Eat, Pray, Love…and Philippians 4:6

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about our house still being on the market after several months. It’s still there, and it’s now been nine months. At times I feel something akin to despair when think about making two house payments per month. I’ve even considered putting a “For Sale” sign out in front of the new home to see which one sells first. If necessary, we could move back to 511 Chesnut. We just don’t want to. Most of the time, I must admit that I feel “okay” about the situation. Things will work out. I know they will. How do I know this? Read on.

I’ve been reading this witty, wise, wonderful book entitled Eat, Pray, Love by  Elizabeth Gilbert, a must-read for anyone on a spiritual quest.  Before she left the United States on a “search for everything” in Italy, India, and Indonesia, Ms. Gilbert described a truly “dark night of the soul” spent on the floor of her bathroom sobbing (for something like the forth-seventh consecutive night). She didn’t want to be married, have children, or live in her newly purchased house, and she didn’t know what to do about it.

On this one particular night she did something different; she prayed.  A “Great Being” took her weeping away…yet there was no one there. She heard a voice, not an “Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston” voice, but her own voice…wise and calm and compassionate. The voice said, “Go back to bed, Liz.” This sage advice was the beginning of “an exploratory dialogue” that would ultimately bring her very close to God. It was also the only thing she could actually do about her predicament at that moment.

I read this passage at the beginning of Gilbert’s book and thought, “Aha, my feelings exactly.” God doesn’t use a big booming voice or burning bushes…at least not to people I know. He speaks to us with a still, small voice or plants thoughts in our minds. He uses other people, movies, music, and situations to show us things, to answer our questions. He always answers, just not in the way we might imagine…or anticipate.

In the 511 situation, I had begun second guessing our decision. I thought, pondered, and prayed for months (years actually) before finally making the commitment to sell. I KNEW that it was the right thing to do. Yet nine months later, here we are still struggling to make payments on two houses. What should we do? Were we wrong to move? Too hasty in purchasing another, smaller house before selling the Chesnut Street abode?  I asked myself whether I should just keep worrying (didn’t seem to be very effective) or come up with a plan. The latter option seemed better.

The most immediate plan was to pray, just to lay it all out there before Him and ask for guidance and a little direction.  Basically, after thanking Him for all of my many, many blessings, I ventured, “I don’t want to sound like a broken record, Lord, but I do need your help. Please, please, please send us a buyer as soon as possible if it be Thy will (of course). If not, then please tell me what to do. Should we put our current home on the market even after we’ve grown to love it and have made it our little refuge? We really love the deer that eat the Indian Hawthorne and the little room above the garage. Still, if it’s not Thy will that we should stay here, then we’re open to suggestions. Should I, as a TERI employee, resign and then reapply for my same position? What if I don’t get rehired? Then we’d really be up the creek. Is this a test? It’s all in thy hands anyway, and I know that…it’s just that, well, we’re getting a little desperate. Please help. Send me a sign. Tell me what to do.”

Here’s the answer I always get, the one that lets me know that we’re just to ride it out:

“Just chill, Jayne. Things will work out.” Not a burning bush, just a blessed assurance that everything will be fine at some point. As Paul told the Philippians, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known unto God.”  Philippians 4:6