Saturday, July 23, 2011

Self-Fulfilling Prophet

In our home, much is made of attitudes.  It seems we deal with them so often, especially in the area of parenting, teaching, and training.  Sometimes I am sure that my kids, especially the younger ones, think that their Mom and Pop do not even struggle with moods and the wayward lure of a mind trip down a dark road.  While it is true that our life's experiences have served as tools of conformity to His likeness, we still have much work to do with our remaining years.

The other night during my prayer vigil, I began reading the book of Jude.  I was struck by how he begins this letter.  After loving greetings, he shares that his intentions had originally been to speak about the salvation they share; however his thoughts have taken a turn and he now feels passionately led to encourage them as defenders of the faith.  I appreciated how this displayed an openness to what the Lord would have. Have you ever been there?  Had an idea, a plan, a course set - and then you found that the Lord had other plans?

One of the areas in my life where I find this happens routinely is in my prayers, especially those middle of the night hours when I come before the Lord with my deepest matters of the heart.  Some years ago I had a meaningful experience with how this often works.  My heart was heavy as I prepared to unburden myself before Him.  I had so many fears for a particular child of mine.  The struggles we were having gave my agitated imagination plenty to work with as I looked into the years ahead; and the more I allowed them to tumble around in my mind, the greater their solidity grew and the stronger the element of reality they took on.  But I began with a time of thanks and praise, as much to calm myself as anything else, I'm afraid.  I have to admit that because of the heaviness of my concerns, I was less than fully engaged in this preamble to the 'main event'.

Coming up to the my crossover point where we could truly get to the matter at hand, I transitioned with, "... and Lord, I know that You have given me five wonderful children who I love so very dearly and I know love me..."

"Yes, I did," He interrupted me.

And I stopped right there, my entire path switched tracks as I got a sharp dose of what was actual reality.

The frightful inevitability of future horrors was all a concoction of my own thoughts.  And I realized suddenly that I had been working in tandem with my own worst enemy as an accomplice to terrifying self-fulfilling prophesy.  Not only had I gotten my stomach all twisted up in knots over this, I'd done my child no small disservice.  In every way, I was obstructing what good the Lord had planned, all because of my fears.  Maybe its not fears that do it for you.  Sometimes its the disillusionment of dreams gone awry, or discouragement in the journey, or simple dissatisfaction with the life you find yourself living. Any of these emotions can lead you quickly down a dusty road of ruts and wrong turns.  You can become your own prophet of doom and destruction, filling your heart and mind with barriers to His plans for you.

At that point of realization , I truly thanked God for what He'd given me, and I apologized for my wayward wandering into paths He had not called me to.  All that I'd planned on pouring out evaporated into thin air, and I committed the days ahead to His directing, this child to His safe keeping, and asked for the help I still so very much needed.  And He gave me a word for this child, "Draw her to yourself, and by this she may know Me."  Spun me around by my head and plunked me on my butt - and I couldn't have been happier.

This taught me a lesson in the danger of allowing my fears to govern my decisions and actions, one I sincerely hope to not soon forget.  So when your worries and anxieties threaten to overwhelm, go to Him; but be quiet enough that you can hear Him.  He probably has something to say as well, quite different than what you had in mind.

"Imagination frames events unknown, In wild, fantastic shapes of hideous ruin, And what it fears, creates."
Hannah More

God's peace alone...


  1. Another sharpshoot, dear Shyla. Right to the heart of all of us parents who think by the force of our will we can guide our children. What folly! I say that to my children a lot. Listen to God when He talks to you in the quietness. He's got plans for you, "...and He will make your path straight." Sometimes my fear for my children, hey, even for me, threatens to overwhelm me, and I depend on those quiet moments with God to remember who's in charge. I love where He puts me :-) I am so grateful for every. Single . Molecule.

  2. I was listening to a great lecture by Chip Ingram the other day. He said that in Latin parents are referred to as "in loco Dei", in the place of God. Now THAT is a position to take seriously. Not instead of God, but standing as His representative.

    This story illustrates how I allowed my fears to become the ruler of my heart, but as I look around today I see far too much resignation, an abundance of aimlessness, and not nearly enough slowing down to seek His guidance. Jim Elliot said, "I am as sure of His guidance as I am of His salvation." Amen.

  3. Fear. So core. Thanks for the reminder. I needed it. - Christine

  4. Shyla -- What a GIFT you are to me today! I am so happy to find your blog and this post spoke directly to my heart. Thank you! Sincerely, thank you. I needed to hear this today.

    Following your blog and looking forward to many more posts! :)

    Many blessings,

  5. Thank you Melanie. I have tagged your article on publishing an e-book - it looked very timely, and I read your uncool Mama post to my girls. I come by my position honestly, raised as the oldest of six by a mean Mama myself, it was bred into me. ;D

  6. Great Thoughts Shy!
    I have also found that past trials and pain cause me to worry about the future and fear that those ugly times will repeat themselves. So then I, in turn, treat that child with the expectation that they will fail again. Ugly, vicious circle that does become self-fulfilling
    prophecy. And completely unfair to that child.
    And completely unlike how God loves me.

  7. Great post! I'm going to peek around your blog a bit..just joined..God bless!