Recently I’ve been mentally revisiting some times and events from the past. Partly nostalgia, partly introspection, partly looking for evidence of spiritual growth. This activity launched from feeling there had been slack in progress along the spiritual path recently. I don’t spend much time on the past. Probably due to much of it being unflattering and/or forgettable. The recent mental trip had some pleasant memories as well as some revelation: indeed, there has been some spiritual progress.
Within a 10 year period of my early adult life I purchased 14 vehicles and two homes (in two different states), changed jobs 6 times (at two different companies), got married, and had a child. About that time, my brother asked me why I changed things so frequently. My response was: “because I can”. That was decades ago and I’m still not the sharpest tool in the shed. I’ve made progress: I haven’t bought a house or vehicle in over 7 years, haven’t married or divorced in several years, haven’t changed jobs in almost 5 years, and still only have one child.
As a general rule humans enjoy consistency more than change. I have come to agree with the general consensus that change is overrated. Consistency is comfortable, easy, low-stress, and involves much less fear. But there’s a snag: complacency also shares these attributes.
Research into the synonyms and antonyms of the word “consistent” helped me better grasp some more of differences between God and human beings. Intellectually I know God is way different; it’s an easy concept to hold onto. Yet I seldom consider the measuring stick I use to determine “different”. Consider this list of words related to consistency, compared to antonym counterparts:
constant fickle, inconstant, convertible
steadfast unstable, irresolute, shifting
unvarying vacillating agitated, unsteady
unchangeable unsettled, skittish, restless
changeless irregular, unsteady, unreliable
fixed flighty, whimsical
undeviating wavering, fluid, indecisive
lasting volatile, fitful, irresponsible
certain fluctuating, changeful, impulsive
calm unpredictable, spasmodic, transformable
reliable reversible, permutable, mercurial
When I consider my own characteristics, I like to use words from the first column. Compared to a Kardashian or a politician, I am consistent. But compared to God, I am all of the words in the second column.
We say we want consistency in our finances, our politicians, our spouses, our kids, our church services, our health. But our only true measure of consistency is God Himself. Even the sun rises and sets at a different time each day.
This breaking news report is brought to you by Captain Obvious: Humans are inconsistent, unpredictable, and frequently introduce significant transitions, many of which are unpleasant.
Is it possible that humans indulge in their own personal inconsistency because God is consistent? God is the foundation of our existence – even for the people that say He doesn’t exist; is that why we feel free to be wavering, whimsical and indecisive? How else can unpredictable humans justify their demands for a predictable existence?
I was going to write about something else today but I changed my mind. (see what I did there?) Why did I change my mind? Because I can.
As often happens with the posts, it occurred to me that what I’m looking for – down deep – isn’t consistency at all; it’s control. As I examine how fluid my present and my immediate future are, I feel some degree of unease because I have little or no control over them. The desire to control points to a heart issue; a malfunction in motive; a breakdown in basic beliefs. It means I don’t really want God to be in control; I want to be in control. When people and events are consistent it fuels the illusion that I’ve got it all under… control.
Ack! Repent, wicked human heart!