I label the day as “assessment” because it held no other distinct qualities. When you do not set a course for your swim, you spend your time responding to the current. That was the case today. It was very different than the day that I had anticipated even 24 hours prior.
*Jonathan had requested to spend the previous evening with me, so he did. This altered my evening and subsequently my morning.
*Jonathan pulled out his loose tooth in the evening, which affected my actions when I awoke at 1am.
*I was asked to work, which altered my agenda for the day.
*The timing of snow in the morning affected my Internet usage as I tried to determine if school was closed.
*I received paperwork to complete for Joshua, which affected my use of quiet time.
*The questions in the paperwork made me think of Joshua’s friendships, and I invited a good friend of his to visit us.
*Joshua needed to stay after school so the timing of our arrival home was affected.
*The timing and location for meeting up with Joshua’s friend affected our dinner plans.
At the end of the day, I felt exhausted. There are certainly some reasonable explanations for that: repeatedly waking during the night this week, two days of weather that affected my travel, working mornings without down time in the evenings. But, as I traversed the waters of this day, this day with different plans than my own, there seemed to be one recurring theme affecting my energy: failure to be.
To be still. To be where I am. To be who I am. There is a constant working within me, a voice that prompts to do, to accomplish, to seek, to chase. But to be? No. The avoidance of resting while awake goes back to the point that was discussed this week at Bible study – we do not like to be alone. And we don’t like to admit that we can be very alone even when surrounded by others. Whether married or single, childless or child-full, introverted or extroverted, employed or not, there is one person you cannot escape – yourself. And it is in the silence, in the resting, that you bump into yourself.
There is both comfort and frustration that I gain from the wisdom of my elders at Bible study. When I am told that dying to self is a lifelong process, I am comforted to know that there is no pressure to arrive. It is not a task I must rush to have “done,” so I should enjoy the journey. And there is the frustration: dying to self will happen all along the way. It is not an easy task; it is not a task at all. It is the working out of relationship.
When I am constantly on the go, constantly doing, I am not being. To do seems more familiar than to be. More familiar is more comfortable. But what, then, am I missing? I am missing the comfort of being known. I am missing the peace of being loved. Missing the comfort of rest. Dying to self is not simply sacrifice, it is transformation. When there is less of us there can be more Christ. When our agenda is set aside, his moves in. When our discomfort is exchanged for his, we have peace.
The growing sense over the past few days is that I cannot simply establish parameters. I cannot simply sacrifice. I must also strengthen. And, in my assessment, I recognize that the best way to strengthen will be to spend some time being. A few weeks ago I wrote about my realization that the challenge to “spend a day with Jesus” seems difficult. Difficult because we do not do well – I do not do well – at setting down my agenda. Maybe I can in moments, but not for a day. But I also understand that if I do not set aside my agenda for a day, I will miss the time of Christ telling me what he wants to say. I may miss the truth that he wants to tell me.
Yes, I believe that Christ is with me always by the indwelling off the Spirit. But I also recognize that my spirit is louder than I’d like. Do, do, do, keeps me from the simple act of be. Be with Christ. Be loved. Be still. I cannot turn that into a task to do; I must allow that to be a desire of my heart.