Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message
“How low can you go?”
I can almost hear my Heavenly Father’s deep voice say this while signaling his two smiling angel helpers (we’ll call them Gabe & Mike) to lower the limbo bar as I shimmy under for another round. I’ve never been very good at the limbo, not being very limber or skilled at bending my body completely backwards while continuing to walk. You know, my knees and spine just don’t like it. I marvel at the people who can practically lay back on an invisible board, gliding underneath the bar that’s inches from the floor. That definitely won’t be me. I’m trusting God knows how low I can go. Of course, He has a record of showing me I can go farther or lower than I thought I could!
We’ve played the limbo at the girls’ birthday parties with their friends. I much prefer the job of holding the limbo bar. It’s more fun to watch the other people contort their bodies, trying to maneuver under the bar without knocking it down. It’s fun to cheer them on and snicker when they fall down or fumble. It’s awkward but it’s fun.
You can’t do the limbo by yourself. You need people to hold the bar and it’s definitely more fun when there are other poor saps, I mean souls, taking their turns before and after you. Some of them inspire, some of them make you feel better about yourself as they fail. Hey, have to be honest! A lot of it makes you laugh. Most of it makes me laugh.
I’ve been doing the limbo in life for a few years now. You’d think I’d be really good at it, but I still feel clumsy and amateurish. Our house situation, needing to sell a house that’s been on the market in St. Louis almost 3 years and living in a rented townhouse here (with a bunch of our stuff in a friend’s garage – thank you Bryan & Susan), is part of the game. I’m definitely thankful for our townhouse but there’s always this faint limbo music playing in the back of our minds: “this is not permanent, this is going to end someday”, so that we never feel fully settled. I hope that song is true and not just wishful thinking on my part!
As a family we’re in limbo because of circumstances at church and with John’s job, so we are all taking our turns bending underneath the bar and encouraging each other, “you can do it!” My church family even joined the game for this one. What lies ahead? No one knows. What was is no more and what will be is a mystery. Of course, isn’t that pretty much what life is all about? I’m having to put feet to my faith even more than before. Not knowing and not being in control: prescription for anxiety if we don’t trust God. Choosing to trust is not easy, really trusting, that is….really taking our hands off again and letting God be completely in control. I lean back and hope my knees hold out as I wiggle under the bar that has somehow gotten lower since the last time I came through. I eye Mike & Gabe suspiciously as they hold the bar and I swear one of them winked at me.
As a parent I feel like I’m in a really weird limbo land and honestly I don’t like it a whole lot! What happened to the days before the limbo game started when they were little, when I called the shots, when we all spent time together frequently and at home, when I knew pretty much what they were doing and what was happening all the time? Well it’s gone, baby. Now we’re in between those times and the times ahead when they will have their own families or be out on their own working and being adults. There’s plenty of time left with at least one girl at home but it’s become awkward and I’m whining about it today to God. I’m tired of this limbo game! I want out. I’ve gone around the circle and under the bar so many times now there’s a path worn in the floor. The music has played so many times over that it’s playing in my mind when I sleep.
Will there be a time when I really get to stop playing this? Or is this the new normal and I better just get used to it? I look up to see a compassionate face on my Father. I don’t really hear him answer, though. He just pulls me out of the game for a moment to hold me and give me a breather. Time with Him is my settled time, my “I know where I belong” time, my “home”, my peace, my strength. His love is like the air I need to breathe and survive all of this. I have to make time to just be with Him – it’s imperative.
Okay, Lord, if this is the game for me right now, I’ll play on. At least I’m not playing alone, at least I can take little breaks off to the side with You whenever I want to, at least I know that YOU are the one who determines how low I go, how long I have to keep playing, and all the other “stuff.” I trust You. I’m sorry for whining. I guess I should ask You, “How low can I go?” Because You alone know that.
First you spread your limbo feet
Then you move to limbo beat
Limbo ankle limbo kneee,
Bend back like a limbo tree
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick
Jack go unda limbo stick
Don’t you move that limbo bar
You’ll be a limbo star
How low can you go?