Saturday, June 18, 2011

Waiting, Not Making

Az the Husband got a pay cut at work. There are a number of official reasons not to call it a pay cut, but the consequence of it is that roughly $800-1000 will be missing from our monthly income.

Mortgage + power + phone + water + insurance + student loans + gas + groceries + doctors = more than we have.

Since none of those expenses are luxuries, we have to make some difficult choices. We have several options, all of them bad. Last night we talked and argued and stewed over our choices, and made the best plan we could for the next few months.

But that plan, after we do the initial work, means lots of waiting. Whether it's looking for work or selling a house, fixing this problem ultimately depends on other people. We can't do it ourselves.

Another Pinterest philosophy favorite is "Life is what you make it." There is a spiritual fashion to believe, like Oprah and her Secret-loving cohorts, that we are powerful beings who create our own reality, and all our dreams are within our grasp if we only free ourselves from self-imposed limitations.

This philosophy is a kick in the teeth when things go wrong. If you are the locus of control for your reality, then you are the one making bad things happen to you. The ideology runs on a mixture of narcissism and battered wife syndrome. If everything is in my power, then everything is all my fault.

I am not impressed with the power of my imagination. If my mind made things happen, my kids would likely have been kidnapped or drowned by now (and it would be ALL MY FAULT, apparently).  I believe that humans are fundamentally in need of rescue. I pull the doctrine of God's omnipotence up to my chin like an heirloom quilt, grateful for the hands that passed it to me.

The surprise to me is when I find new places in my life where I have not really let that belief shine all the way in. I say I believe in our dependence on a redemptive, omnipotent God, but I live as though my hard work created the universe.

And here we are. Looking for jobs, trying to sell the house, knowing that it is not really up to us. We muddle along and pray, hoping for the Rescuer to arrange something, waiting on him even if he doesn't.


  1. I'll be praying for God to "make a way" for you guys.

    We are on the verge of a similar situation (baby #2 will arrive very soon and that brings everything out of balance for us financially) and I'm struggling with the exact same spiritual battle. What is OUR job in all this and what is HIS? Which is more important: me being with my children full-time or keeping this house?

    Do me a favor and send me an email with some job qualifications or types of things you might be looking for. So I can keep my eyes open.

    Maybe we should both sell the houses and go communal. Share kids. Cook for each other. Start that damn homsechool co-op. (Only half joking.)

    We love you guys. Wish we could help in some way.

  2. "I say I believe in our dependence on a redemptive, omnipotent God, but I live as though my hard work created the universe."

    This. This is so true for me.

    I'll pray for your family.

  3. What? You're not willing to give up groceries?

  4. Yes! And Amen! We had a paycut three years ago. You know what, so far, the only solution has been to cut expenses more than we thought possible and for me to way amp up my efforts at providing a part time income from my birth work....
    At the time, everyone around us - even Christians in their way - pulled on the Secret philosophy - this is God's way of making sure my husband kept his career on track, kept moving on, uncovered his hidden barriers to being more successful.
    But in the end of it all, like many, many people, we just had to cope with less and know that God still loves us, is still providing for us, and that what is happening is not because we made it happen - or because God made it happen. What happened was because God allows humans to have free agency - including the people who making decisions about how much employees make. Some of those people will make mean, dumb decisions that hurt others - and sometimes they won't even do it on purpose. It will just happen.

    What have we learned in three years? Mostly that we were surrounded by a faith community that totally, totally bought into the American Dream and that we had to get out of there before we started to believe the lie. Although we did get some good advice, some good counsel, some wholesome prayers
    (and even, from some, practical help in a very strikingly new testament move) the overall response, was "Work Harder, Do More, Do Better and God Will Provide a Better Job and Better Salary."
    None of that happened and I will not join throngs of people who would like to blame Matt. He is smart, honest and hardworking guy. Any employer would be lucky to have him. Waiting is hard. Sometimes we even forget we are waiting because it can feel too hard to pay attention to the expectancy that is not yet resolved.

    PS I wrote this post once about The Secret and how it has infiltrated the natural childbirth world is a hideous way that makes me think of eugenics and Nazis. I don't say the N word lightly. More than half my Rosenblum side did not make it out of Europe.

  5. Ouch. We had a similar pay cut, but we knew it was temporary, so we made it through that year by cutting back on groceries (little meat, and no kids, you can't have a piece of fruit...). I like to read I Peter when I'm going through challenges beyond my control.

  6. I feel for you. The waiting, ohhh... the waiting. its hard. I pray that the certainty of God's character will keep you warm just like that heirloom quilt (great analogy) and that his direction & provision will be clear. I've just started following your blog, but I'm excited to see where he takes you. My Mom told me that uncertainty is just being open to whatever God throws at you.

    Peace to you!

  7. Great post. God's sovereignty can be a hard truth yet a great comfort. I appreciate your determination to trust Him despite disappointing and confusing circumstances. To say the Lord is worthy of your trust and your faith even when He doesn't act as you would choose is testimony to His sufficiency. Hard pressed but not destroyed! Yet I will praise Him!

  8. "I pull the doctrine of God's omnipotence up to my chin like an heirloom quilt, grateful for the hands that passed it to me."

    What an incredible picture of allowing yourself to be enveloped by His presence and comfort.

    I have to confess that I kicked that heirloom quilt off of myself when three years ago, we left the career that my husband loved but that was slowly sucking the life out of our family to start a new career in finance. At the very beginning of the recession. It was awful and terrifying and it wasn't long before I was staring out my kitchen window and thinking - for the first time ever in my life - I really don't think there is a God.

    Eventually I came back around because, Lord, to whom shall I go?

    I agree completely that all of our culture's belief systems and philosophies are excruciating when these things happen. I hope it doesn't sound hollow or trite to say that I'm praying alongside you, coming before God right now that He will show Himself to be your Provider.