Posts Tagged ‘letting go’

The metaphors of war and weapons are not my favorites and yet I do believe I have access to tools within, where the Christ Spirit dwells, to help me resist my ongoing bad habits and harsh judgments I make against others. The power is all there. I just don’t tap into it.

II Corinthians 10:3-4a
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.

The 3-D world in which I walk and live has its own rules and recommendations for change. There’s a lot about “doing” and “pulling up of boot straps” and “taking charge.” But the way of Christ is different. It’s the opposite of what we think. It’s the rule of paradox. It’s “being” and not always doing. It’s letting go of “my way” and going the way of Jesus. It’s mindfulness about others.

The divine weapons don’t manifest while I’m using my own weapons. Divine power waits until I have expended all of my “personal power” and efforts.

This truth is one of the reasons why Alcoholics Anonymous and similar 12-step programs are so successful. The person must come to the end of self. There is a step, even a leap, across the threshold into the arms of a higher power. God never misses.

I cannot wield divine weapons. I can only submit to them. This is the essence of faith.

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I want to do the right thing. I want to be a good mother, wife, and friend. I want to choose well. But truthfully, my “trying” and my desire are not enough.

Romans 7:15; 18b
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. . . . I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

As long as I am trying and doing and choosing in my own strength, I am behaving just like an alcoholic, promising myself and others that I’ll do better “next time.” This is the point of decision: do I keep trying to do it myself or abandon this tactic and truly give myself over to that “higher power?”

Even though I have surrendered a great deal of my life, I am still hanging on to a lot of details. I am still hanging on to what “I want to do” with my life and what my kids should be doing. I am still controlling. I keep taking back the reins particularly when I look around and the environment has become unfamiliar.

God is actually about change. And although I say I love change, it’s change under my control and understanding that I love: change that doesn’t touch the heart of me.

But now, I see, that God is moving me toward the next level. It’s time to move into new terrain.

I have said again and again that I want more intimacy with God in Christ. So, now, I stand at the door. When I open this door, my ability to control the outcome is negligible. My hand is on the latch.

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I’m still holding on to my cargo, I know it: the stuff… all the stuff that keeps dragging me backward. Some of it is beloved, but how does that compare with the more important things in life?

Acts 27:18
We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard.

I am embarrassed to say how much stuff I really have. I go through periods of organization and as a result, I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding it (neatly labeled and tucked away). But there are boxes and boxes of books in my basement (above and beyond the bookshelves that are maxed out as well) and boxes of memorabilia and boxes of costumes. Some boxes are filled with my mother’s books; I keep them from a type of sentimentality. And yet, most of them aren’t even in English for heaven’s sake.

God is patient though. I know this for a fact. God will wait and nudge and teach and guide, hoping I will choose, on my own, to start dumping my cargo. I don’t believe God wants me to go through a brutal storm where personal safety trumps the stuff. But, if I persist in holding too tightly to these things, that could happen next.

The nudges I have been getting are about living more simply. We are living in terrible economic times. Our family is not so different from others, credit cards loaded with debt and we’re trudging along from one paycheck to the next. We are fortunate that we still have jobs, but there are no longer guarantees. A great storm could hit any day.

This month I have decided to start shedding pounds… I think that’s just one place for the dieting must begin. It’s time to let go of the “things” … the unused knick-knacks, the “collection” of salt and pepper shakers, the boxes of coffee cups, the books that don’t fit on my shelves (I have 15-20 shelf units), the boxes of old papers (yes, I still have my graduate school papers), the old suitcases, the unstarted crafts, the bowls I never use, the cookbooks I never open, the sheets that don’t fit any of our beds… the list goes on.

And these “things” are symbolic of the spiritual baggage I’ve been carrying around as well: the unforgiven actions of others, the disappointments, the condemnation, the discontent, just to name a few.

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Luke 6:24
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort…”

I am so uncomfortable with this teaching of Jesus. Face it: I am rich and this is not good news.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am really just like everyone else I know on the most part–middle class. But in comparison with the rest of the world, we’re rolling in dough. When I take the time to really absorb the truth of this phrase, I am ashamed and a tad worried.

When the economy “tanked,” my husband and I have been confronted with the outrageous cost of our lifestyle. We are, in U.S. terms, broke. We owe more on credit cards than we should. We spend more than we make. We indulge our wants and assume our needs will be met. We take a lot for granted.

We have passed along this “comfort” lifestyle to our children who continue to have expectations of what is normal: a packed refrigerator, vacations, name-brand clothes, and plenty of heat when it’s cold and air conditioning when it’s hot. They assume the “economy” problems are for all those other people.

Basically, we’ve been skipping over this scripture for years and that may prove to be a mistake sooner than later.

In the same way that the environment cannot be turned around on a dime, our own lifestyle will not change overnight either. We must make a conscious decision to change. We must do so in agreement. And if we don’t do this willingly and soon, we may have to do so in crisis.

Forgive us. Re-align our priorities before they are re-aligned for us. Give us courage to change the way we live. Let us not be like the “rich young ruler.” [Matthew 19:16-26]

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