“Bri needs her spontaneity, I need my schedule, and we need each other!” — Ben Frei
I always thought my husband said it best by describing us in this way. I don’t do too well in boxes. I like to wander. I like midnight movies. I like to feel freedom to make choices on a whim. Ben likes to plan. He enjoys knowing each step and what will be next. We are a good balance to each other in this way–I keep his eye on the horizon and he keeps me grounded. I’ve always thought that it would be someone like Ben that would do great with diabetes. Someone who already has a set schedule and a routine way of proceeding through the day, they could just add a few extra steps and voila! diabetes managed.–but not a crazy like me! In a way, I am more like a hurricane, flying through the house grabbing things, doing my makeup in the car (maybe), leaving the house with at least 3 bags in the morning (usually a cup of coffee too–it’s a balancing act for sure, I should charge admission for this show!) and still HOPING I have all the things I need.
Sometimes Christians like to say, “I can see now why God gave me (insert trial), because it has smoothed out my rough edges.” I think that this is a true enough statement. But I don’t believe that it is right to consider this the motivating factor for a trial. Let me explain: for a LONG time, I said, “I can see how having diabetes really works against my natural tendency to be unscheduled and under-planned. God gave me diabetes to help me smooth out these rough edges.” Which sounds nice enough. What I was really thinking: God doesn’t love me the way that I am so He gave me this stupid disease because I’m not scheduled enough! This caused me to see my diabetes as a punishment for “the way I am.” I truly did. How could I, with a perspective like this ever think of diabetes as a gift? You know what, I didn’t. It made me boil under the surface when people would suggest such a thing! It even made me resent those who were able to joyfully embrace their difficulty as “a gift.” “Pha! That’s not how you really feel,” I would think. All the while I would struggle with my own guilt of not seeing my diabetes that way and not understanding why God saw fit to punish me in this way—especially since He is supposed to know what is best for ME! This was not best for me–for the crazy, unscheduled girl! It might be good for someone like Ben, but certainly not for me.
It is destructive for me to label my diabetes as God’s little sanding block in competition with my rough edges. To be clear, it does do that. Each step in our life is designed by God to make us more like Christ. “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:16). We are meant to be growing to be more like Christ–and that takes a little elbow grease on the corners, but God’s disappointment with us does not send the sandpaper–what does?
His emphatic LOVE for us!
It is not God’s disappointment in us that motivates Him to do anything; it is His compassion and love. Changing our natural tendencies is a “fringe” benefit, not the spark that lights the fire, but a bystander receiving heat from the flames. My misunderstanding of this truth gave me a warped, crooked view of God and His love. He is not a heavenly “life coach” looking to help me make improvements. He is no more in love with me as a hurricane-crazy than He would be if I were as scheduled as the orbiting planets–His love and approval do not hang on me. His love and approval have already been purchased for me as Christ hung on the cross. He died for me–not to make me a better person, but to demonstrate His eternal love for me, and for those that accept His death as payment for their sins.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–
by grace you have been saved!
So that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-5; 7
Because of God’s LOVE He saved. Because of God’s LOVE He “sands.”