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Sunday, January 3, 2016

It cannot be about me... and my agenda...

At this stage in my life, how can I possibly need this reminder... still...  Good grief!

This morning (well, afternoon, but it felt like morning, since I slept for a reasonable number of hours, last night, after finally just giving up on anxiety in exchange for complete and total exhaustion), I was met with this quote from C.S. Lewis,

"It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.  All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.  And so on, all day.  Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind."

Oh, the wind and wild animals...

I've always liked the story of Elijah's flight to Horeb (I Kings 19).  I'm not really sure why.  If you stop to think about it long enough, it's actually pretty awful.  Elijah is fleeing for his life, because the Israelites have rejected God's covenant, torn down the altars, and killed all of the prophets, except Elijah, who they are now trying to kill (see v. 10).  That's not the part I like, though.  The part I like comes next:

"The Lord said, 'Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.' Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave" (v. 11-13, NIV).

I like the part where God shows up.

Oh, the wind and wild animals...  Oh, the wind (again) and the earthquake and the fire...

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5, NIV).

Oh, the wind and wild animals...  Oh, the wind (again) and the earthquake and the fire...  Oh, the darkness...  My darkness has been... well... dark...


"The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does" (Psalm 145:13b, NIV).

The chances that I will ever wake up capable of accomplishing whatever I want are slim to none.  Wait.  Scratch that.  The chances are just none.  Half the time I can't even get quiet enough to hear the whisper.

Last night, our family was talking about fears.  We made lists.  There was no way I was going to share my ridiculously long and growing list with them, but I did share that it was more complex than it would have been a year ago.  I used to be afraid of stuff like deep water... and tumbleweeds.  It just occurred to me that these things are metaphors.  For me, fear often manifests itself in feeling like I'm drowning or blown about, out of control.  But the truth is, what I really want is to be so in line with God, so filled with the Holy Spirit, that my own desires are the Lord's.  When I wake up and those wishes and hopes rush at me, I want them to be the voice of the other.  In part, I want this because it's right, but in part I also want it because I am sick of being afraid that I won't be good enough, and I'm done fighting for something I don't even really want.

This Scripture also resonated, today:

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us - so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among the nations" (Psalm 67:1-2, NIV).

I'm done fighting for everything I think I want... for myself...

In the often repeated, wise words of Robert Mulholland, Spiritual formation is, "the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others."

For... the... sake... of... others...

Still true.


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