magical thinking

when i am particularly sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, or discouraged i am prone to magical thinking. 

my house is messy and i fantasize about someone out there thinking about this poor, pregnant, stay-at-home mom and volunteering to come over and do a great deep cleaning or bring us dinner while i rest. i feel stuck at home for the third time in a week with no car at my disposal and i fantasize that someone will think of us and come pick us up and take us out… or stay home with hazel while I go out… alone! our financial situation gets a little tight with the boiler room and i fantasize that God will lay on the heart of some wealthy benefactor, or a collection of more middle-class people, that we have a need and move in their hearts to write checks to us, all without us ever saying a word.

please notice that none of these fantasizes involve me (a) asking for help in humility or (b) doing any work. 

there’s something really immature — magical! — about this way of thinking. looking closer at it, it seems like an extreme version of what began as a good thing in my ilfe: namely, a growing confidence in the attentive, abundant provision of my good Papa in heaven. see, for a long time i strived a lot, had so much trouble receiving anything from anyone — including God — without feeling intense guilt and a compulsion to pay back in full. but then He began to show me how perfectly able He is to provide for me as His child, and how thoroughly He does it, and in response to even my most hidden needs and desires. which is beautiful, and freeing, and puts my heart to rest. 

yet somehow the pendulum sometimes ends up swinging to the other side, the side of expectation-verging-on-entitlement that someone will miraculously anticipate my “need” (or, wish) and rise to meet it while i lounge on the couch with a good novel and a cup of decaf. 

i believe the Holy Spirit has been pointing this out to me recently, along with an extended invitation to move past it, to act like a grown-up in the kingdom of God. 

He invites me to ask for help if i need it, rather than expecting people to read my mind. but also to seek to give more than to receive. and He urges me to work cooperatively with Him in His purposes, taking the joys and the lessons that accompany even the most mundane tasks, knowing that these too are rich gifts.

so i’m learning:

  • to clean the floor and do the dishes with joy in the presence of Jesus, finding satisfaction in a house well kept.
  • to take on jobs as they arise with gratitude that though it may not be expendable income, we are always able to pay our bills (when for so very many people this is a luxury unfathomable).
  • to engage in the really tough work of actual fund-raising (hopefully without having a panic attack about it).
  • to get creative in forming fun mini-outings or activities with hazel — within walking distance or around that house — and pockets of quality time for myself even in the midst of a full day at home with a toddler

… rather than waiting to be rescued from it.

because it’s not too much for me.

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” – Elisabeth Elliot



2 thoughts on “magical thinking

  1. You speak wisdom, Brooke. Every time I read a quote from Elisabeth Elliot, I keep saying to myself that I’ve got to get to know that woman better. I need to read her books. Thanks for the reminder to be of service to God where we are …to bless our family is worship to Him.
    Love you.

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