Flunking Out

For the last four years of my life, I have been a student. I’ve taken many tests in this process, but none have compared to the testing of my faith.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been challenged in almost every area of my life. This testing process has caused me to question my motives, my abilities, and myself.

While I have spent much of my mental and emotional energy trying to decipher what was going on, I realized that I needed to enroll in remedial faith. The school of life had handed me a test, and I was flunking out of faith 101.

I am currently in the final weeks of my masters program and am moving into the clinical aspect of being a therapist. As such, I am faced with many decisions. Where will I do my internship? Who will supervise my hours? How will I balance my work/family life? Why is Lady Gaga so outrageous and what am I going to make for dinner tonight? So many questions and so few answers.

This is the place, where my pride would like to say I have all the answers and that in maturity and wisdom I sought the Lord in prayer and relinquished control to God Almighty…. but I don’t have all the answers and I didn’t give up control – not without a fight anyway.

In my desire to control my own destiny and help God out in the day-to-day operation of His kingdom, I attempted to assume control of my life and the options available to me. I know – how big of me right?

With perspective the size of a pinhead, I set out to plan my destiny and ensure peace, harmony and success in my life. The only problem is that nothing was going my way…so like a three year old; I threw a hissy fit with God.

While neck deep in stress and self imposed worry over my future, my good friend Beth challenged me. Beth and I have been friends for many years and she is one of the truth tellers in my life.

She simply and graciously reminded me that God is in control. He has more than just my immediate needs in mind and can be trusted with my present and my future.

In all my scheming, planning and worrying I completely overlooked faith. I had become so obsessed with the doing that I neglected to focus on being with the Lord.

When I finally stopped seething from my temper tantrum and took time to read and pray I recognized why I failed.

My failure to plan my own destiny occurred because I planned it.

In my attempts to get my own way, I completely negated God. I took Him off the throne and in doing so grieved His heart.

So, I have decided that even though I have a master’s degree, I still need to enroll in faith 101 in the school of life. I realize I am predisposed to settle for far less than Gods best for me and that I need to get back to the basics of trusting Him to meet my needs, my wants and desires.

What about you, what area do you need to go back to the basics?

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11 thoughts on “Flunking Out

  1. Christi Manthey Marcotte says:

    Oh, Karen!  The first time I was asked to speak, it was on holiness.  Seriously!  I asked if there was something I could speak on that I knew more about… pride, idleness, tantrum-throwing…No?  In my pride, I am so often sure that I have God’s permission to control things!  How much better things turn out when I’m out of the driver’s seat and appreciating the ride!  You are not alone in the class, sister!

    • KAREN COOK says:

      Thanks Christi…you would think after all this time I would have figured out that Gods way is best…but apparently I am a slow learner! So thankful for you – thanks for sharing your story with me…it’s good to have company in the class!

  2. Katie says:

    Enroll me as well.  How often do I get into the “thick of life” and, like you, decide I’ll plan it all myself.  “Wouldn’t it be great if….” and “If I do this, then surely this will happen…..” With my rose colored glasses on, I am sure that everything will fall into place, just how I want it to  Or so we hope it will.  God’s plans for our lives often take us on a wild ride we could never have anticipated.  And how often, while abiding in Him, do we release our grip on His hand and venture off on our own paths.  And God waits patiently, like a parent waiting for her toddler, for us to venture back to His path, take His hand and, once again, submit to His Will for our lives.  I shake my head in good company.  I think Beth should be our TA.  xo

    • KAREN COOK says:

      Katie – I wonder if we could get a group discount for this class?! Funny how we forget about Gods amazing provision and continue to try and plot our own course. I am so thankful that He is patient…glad to be in class with you – hopefully we don’t get in trouble like when we took Greek from Paul T. :-0

  3. Melissa Yue says:

    Thanks Karen, Katie and Christi-the wild ride strikes a chord with me. I have been on a few of those…hopes deferred.  Karen you are now passing Faith 101 at the midterm. You are released to now enjoy “study hall”. I read the book of James yesterday while I sat on the deck in my swimsuit to feel the last days of summer. I liked reading the whole book because it gave me a picture of the wholeness Jesus came (and died and rose again) to give me. I am now comforted in a situation I have grieved for several months. I realize that when someone has hurt you is a grieving process. God in his grace has given me a sense of peace and well-being, now that I have learned that he allowed me to again be touched by evil. I wish I were quicker with words to speak truth to people who are more skillful at couching their aggression in acceptable terms. But I hope to show her by my confidence,  the mystery of the work of our comforter Holy Spirit. I am most grateful that I do not need an apology because He is the judge of one’s (mine, too) thoughts, intentions, and  deeds. Thanks for inviting me  to have seat on the couch. 

    • KAREN COOK says:

      Melissa,
      I am glad to hear that Gods word brought comfort to you in a difficult situation. His peace brings wholeness to places only the Lord Himself can touch. I am sorry that you have been wounded by another’s words. I too have been wounded by a friend and found that when I allow God to be the defender of my heart I am able to lay down my hurt, my grudges and my heart and allow Him to be God. Thanks friend – for sharing yourself here today…Grace & Peace to you today!

  4. Rebeccadowden says:

    As always, thanks for your transparency and sweet spirit.  Boy, can I relate:  my struggle with self reliance and surrender to God puts me in God’s classroom on a daily basis!!

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