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The Duck Butt Mentality

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As my favorite old broad, Jane Austen, penned in Pride and Prejudice, "A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a minute." Oh, Janey, how I need you to go grocery shopping with me. Or jog together around the university campus. Or ride in the car anywhere in the vicinity of attractive men. Because lordy, I'm caught up in the fog of whatever those 18th century single babes were smokin.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. It's not like I fall in love with every man I see, but I would be very interested to see how many "amens" I can get from girls who have experienced this instant connection with the cashier and immediately envisioned his elaborate, half-time show proposal and beneath-the-oak-tree wedding and weirdly specific T Swift first dance song choice and first family picture and 10 year anniversary vacation to San Francisco. I think it's like when dudes fantasize about girls, except that everyone has their clothes on and are playing catch in the front yard with my blue-eyed twins. Not that that's any more normal - in fact I think the naked version makes more sense and is eons less creepy.

But let's move a step beyond creepy fantasies about strangers. I am the prom queen of reading too far into things that don't exist... or might have the potential to exist if I would resist the urge to suffocate it with my hyper flirting and pauseless giggles. I mean, one time this drunk lawyer spent the evening flirting with me and begging me to come stay with him and some friends in Houston for a week because he couldn't bear the thought of parting with me. And I actually went. And obviously it was the worst couple of days I have ever endured. Because ladies, drunk lawyers aren't in a state of mind to offer lifelong and romantic promises. Thanks, now you tell me. (oh wait, my best friends did.)

One time, my friend challenged me to make a list of all the boys I'd ever had a crush on, because I was always updating her on my new Romeo. She probably thought she could spend the next few hours poking fun at my list of 3 or 4 dozen names... not realizing that my actual list would top 100. And that's just counting the ones I've liked for at least three days. Hello, my name is Laura, and I'm addicted to the Duck Butt game.

What's the Duck Butt game? I've always known that my imagination caused major problems for my romantic heart and constantly-unfulfilled expectations, but didn't know what to do. And then I went to an amusement park and saw the Duck Butt game. You know the one I'm talking about? There are a bunch of yellow duckies swimming in a pail of water, and you get three tries to choose the ducky with the winning number on its butt, or four tries for an extra $2.50. And it dawned on me that that's the way I've always thought of finding "the One."

Larry Crabb wrote this excellent book called Connecting. I found it so excellent that it took me 6 months to finish, which is saying something because I speed read and can blaze through The Return of the King in one three-day weekend. I felt like I needed to stop and process every three or four pages. When I was reading it, I had forgotten about my Duck Butt Revelation until I came across this paragraph:

The flesh, the enemy within, dons a friendly uniform, one that a Christian
might wear, and suggests reasonable directions.
We welcome him into our ranks. When he causes trouble,
we try to whip him into shape, get him to coordinate with the program,
and stop interfering with our efforts to do right. Or we work hard to figure him out.
What makes him tick? Why does he demand gratification that way? Maybe a
journey into the past will uncover the source of these crazy tendencies
and enable us to reason more effectively with him. (author's emphasis)

At that moment, Connecting made the connection for me. I'd/ I've been blending good desires with lies - lies that rationalize the "natural desire for marriage and love" and my "gift" for self-awareness with the bad habit of frantically (and theoretically) checking every guy's butt to see if he has the winning number. And I very quickly realized that the DB Mentality has permeated every area of life - from which show will I get cast in to what if the check doesn't cash before that transaction clears to what will their reaction be when I give them detention to is this going to be my cleaning routine? Or this? Or this? Or this? My drive to seek out solutions and problem solve awards me scholarship money and a very clean bathroom but an exhausted, anxious, unhappy, unsatisfied heart. 

Thankfully, the wise old Larry Crabb also offered some hope to the sin he'd exposed. Apparently his own sinful exposure had to do with the rebellion of one his sons. He writes,

Then I received word that Kep had been expelled from college. 
Something became clear. There were no formulas.
There were no right strategies with guaranteed outcomes. There was only God.
Would I trust him and rely on his name (not as a new plan to get what I wanted)?
Would I simply hold his hand, trust his heart, and move into the darkness
with no purpose other than to reflect something of Christ?
Only deep darkness helped me to fear God more than confusion. (author's emphasis)

That picture of walking with God in the darkness made a deep impression on me. It suddenly became clear that my prayers and questions needed to change. I now echo Crabb's conclusion, believing, "No longer do we ask, 'Am I right?' We realize we can't be right enough to make things happen as we want.  Instead we ask, 'Whom do I trust?'" 

Elisabeth Elliot wrote the same sentiment in her journal (Passion and Purity) when she was in love with Jim with no hope for fulfillment. She, like Crabb, finally realized that it wasn't the choice between this or that that needed answering, but the prayer that needed to change. She remembers, "My heart was saying, 'Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long.' The Lord was answering, 'I must teach you to long for something better.'"

And that's what he's been teaching me. I'm switching from wondering if a guy is "him" to committing to hold God's metaphorical hand in a darkness that I don't resent. And I can truly report that the last 6 weeks of following this new mentality has yielded itself to greater gifts and miracles than I have ever experienced. It's almost like God is saying, "Finally, I can surprise and delight you with these good things now that you're not begging for the next ten year's worth of details." And he does this because he really wants to give me good, wonderful, delightful gifts. And I really believe that. Obviously there have still been painful and heart-wrenching occurrences since then, but when you start to trust God, you begin to accept - not resent - the hard stuff as part of the darkness package. 

I feel a delicious freedom to rest in his time line. Hello, my name is Laura, and I've been Duck Butt sober for 6 weeks. Here's to a million more. 

Comments (3)

I love this, Laura! Thanks for sharing!


Very good Laura, but you know what I zoomed in on don't you???
I would like details! :)

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