I followed the snaking Gallatin River on 191, driving beside the water, on either side of me tree covered mountains and cliff faces, the sporadic homes and all the vehicles going somewhere. I played a song and prayed. It was a real prayer. Honest. Broken. Those kinds of prayers are rare, hard to come by these days. For a moment I gave God what hurts. “Take from me whatever is not good or best, even if it is what I most want.” God met me in my truck. Again, sitting beside me in the passenger seat, an unexpected sense of presence I did not even ask for. What I felt wasn’t an answer, a solution, a directive, a commandment. God does not promise wholeness and healing and fulfillment and satisfaction in the present of every moment. He just promises to be with us. God is not a magical solution or a guaranteed answer. He just is. And we just receive it.
So much of our suffering—our anger, entitlement, bitterness, unforgiveness, disappointment—is a result of our attempts at control. When I am out of control, I am uneasy, dissatisfied, confused, frustrated, anxious, depressed, afraid. I am attached to what I want and the outcome of what I want. Only in surrender—letting go of control—am I able to detach from what I want and the outcome of what I want, and begin to find some semblance of peace. Not absolute peace, not complete fulfillment and satisfaction and wholeness, but a beginning. I begin to be okay with what I have, and what I do not.
I always have what I need. Right here inside me. Right here beside and around me. Disappointment and dissatisfaction and unfulfillment and emptiness and brokenness begin to lose their sting when I live in the moment. God is not an answer or solution—an idol made in our image to make us happy by giving us everything we want when we want it—but a very real presence, sometimes felt and often not. When I stop trying to make God fit into my box of needs and desires and wants, I open myself up to a whole world of other, can I believe better, possibilities.
It’s becoming so fixated on the one thing (or many things) we want—the gallon of ice cream, the girl or guy, the family, the house, the job, the income, the car, the hobby or passion—that we don’t realize that in not receiving or getting it, or even in losing it, we are potentially being presented with something just as good if not better in the present moment. When or if it comes, it may be very good, but even without it, we realize we’re okay—better than okay. We rob ourselves of the gifts of the present possibilities when we fixate on what we don’t yet and may never have.
As for me, I want to fixate on the moment, the goodness—within and without—I already hold.