Venting vs Complaining
You know, I often joke with my friends about how I am not the type to throw hands. I tell my baby sister all the time, if you get into a fight, I am not jumping in there with you. There is no reason for both of us to be embarrassed by these lack of hands and I'm positive I would just be in the way. So unless it's a life or death situation, I will be ready with bail money and bandages. *laughs* Hey. Sometimes you have to know where your strengths are. My weapon of choice is my mind and my mouth. I excel as the voice of reason. I am, first and foremost, a mediator and a diplomat. That sounds lovely doesn't it. Mhmmm. But let me tell you something. When I'm talking to God, all that diplomacy goes right out the door.
I maintain my composer very well in public. It's hard for someone to pull me out of my skin, especially when I can tell that's what the person wants. When it's just me and God, I let all the emotions fly. My mouth is reckless. I could compose symphonies the way I will string these cuss words together. If IdgaF, with a capital F, was a person, it would be me when I'm alone with God. I know I have a temper. So I've learned to cage it up in public to ensure I don't decapitate a person with my desire to read them from left to right. But by the time I get to God?? We are talking category 5, defcon 1 type of explosive. What's the point of this transparency? I am never my most childish and immature than when I'm alone with God. Mostly because it's my safe space to act a plum fool and work all of the irrationality out of my system. It's only after I'm cleared out that I can get God's wisdom on the situation. By the time I get back to the person or situation, I have the means and the wisdom to act like a civilized human being.
Now most of the time, God doesn't mind my mouth or my temper because I've got to exhale these emotions somewhere. He often encourages me to be vocal about how whoever or whatever is making me feel. And by encourage, I mean instigate. Think of my heart like the Uno Attack button. If I'm not being entirely honest about how a situation is making me feel, he'll just keep pushing the big red button, that clearly says Do Not Push, until I finally give in. When it comes down to his instructions, he's pretty much the same way. If I don't like or feel comfortable with what he's asking me to do, he'll stop me and give me room to be honest about it. My raw and uncut honesty perpetuates a conversation about the instruction, which often gives way for God to give me more wisdom about it, thus leading me to feel more comfortable.
In the last few years, I've gotten use to understanding an instruction before I have to do it. Where I sometimes struggle is when he wants me to execute the instruction before I understand it. Let that instruction frustrate me and all that immaturity I was talking about before comes right on out into the open. A great example would be the creation of my TCV website.
Over the years I've created several websites for myself, but make no mistake, I am not a website designer. My very first photography website had a bright Barney purple background and I was so proud when it I finished it. I had no idea how unprofessional it was. But hey, it was my first website and I was a senior in high school. You live and you learn. Since then, I've probably created or revamped my website a good four or fives times. Each time it became more and more professional, but I always knew that it wasn't professional enough. I could always tell it was missing something, but I never could figure out what it was missing. Now fast forward to my Clean Slate Season where I find myself going through my website just for God to tell me to delete it...Umm. I'm sorry. Do what now? See at first, I thought he was talking about the page I was on. Nope! He wanted me to delete the whole thing and start over, except this time he wanted me to create the website using the ADI version of Wix.
To those who don't know, ADI stands for Artificial Design Intelligence. Basically, Wix, the website platform, will ask you some questions about what the website is for, the colors you use and the elements you want on it. Then Wix will create a website template that you can modify. I'd worked with ADI before, so I didn't object to the idea. I actually thought it might help because it could give me something to work with instead of me having to start from scratch like I had a few times in the past. The struggle came in when the ideas I had in my head began to conflict with God's instruction.
As soon as I ran into the rigidness of ADI, I was ready to chuck the whole project. I am very particular about how I want things to look. ADI's system allows you to drag and drop things, but when it came to spacing, text and size, it wouldn't let me modify the elements the way I wanted to. I chose the color pallette but Wix was choosing where the colors went, the arrangement of which made it difficult to see the text. I couldn't place things where I wanted and if I could it was hassle just to get the sizings and positions to look right. The more I had to fight with the simplest design elements the more I became frustrated. So much so, I started fussing. A lot. Sure some parts of the website looked really nice and looked much better than I could've created on my own. But as a recovering perfectionist, who is highly detail oriented, there was too many small issues that were throwing the site off balance. So I let it be known to God how much I would've rather have gone back to the start from scratch version because then at least I'd have more control over what I was doing. Welp! You fuss long enough and God is going to say something. *insert the dramatics of God here*
Eventually God became sick of me complaining. Not venting. Complaining. He told me to go outside and take a walk. I'm use to walking off my frustration. So I didn't think anything of it, until I got to the bottom of my outdoors stairs and he told me to take off my glasses. I was like Lord here we go, but I was too frustrated to fuss about it and complied. I took them off, put them in my car and then went for a walk around the block. Pause. Have you ever had a moment when your parent caught you doing something you weren't supposed to be doing. Instead of punishing you, they give you free reign to do it, which makes you not want to do it anymore? Yeah. This was one of those situations.
Normally I don't have any problems going in about whatever it is I'm frustrated about, but there was something about this situation that made me not feel like complaining anymore. I should mention that when I walk and talk, I'm usually looking at the ground. After a few minutes of talking, I lost any desire to fuss and looked up as I was walking. I kid you not. Here comes Buddy with the sass, talking about "Why aren't you fussing?" *insert my side eye here* "Because I don't feel like fussing now," I said back. By this time, I'd realized that I was looking up, but of course, I didn't have my glasses on. I knew what point he was making. All my fussing was causing me to look down which limited my perspective. Even when I stop fussing and look up, I will never be able to see things as clearly as God.
Only God could be that smooth with a rebuke but! the dramatics didn't stop there. After I walked about 3/4 around the block, he told me to run the rest of the way home....Wait...what? Nope. He didn't stutter. He wanted me to run the rest of the way home. So of course, I started running. While I was running, I noticed that I couldn't talk (complain) and run at the same time. Not only that, I was able to get home much faster than I would've if I would've walked. Conclusion: If you spend less time complaining and more time doing, you could get finished a lot faster. When I got home and sat down at my desk he said,"You are brilliant but sometimes you act like a petulant child."....Oooop! Well excuse me then. I mean when I tell you God sat my entire ass down with this little exercise of his! I didn't have any choice but to apologize because I knew he was right. I knew I wasn't venting about the website. I was complaining because I didn't understand why he was making me do it the way he asked me to do it.
I decided to surrender to the project. I could tell you that it was all uphill from there and it would be a bold face lie. The website was still aggravating me. The system was too rigid and it wouldn't allow me to control the elements that I wanted to modify. At the same time, my website had never looked better. I was even able to see what was missing from the other websites, which was simplicity. This was the first website I'd ever built that was cohesive in design. It had calmness to it that none of the others had. It represented my professionalism while also representing my personality. Plus the access to stock photos opened up some new ideas I wouldn't have thought of before. So while it was irritating to work with, I definitely had to give God his brownie points. That is until things went way left.
I spent months creating this website. Months I tell you. Months. Just for me to finally publish it and everything publish out of whack. The logo was suddenly too small. The text was all over the place and that's if it bothered to load at all. The photos were showing up too small or too big. The site was once again off balance. To make matters worse, I finally called tech support just for them to say they didn't see anything wrong with it. Sure enough, I'm looking at it with them and it's fine. It looks exactly how I designed it. Then they get off the phone and kapoof! It's out of whack again. So now I'm frustrated because I know the dramatics of God when I see it. I know he's allowing something spiritual to mess with how my website is published because he's wanting me to change something.
You. Should have seen. My. Face!! when I realized that something was exactly what I wanted the whole time. I wanted to revert the website out of the ADI version to the full control version. The glitching was just to get my attention and let me know now was the perfect time to revert the website, giving me free range to fix everything I didn't like about it. I needed to go through the ADI version first because it forced me to approach website designing different. It's templates forced simplicity and cohesion, words that were once foreign to me. If I would've gone through the free range version first, I would've only succeeded in creating a slightly better version than what I'd been doing before. It wouldn't have come anywhere near to the upgraded version I have now. This is why God is the heavyweight champ and I'm just here, sipping my tea, admiring the sheer genius of God.
This project taught me a lot. First, while God gives plenty of room for venting and vulnerability, there is a grave difference between venting and complaining. Second, even when God gives you a vision for something, no matter how much detail he's given you, you won't have a complete picture until you finish the assignment. Third, sometimes God doesn't block what you want because it's wrong. Sometimes he's blocking it because it's not the right time.
Let's talk! What's an instruction you've gotten from God that you haven't given God the room to fully develop?