Notes from Jan

Life’s Multiple Choice Tests

June 16, 2021

Life’s marked by multiple choices, which I loved on tests, but not so much in life. In tests it gave me a shot at guessing, narrowing down to the most likely option. Then, I’d take a leap of faith, hang my hopes on C, and pray it stood for correct. The worst options however, were D “all of the above” or “none of the above.” It felt like a trick to see if I really knew the answer, which I probably didn’t.

Life’s riddled with puzzlers, complicated by all or none of the above with a whole lot of mystery in between. Recently, I read a sociologist’s observation that a fair number of us are languishing. Somewhere between depression and flourishing is the state of languishing. To languish is to feel numb, lack motivation, feel stuck in place, a bit lost. If this were a multiple choice test, I’d check “all of the above.”

Why? Well, during this pandemic I’ve experienced the whole gamut. I’ve gone from the pits of despair, like a tile in a shop read, “Well, apparently rock bottom has a basement.” (I bought it!) But I’m learning that below the basement is the net of God’s love and care.

However, on the other end there’s joy, hope, and fresh appreciation for moments, stillness within and without to feed times of flourishing. Some days I felt like a walking psalm, swinging from lamentations and complaints to songs of love and praise to God for sticking around. I’d have given up on me.

This morning I read part of Psalm 77 in the One Year Book of Psalms by Bill and Randy Petersen. Verse 19, referring to God’s parting of the Red Sea for the children of Israel says, “God made a pathway no one knew was there!”(New Living Translation) The authors added,” So if you think God has abandoned you, keep looking down. God may be constructing a pathway that you can’t even see yet. “

I choose P for Pathway.

You, too?

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  • Reply Nancy June 16, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Amen Jan! P for pathway!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 16, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      Keep looking down, dear Nancy, but watch for potholes. New England’s issue, not God’s.

  • Reply Laura FG June 16, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    A. Jan
    B. Jesus
    C. Joyous
    D. All of the above

    Thx JC. Your writing is uplifting – we all love U xo

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 17, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      WOW! Hope I get to see you soon, dear Laura.
      Thanks for your encouragement.

  • Reply dale June 18, 2021 at 7:58 am

    A great reminder that life is a choice. If we choose Jesus, the hard choices don’t get easier, but they make more sense.

    Thanks Jan,

    Love, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 18, 2021 at 9:25 am

      So true, Dale. Some “choices” seem to come out of the blue, a God-gift, like our enduring friendship..

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe June 19, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    As a follower of the Way, I choose P for Pathway too! thank you for these wise words, Jan. I’m thankful that God as our Lord and Teacher doesn’t allow tests to come our way to see how we will do – He already knows – but so that we will be able to see how far we have come (or not.) Pressing on!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 29, 2021 at 1:03 pm

      Yes, “and having done all we still stand” or sit, crawl, lean..whatever it takes to keep on the Path in a long obedience.

  • Reply Wendy June 26, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    I too have experienced the gamut between flourishing and depression during this pandemic – so very thankful God doesn’t leave me in either place really (although I far prefer flourishing!) as I know He teaches me so much in each place. My daughter in law introduced me to a song yesterday “You Know” by Bethany Bernard – I love the lyrics. Here’s some of them “It’s so easy to say it’s fleeting when you are safe on the other side. But just like manna I’m finding breadcrumbs to help me trust until my faith is sight.” She recently had a baby boy – (their 3rd child, our 4th grandchild) and he spent 8 days in the NICU until they finally deemed him safe to go home as he kept having episodes where his oxygen would drop. Pretty scary. And traumatic – but God is giving her breadcrumbs to help her through each day and night until he is bigger and stronger. And he gave her lots of angels in the NICU, and angels in other places too. He is so faithful! Someday I’d love to tell you one of my favorite “God stories” from these last couple of weeks. Phone date?! 🙂 Love you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 29, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you for sharing this, dear Wendy. I’ll contact you about a phone date

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