doesn’t heed. God wants to hear it all. He wants to be the Finder of all good things around us and the Fulfiller of our every need.
This is my prayer for petition and praise this week… come what may, the Lord sees me and I see Him. May my heart be ever bended toward Him in patient trust and eternal gratitude. Amen!