Remember my grand Lenten plans? Remember how I was going to strip myself of everything I thought I needed and thus position myself to be filled only by God? Remember that? Remember also how I didn’t really do any of it? Because that happened too.
I think I managed to be faithful to my word for a week or so. And one day I stopped. And that day I decided I had taken on too much and I should re-evaluate and start again. I never re-evaluated, though, and I never started again.
God doesn’t think less of me because of it, he’s not disappointed because he can never be disappointed in me. He’s not shaking his head and sighing. I know this. I know it with my head and my voice.
Though, ever since I stopped and didn’t start again, I have not known it. Every time someone likes or reads that post that spelled out my desires for Lent, it acts a reminder that I didn’t do what I said I was going to. I didn’t do any of it. Questions rise and plague: Is this okay? Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing things in my relationship with God? Am I missing places where I am being apathetic? Am I just doing the minimum because I know I can get away with it? Is there a minimum?
They overwhelm. So, I stop thinking altogether. I avoid coffee and sugar and spending money, because they bring the same questions, and I stop thinking. I shut down my brain as best I can and the questions translate to a feeling on angst in my gut. My stomach has been in knots for weeks – and I couldn’t get it to stop.
I’ve been here before – I remember it. I remember asking those same questions and not knowing any answers and seeking refuge in God as much as I knew how.
And I remember what he said – you won’t miss anything. my love for you won’t allow me to stay silent when you’re hurting yourself or others – when you’re not choosing life.
That was my fear, though – is God speaking and I’m ignoring it? Is that why I’m anxious – because I’m resisting God’s call?
Be still. Just for a second, be still, and listen to me.
I did. I fidgeted a bit, but I listened. And God said, “it’s okay.” He is working in me. He is undoing and recreating, and it rarely looks the same as last time.
Stop worrying about what you didn’t do and move now. Choose now.
This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain – you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean – you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now – as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! Look at what I’ve done for you today: I’ve placed in front of you Life and Good, Death and Evil. And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess… and love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself” — Deuteronomy 30:11-16& 20 (the message)
Firmly embracing him, who is life itself.