Arguing and Bargaining with God … again

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“When you argue against Him, you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Two weeks ago, I heard the word “cancer.” I wouldn’t be anymore wound up about it than if I had set out to find a cure singlehandedly. The diagnosis is not mine, but belongs to someone I care about a lot.

#whilelovingthepeopleinit

Ever since then, I’ve woken up more tired than I go to bed, and I go to bed exhausted. I ache all over. I’m either irritable or on the verge of tears. So, when I heard from God, “Let go,” I gave him a list of things I expected to happen first. You know, before I let go, you do X, Y, and Z.

This round with God brought to mind my final year of teaching, and I have to tell you, I didn’t handle quitting well, which doesn’t look good for letting go …

Except there was a happy ending.

Near the end of my career, teaching felt suffocating. I’d feel sick on Sunday nights and shake on Monday mornings when I’d try to put the key in the doorknob to unlock my classroom. I dreaded every faculty meeting and felt overwhelmed by every extra duty. I knew my resignation was overdue, but I wouldn’t quit.

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“Give me another job and I’ll quit teaching,” I prayed every single night.

“Quit teaching and I’ll give you another job,” said God every single time I prayed.

When I say I heard from God, I didn’t audibly hear His voice although I guess that could happen. I’m not hallucinating. I’m not making up this stuff. He talks to me (and to you) in all sorts of ways like through people and quotes and movies and an emotion, to name a few.

I didn’t hear God’s voice, but the night I sat in a spiritual meeting and heard a woman share about fighting with God and bargaining over quitting her job, I knew she was talking to me and I believed it was a message from Him. She argued with God for a year before she did it His way.

While I was convinced her lesson was mine too, instead of following what God suggested, which was to quit, I waited just like the woman waited. I didn’t quit my job for an entire year even though I was miserable and wanted to bolt.

A couple of months after I finally left teaching, God did what He promised. He presented me with an extraordinary opportunity – a position I hadn’t applied for and at a place to which I’d never turned in an application. Plus, the job fit me to a T with work in the field instead of being stuck in one place and a flexible schedule. I supervised interns who were practice teaching. Other than writing, supervising for the university has been my longest running and most fulfilling labor of love.

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So, when I heard “let go,” which sounds akin to “quit,” I researched the diagnosis and bargained with God for the kind of healing I wanted to happen.

I made a list of things I needed to discuss with my loved one, the patient, and argued with God about why He wasn’t making communication easier.

I spent hours overthinking and analyzing and trying to be a fortune teller. At least, I think that’s what I was bargaining for since I seem to think God should let me in on the future.

How’s that for letting go? I tell you, I’m not good at this stuff.

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A friend (who has no idea what’s happening here) sent a quote that is now written on a card and sitting on my desk. She wrote, “Stop chasing the healing. Much happens in the fallow moment.”

I’m not sure, but I think it means “let go.” I needed it to mean let go.

Later in the evening, I heard from God, “Read September 25th.” The page is from an inspirational book I haven’t opened in a year. Here’s its essence:

Today’s reminder: Is there an area of my life that I treat as though it were too important to turn over to God? Are my efforts to control it making my life better and more manageable? Are they doing any good at all? I can hold on to my will until the situation becomes so painful that I am forced to submit, or I can put my energy where it can do me some good right now, and surrender to God’s care.

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” Martin Luther

The anonymous writer who wrote this excerpt is telling my story, and God’s trying to help me rewrite it. And me? I’m still bargaining. I’m arguing with God about whether I should let go now or wait until my demands are met, or, the more likely scenario, until I have to give up to tiredness.

The problem with arguing and bargaining is the only one held hostage by not quitting and by not letting go is me.

What about you? What’s too important to turn over? Dear Jesus, help us quit. Help us let go. It turns out easier and best when we do.

In This Together,
Kim

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15 responses »

  1. Great post, Kim, and I can sympathize with your feelings on teaching. I caught the beginning of the Age Of Entitled Millennials, and don’t miss it.

    I’ve had to let go of most of the self-image that made me whole, as illness took away energy and abilities. I’d like to be able to say that God replaced it with something richer and more fulfilling, but I’ve learned that there is a simple beauty in the emptiness (though being a Zen Buddhist may give me an edge here…and Zen is completely compatible with Christianity).

    I can’t be what I was, and there is nothing to be gained in mourning. It’s not likely that I will be much of anything in the days remaining to me, and that is OK, as there is nonetheless a fresh breeze that can now blow unimpeded through my soul.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/03/your-dying-spouse-282-for-loves-sake-fmf.html

    • I didn’t know you taught, Andrew. No one believes it a tough job until they do it. I’m happy to be free.

      Your encouragement is very useful around these parts! 🙂 And it is refreshing …

  2. Dear Kim, Sounds as if you’re struggling with this situation, and as usual your transparency is compelling and thoughtful .

    With all that’s going on in my world, I’ve HAD to let go, and I consider it like surfing now. I’m just riding the wave and when I pray and stay connected to my higher power, He keeps me from being washed over and wiping out. The fun thing for me in this visualization is that I never really know where I’m going to end up…and He’s taken me places I’d never have even dreamed would be possible. Like you, the most amazing serendipity and opportunity happens again and again. I try to expect it now…wait for the miracles.

    Bad things are still part of the life experience. No doubt, but they don’t have to define it. When it comes to illness, trust that death is not the worst thing that can happen, and that suffering can be used for Gods purpose. Then watch for the miracles that can happen along the way when love is at the center of things.

    It all sounds a little cliche as I read it, but I don’t mean for it to seem that way. The struggle is real, but so much of our experience is determined by our interpretation of events. I’ll leave you with this… Native story: the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.The other is Good -It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. Which one wins? The one you feed..

    In this in love together with u,

    Rebecca Z Artist, Instructor Website: http://www.artmyrtlebeach.com/

    843-450-2307 Schedule a class with me via this link: https://calendly.com/rzdybel

    Share love, Spread Light, DO ART! Give Back

    >

    • I love all that you wrote, Rebecca.

      It’s strange how peaceful I’ve felt when I keep my distance from the fear and look at the big picture (miracles are already happening), and how mired down I feel when I get into the details and the fear and my own control and try to figure things out. I’ve had time to watch myself since life feels like it’s moving in slow motion. It’s crazy how differently I handle it all from one day to the next.

      I hope things are okay with you. I know you’ve had surgery and a baby is on the way. Feel free to share if you ever want to since we are in this together. ❤

      By the way, I love the reminder about the wolves. I've heard the story before, but it's been a long time. I'm happy about the reminder. I have choices.

      Lots of love,
      Kim

  3. Big hug. Every day of my life and on really frightening moments or days I must actively/consciously choose to Let Go and Let God. Not a natural response but one that seems obvious when I really have no control. Surely God is amused at my behavior. I’m grateful for His tolerance in my weaknesses. Love to you Kim. ❤

    • I laughed out loud at “Surely God is amused at my behavior.” I can only imagine what He’s thinking about me lately. I’ve been all over the place with my thoughts and my emotions, and I envision Him just sitting quietly and waiting for me to finish. 🙂 Goodness, I just got a glimpse of how silly I look to me.

      You know a “little” about frightening moments, and I got to watch. It was a special time since it turned out like it did. I’m not sure how I’d feel if it had gone the other way. I’m glad we’re in the life together. I love you! ❤

  4. Oh Kim, I love waking up to a new post from you. I know I’m about to receive a deposit into my emotional bank account. Thank you for your complete transparency. I’ll pray for your loved one, as well as you, and that His will be done. I’m here if you want to talk or simply if you need a hug. In this together. ❤️ Love you.

    • Awe, thanks, JJ. I love our deposits to each other’s lives. ❤

      I appreciate your support and prayers! Miracles are already happening … just not fast enough for me, so maybe pray for God to hurry up. 😉 I'm sort of joking, sort of not.

      I'm looking forward to our lunch date. I love you! ❤

  5. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Johnette Coker, Delilah Lewis and 19 others

    Megan Hunt Dell I think I struggle most with the practical: I don’t know what ‘letting go’ looks like whereas I know what doing something, bargaining, worrying, etc. look like.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 11:07am

    Kim Henson Oooh, that’s a good one, Megan Hunt Dell. I need to write what letting go looks like. It’ll be short, but maybe I can come up with a few helpful things. I need it as much as anyone.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs

    Shannon Byrdic Anderson · 7 mutual friends
    This!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs

    Kim Henson Shannon Byrdic Anderson, I’m working on it. 🙂
    Like · Reply · 16 hrs

    Donna Feddick Fagerstrom Outstanding ❤
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:03pm

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Donna Feddick Fagerstrom! ❤
    Like · Reply · 21 hrs

  6. From Facebook (S. Kim Henson) ~

    Paula Chestnut Johnson

    Paula Chestnut Johnson The problem with arguing and bargaining is the only one held hostage by not quitting and by not letting go is me. VERY powerful words, thank you 😊
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · 15 hrs

    S. Kim Henson Thanks for reading and commenting, Paula Chestnut Johnson. I appreciate it.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs

  7. Kim, I love this and can picture you sitting on your couch (or wherever) just bargaining like crazy. I can also relate to knowing you need to let go of something but having a heck of a time doing it. At one point I had my dream job–more status, power, perks, money than I ever thought a little bitty woman deserved. I had not chased that job. It fell in my lap and I started out absolutely loving it–and getting hooked on the material stuff that came with it. Two years before I left I had a breakdown of sorts and started seeing a therapist. It took 2 years of seeing her and every ounce of courage I had in me to leave that job because it had become toxic and I could no longer do what was asked of me; my conscience wouldn’t allow it. I think the turning point was when the therapist asked me, “How long are you going to be your boss’s n_________?” I left soon after that and started my company. That was 20 years ago. I’m pretty sure God was sending me some strong messages that I could leave and everything would be OK but I wasn’t much of a believer at the time so it’s only in retrospect that I see the numerous messages He sent. I have had to let go of so much during the past 2 years that it’s now become a bit easier. I know I will be letting go of much more in the coming years.

    • Mary, obviously it takes a lot for you and me to let go. 😉 You would have gotten a kick out of some of my strategies with God if you had seen me in person. Maybe I would have given you some ideas.

      I know you’ve had more than your share of practice with letting go the past year or two. I’m so sorry about Rich and his health. I’m praying hard and knowing God will send you what you need and soon. ❤

      By the way, I love your job story. My daughter is trying to convince me I really can let go before something becomes terribly painful. Oh! You'd think that was new news to me every time I wind up here again.

      Luv u! xoxox

  8. Pingback: Letting Go … what it looks like | S. Kim Henson ~ Getting Your Own Life While Loving the People In It

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