Monday, January 16, 2012

On Being Broken By The List - Part Two


Continued from Part One

A few years ago a friend gave me a beautiful framed picture of an empty bench in front of a wall of peeling paint colours that I love. With it they gave me a scripture about rest and stillness. 

Somewhere deep inside me I felt rebuked? exposed? annoyed? known? mad? I packed the photo away later knowing, regardless, that at the very least it made me frustrated. Who could be that still, I genuinely wondered as my toddlers ran around me in circles, with so much to do? Sleep was elusive. Let alone rest.

The strangest thing happened as I was reflecting forward on this new year, last year, and going over the list I felt was still very crucial and important to emphasize. I felt God whisper to me: "What if you date me every morning - meet first with me and let me love you and I will take care of the list. I will carry it."

I was pretty much flabbergasted. It sounded too good to be true. After all this time?! It sounded so weightless and refreshing and all sorts of wonderful to begin my days that way. I couldn't say yes fast enough! So for awhile now I have been doing just that. I have a stack of outdoor clothes next to my bed and my first steps on many recent mornings have been outdoors with Jesus having a date. On the tired mornings I turn to Him even in my jammies but with my whole heart. I've listened, I've whispered and I've been embraced by the peace of silence and beauty and quiet time.

Being with Him is not new for me. Being able to let go of everything else as I do, is. 

And I've been loved. And the heaviness of the list is lightening. It hasn't been altogether abandoned - far from it. If anything it's felt more important than ever. But it hasn't been like gritting my teeth and setting my jaw and choosing to do the right thing from steely determination. It has felt different. 

During this time I have been thinking a lot about motivation and obedience in how we care for ourselves, our families, and our bodies especially, and this morning the thought came to me:

The best caretakers are not stewards and obeyers. They are lovers and worshippers. 

My recent obedience has been coming from an entirely different nexus. A place where I feel beautified and where I can love back and adore. 

So what happened? I absolutely love goals and plans and checklists. I love resolutions and new beginnings. But I think God has been using this list to expose me - finally - to my inability, really, to do anything a part from Him. I've never known fully what that meant until now. 

I think He's wanted, so kindly, to give me rest. To show me His capacity, not mine. I've been wondering what if all of our new years' resolutions and goals all helped us realize what Paul's conclusion was?:
"Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life."
This New Year's  I am asking myself a new question - how is God wanting to use my list to show off His commitment to me and love for me? To expose His power at work in me, that really is what gets any job done. To reveal how He is leading me into a spacious, free life - a wide open field? How is He using my very own longings to show me He can fulfill them? Because, finally, I have come to the end of my efforts. I really have. And I believe with all my heart that somewhere in here is rest. 

I am celebrating that. 

4 comments:

Corli said...

"The best caretakers are not stewards and obeyers. They are lovers and worshippers." I love that!
And the thought that God would carry our lists ...
I think you have a lot worth celebrating.

Jessica said...

I can so identify with you. I am trying (trying), to keep Christ at the very center, and beginning of everything. What relief and settledness it brings.

Chrissie Grace said...

I feel very connected and drawn to your blog as it seems as if I am on a similar path as you...thank you for sharing your heart.
Chrissie Grace

Lindsey said...

Just beautiful, Misha. I hear your heart.