I rise early because C and I are a one car couple, and he has to be at work before the sun comes up. The morning mist rests blurry on the windshield as I return home, and all I want to do is crawl back into bed. I hit snooze at least three times this morning, not wanting to leave the safety and peace of that space, warm from my body’s extended rest. I don’t feel prepared to face another Monday, having forgotten or neglected most of the things I had intended to accomplish over the weekend: finish the book I’m reading, organize the junk room, buy groceries for the next two weeks. And the to do list that awaits at the office can, on any given day, be summed up in two words: colossal and exhausting.
In the cool of the morning, I sense some peace beginning to creep into the crevices of my heart. The knowledge that Summer’s heat always gives way to Autumn’s cool offers assurance that this season of my life will not last forever, that in spite of the deceiving nature of flighty and admittedly irrational feelings, these angst-ridden days come to pass. But having this knowledge does not give me permission to sit idly by and fester. The wilderness was made for walking, made for movement, made to reveal His strength in light of my weakness. It is maddening, at times, to realize that God designed this life in such a way that the crosses we bear force us to daily rely on His grace alone.
Because at the end of the day, the pervasive truth of it all is that the person staring back at me from the mirror is weak. What’s more, she is endlessly self-involved, spending much of the time laying around like the paralytic on his smelly mat, making excuses. And then, out of the blue, Jesus stops and asks if I really want to get well. I’d like to get well, but there is no one to carry me into the pool. Like the song says, this is the real world, and I am on my own. I squirm, embarrassed by the thought of being zeroed in on by the Lord in such a way. He’s not looking around at anyone else. His eyes are meeting mine, and he is asking if I want to get well. He can speak the words of healing, but I still bear the responsibility of getting up, of moving forward in faith. He makes the first move, but in the end, its really up to me.
I have to stand up and take the first step and the next and the next, putting my flesh in its place and living in relentless pursuit of abundant life. Not the go more and do more and be more life that the world says I have to strive to attain, but the breathe more and rest more and live out my purpose more kind of life. What I’m learning is that each of those takes intention, and mine needs to be refocused. Because the world will tell you its all about more followers and fans and all those adoring likes and favorites and me me me, please. But the honest to goodness truth is that I’m sick and tired of myself — and I have this suspicious feeling that this is the starting line of it all. Walking, fearless and determined, into abundant life requires a lot of letting go of ourselves: our plans, our ideas, our intentions. But the catch is, walking fearless and determined into abundant life requires a lot of planning, consideration, and intention.
So I must ask myself, what do I want? What dreams has the Lord woven into the fabric of my being? Perhaps the most freeing realization of all is that this journey of creating myself is really a journey of co-creating. It is me stewarding who I was created to be: a temple house for glory, intimately known since before the dawn of time.
My friend NJ has started publishing goals on her blog in order to have accountability. The idea of accountability is always uncomfortable for me, since this skin is so prone to take two steps forward and one step back, and to do that in public just leaves me an itchy mess. But in a spirit of vulnerability, here is what I have come up with for the month of September (better late than never?):
Goals for Life: make breakfast and coffee for C and I more often, look for a gym membership, stick to the cleaning schedule on the fridge, finish the books on the night stand, get my name changed on my social security card, apply to grad school (maybe that list seems ambitious, but when I look at it with the intention of living refocused, I see that I’m not in need of more time to do these things — I just have to better steward the time I already have).
Goals for Friendship: invite friends for a girls night at my house, go to lunch with Lindsey, go to dinner with Victoria, tell four friends I haven’t seen or talked to in awhile that I miss them.
Goals for Writing: post three times a week, remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, write for Five Minute Friday.
Goals for Work: sit down with a calendar and plan all the visits for the month of September, prayerfully consider searching for another job.