I have a weird relationship with my name. I hear people say “Tracy” and it conjures up images of a bimbo in leg warmers twiddling her hair. I’m not sure why, but it’s always been that way. And strangely, almost no one actually calls me by my full name. Even strangers seem to switch immediately to “Trace”… friends have various nicknames, family members call me “Tray” or “TK”… teachers and colleagues prefer my last name.
But the meaning… now that is spot on. “Tracy” means warrior, and I am nothing if not a fighter. My mom calls me her bulldog, because once I grab hold of something I don’t let go. My dad used to joke that the movie “Michael” reminded him of me. John Travolta plays St. Michael visiting earth, gliding happily through the human experience until he comes across someone looking for a fight. And then he puffs out his chest, murmurs “battle”, and is off to war. At one point he even head-butts a bull. Here’s the thing: that’s a pretty accurate depiction of me. I see something I want and I go after it. I almost never fail. I make things happen. And telling me I can’t do something is the fastest way to motivate me.
But recently, I’ve started to see the ways that this pattern gets me into trouble. Because often, the things we want to be for us — actually aren’t. When God gently tells me to let go, and I lock on tighter, I’m not only prolonging the inevitable, but I’m making it more painful for everyone. Being a warrior is a wonderful thing, so long as you know your orders.
In this season of my life, I’m having to come to terms with my current orders: be patient. Ugh. Patience. NOPE. Not my forte. I spend so much time in prayer saying things like, “Tell me what to do… show me what You want… where’s the road for me to walk?” And the quiet answer over and over this year has been: patience… patience… patience.
Recently I found myself pushing again. And when once again the word “patience” came into my mind, I finally had my tantrum. Sitting on my patio wrapped in a blanket with tears on my cheeks, I growled, “God. Seriously? I have been WAITING FOREVER. I’m sick of waiting. I need this. It’s good for me. Please… please won’t you just let me have it now?” The answer: “Patience.” So I tried a different tack: “Okay fine. If I can’t have it, then change my heart so I don’t want it. I don’t want to live with the desire anymore. Just take that from me, since I can’t have it.” The answer: “Patience.”
I literally scowled at the sky that night, the way a kid looks at his parent when he doesn’t get the answer he wants. Folded my arms over my chest and everything. I might have even grumbled, “Humph!” I’m embarrassed to admit that I was irritated with God. Doesn’t He know I’ve had enough of this ache? Doesn’t He know that my chest feels like there’s an anvil sitting on it all day long? Finally I turned to the Word, looking for some bit of comfort. And my faithful God sent me straight to a verse (Exodus 14:14) that seared itself onto my warrior’s heart: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Be still, Tracy. Be still, warrior. Lay down the weapons and the armor. Just wait. Just wait for Me. I will fight for you. I’m doing it right now. You need only to be still.
I still wrestle with this command, all day long. I have beautiful moments of peace, of acceptance, where I can be still knowing that my faithful God controls the battle on my behalf. But I also have an itchy trigger finger… sometimes the need to jump in and start swinging nearly overwhelms me. But God showed me something last night in a way I could totally understand, and it all finally clicked.
I was watching one of my favorite action movies, and the hero is getting ready to go off into the final battle. The girl he loves is insisting that she wants to come and help, and he firmly tells her to stay put because it’s too dangerous. She doesn’t listen. She follows after, and it costs both her and the hero dearly. I’M THAT GIRL! I want to help, because I think I can. But I’ve also got to be willing to accept that sometimes, I’ll just be in the way. So I’ll sit this one out (ugh) and let My Father fight the battle for me.