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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Lounge Chair Is For Lounging

Life has been complicated as of late. Many doors are closing and none appear to be opening in their place. I’m trying to continue praising in the hallway, yet I’m growing tired. Uncertainties plague my career, my education, my relationships, my future, my finances… I’ve felt as though the last two years have been a continual fight to survive and get back on my feet after the rug was pulled out from under me– I’m tired and am still not where I'd like to be. Anger has been rekindled. Emotions have run high and energy run dry. Thus, I decided to buy a lounge chair.

After our six-month, Pennsylvania winter, the few days we’ve had in the upper 70’s have felt like heaven on earth. I have taken on the task of “New Mexicoifying” my patio. I have terracotta pots with cactus in them (which I have to move inside on a daily basis so they don’t drown in the rain). Southwest pillows adorn my patio chairs and lizards decorate the fence. It’s my little slice of home! 

But, I desired a lawn chair. The kind you lay out by the pool in. I saw an advertisement for a store in town that was going to have a 50% off patio furniture sale.

So, I had one of my “I am woman” moments where I decide I’m perfectly capable of life on my own and don’t need help from anyone. I drove to the store to get the chair.

In the back of the department store, I was eye-level with the stack of loungers. Being determined and stubborn, I hoisted, grunted, lifted, and maneuvered the heavy chair off the stack (I only hit the wind chime display once!)

Now the task was to get it to the front of the store. Mind you, it is not exactly light. I flipped the chair upside down and balanced it on top of the excessively tiny cart. (Get the visual – tiny cart, lounge chair twice the size.) I start rolling it down the narrow aisles, using the legs of the chair to steer with.

The clerk at the checkout counter saw and heard me coming… “Wow. That’s impressive. Do you need help? We could really help you with that.”

“Nope! I got this. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Feeling proud of myself, I wheeled my lounger out to the parking lot. About halfway to my car, I considered that maybe I should have measured things first… 

I clicked open the trunk of my Hyundai Sonata and quickly decide that there was no way the lounger would fit in there. TaDa! The back seat. I threw open the side door and began to manhandle the chair with great determination. Other shoppers walked by – some stared – some laughed – this only fueled my determination. (It is also possible that I was talking to myself.)

Not even exaggerating, after 20 minutes of trying, a sweet old woman with a handicapped tag in her car window pulled up beside me. “Darling, do you need help?” She had to have been over 70. “No, Ma’am. Thank you though! I will get it.” The elderly woman placed the car in park and got out of her vehicle.

She walked toward me and placed her hand on my shoulder. “Sweetheart, I’ve been watching for a while. I know you really want this chair, but it’s just not going to fit.” I was annoyed, but knew she was right. What I really didn’t want to admit was that the chair was now stuck in the backseat.

Voluntarily, the old woman went to the other side of the back seat and began helping me wiggle the lounger out of the car. Once free, I thanked her and she drove away. All pride and power gone, I loaded the lounge chair back on the cart and went back inside to return my purchase. The clerk suggested I just leave it there since it was already paid for and “come back to try again tomorrow.”

I left feeling pretty defeated, frustrated and disappointed. Not to mention, embarrassed, hot, tired and sweaty. The next day I borrowed a friend’s SUV to return for the chair. Customer Service remembered me (after that spectacle, how could they not!) and one gentleman brought the chair out to the car for me. I opened the back of the SUV and the man placed the chair in the back. He closed the door and sent me on my way – a 30 second adventure as opposed to my 30-minute one the day prior.

The ease with which it happened was annoying in its own way – I put up such a great fight the day before! On my way to the house God shared a painful yet powerful truth with me.

We do that with life. (I've been doing it for months.) We want something – we want it now – we want it our way – on our terms – in our timing. So, we force it. We expend time, energy, money, and refuse the assistance and wisdom of others, just because we are determined to make it happen. All we really end up doing is growing frustrated and embarrassing ourselves. 
When, all along, God says, “Yes, you can have it, but let me help you.” When we wait for Him – for His help – His timing – His resources, our struggle becomes His way of blessing us.

I image God in His own lounge chair, sipping lemonade, watching me look like a doofus trying to stuff a giant, metal chair in my tiny back seat. He was inviting me to sit with Him – to sip on His goodness – but I was too busy doing it my way.  And being the gentleman that He is, He didn’t interrupt me.

Surrender it. He knows you heart. What you want, what you need, where you’d like to be. Sit with Him and wait. Allow Him to provide your heart’s desires.

I’ve been marinating on this powerful truth as I sit, wonder, and wait, fighting the lies and insecurities of my past. I’ve found that in my moments of pushing, shoving, twisting and forcing, my emotions and fears take center stage. It’s when I sit down in the lounge chair with the Father that none of the concerns matter. That's when His promises are whispered in my ear, drowning out the lies of the enemy. FYI - a lounge chair is for lounging. 

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

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