Friday, July 19, 2013

Faith Through Hearing: The D.V. Philosophy

"Now listen to me, you that say, 'Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money.'  You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be!  You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears.  What you should say is this:  'If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.'"

James 4:13-15 (GNT)

When I was a teenager, as a way to cope with my diagnosis with kidney disease and bring some stability to my world, I became a chronic planner.  To this day, I get made fun of by my sisters because of all the pieces of computer paper, journal paper, and sticky notes with scratched out To-Do lists I'd leave around.  They'd be complete with timelines to the second and an estimated amount of time that it would take me to complete an action.  I was obsessed, I was sick, and I didn't know how else to cope.  Actual hours would pass in a day where I'd sit in my room, journal, write to-do lists, and cry.  

I eventually grew out of it. I'm still very much a natural planner.  I wouldn't be defined as "spontaneous" by an meaning of the word.  Have I relaxed over the years? Yes.  I'll usually plan things up until a certain point, and then (in the words of one of Ben's and my favorite songs) let Jesus take the wheel.  And sometimes that wheel leads us to having a really awesome unexpected experience.  

Life is very different for me now.  Not that Ben and I never planned anything before, but now that we're married we have so much fun just talking about the future.  And we talk about these things as if being married means they are automatically going to happen.  It's almost as if when we were engaged or just dating, we weren't sure if these things were really going to happen, because there was always the possibility of an unexpected break-up.  But now that we're married, we've started to think more about things we plan actually coming to pass.  

When I discuss "plans" with other people, I'm always incredibly excited.  Dreaming and imagining is one of my favorite pastimes, as is planning stuff.  But then it's only a matter of time before I start to have a panic attack, and anxiety and frustration creeps into my psyche.  When you've gone through any experience with chronic illness, you know that even the best laid plans can fail.  You've lived through it.  You've seen dreams that you hoped, believed, and just knew would happen, shatter right before your eyes on the rough, gravelly concrete known as reality. You think about what it felt like to have that happen, how broken-hearted you were.  You wonder, what's the point.  When you have a disease with no cure, you feel like you're constantly in a state of limbo, waiting for the other shoe to drop...or organ to fail. Why even plan or dream of anything in the future?  We can't predict what path our lives take. Only God knows.  And God knows me so well. 

This week of marriage, just as Ben and I passed the one month mark, was spent discussing our money, and what we want to do with it going forward.  Like most young married couples, there's talk of houses and traveling and emergency funds.  Unlike many married couples our age, there's talk of medical bills and health insurance and what if IT happens again.  As excited as I was to have a joint budget and the same ideas on how we manage it, I was also nervous and frustrated with how we'd deal with another major surgery like this.  I'd been studying this devotional on my Bible app called "Battlefield of the Mind" written by Joyce Meyer.  On one of the days she wrote about a man who was big on saying D.V. after talking about everything he hoped to do for the next day, week, month, year, or even life.  D.V. is an abbreviation for "Deo volente," which in Latin means "God willing."  The man described his D.V. theory as "having great ideas" about things he wanted to do or see, but D.V. was a reminder to him that he just wanted his ideas to in line with what God had planned for his life.  

I so want to subscribe to this D.V. mindset.  Because it's been a struggle for me to be able to dream freely or even plan what I'm going to eat for dinner without thinking, "Well, that could happen, if my kidney doesn't fail."  What I know for sure is that God says He knows the plans that He has for my life, "plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for."  So there is no need to feel like any idea I dream up will end in calamity.  And what I hope to remember, as I dream and plan with Ben and as we talk about our lives together:  even if something we really want falls through, we can still rejoice.  Nothing that we want for ourselves is ever better than what God wants for us.  And sometimes, what we want and what God want are the same thing.  
I really wanted my sister to donate her kidney to me. We had both planned on it.  We both wanted it to happen in February!  As you know, it didn't happen that way.  But you know what:  what God had planned for me and my dad, and the way it happened, and the timing of it all, I wouldn't go back and change one single thing.

"My heavenly Father, please help me live today.  Whether I actually say the words D.V. or not, remind me that Your will is more important than anything in my life.  Help me not to allow Satan to get me thinking so much about tomorrow that I fail to live today in a way that pleases You.  I ask this in Jesus' name.  Amen."