At the risk of ya’ll thinking that I have lost it, am losing it or will lose it soon, I am writing again about another lesson I learned during my recent period of sickness. Last time I wrote, I mentioned how difficult it is for me to slow down and let go even when I know that it is necessary. My physical body usually calls it quits about once a year, signaling to me that whether I like it or not, I must rest. While I am sure my body has been giving me signs all along, I have been good at ignoring them or putting the care of my physical health off for another day. Not a good idea, and certainly not in keeping with God’s plan for a life that includes honoring the Sabbath.
During my period of rest and recuperation, I felt like God was speaking to me through just about everything. Funny thing about that…we remove some distractions, and find out that, yes, we can hear God’s voice. As I began to feel better, I decided to tackle a stack of magazines that literally had been building for years…that’s right, years. Each one of them contained a least one article that I could not bear to part with because it sounded like something that would be helpful for ministry. As I dived into the stack, I anticipated coming out with several ideas specifically related to spiritual formation. Very few of these magazines were centered on religious topics, and I was happy to have the opportunity to search for God in the everyday things.
By the time I got to this stack, I was dealing with vertigo on top of my original malady of bronchitis. One medical definition of vertigo is “a sensation of spinning – a specific kind of dizziness…Vertigo is a symptom rather than a medical condition.” So, I’m reading along, experiencing dizziness, having to be careful about propping my head at just the right angle, and out jump these lines from an article about how to set a sane daily schedule…I am not making this up…”When you reside in a spin cycle, you get dizzy. Just expect it.” What? God, are you kidding me? You are actually speaking to me through this magazine article? No doubt, I have been living in a spin cycle, and I can no longer pretend not to see it.
The title of this three-year old article that I had saved is “Enough, Already!” The author, Michelle Burford, writes about how she changed her practice of constantly making an unrealistic To Do List into the habit of itemizing a “If I Do Nothing Else Today” list. Michelle never mentions God in her article, but I was struck by how holy what she has learned to do is. Instead of me believing in my ability to do far more in a 24-hour period than any human being can actually do, what if I decide what things are that are going to move me closer to God’s purpose for my life, make them a priority, and lean upon God to help me accomplish all that I need to do? While it doesn’t mean that I still don’t have to get gas or go to the grocery store or clean my house, with this new practice I would certainly stand a much greater chance of becoming more fully who God has created me to be. And if you follow that line of thinking a little farther down the road, I would ultimately be doing more to usher God’s kingdom to earth…the thing that we are all created to do.
For those of us who have decided to follow Jesus Christ, some of the habits or tasks that we put on our “If I Do Nothing Else Today” list will be similar…time spent with God listening and praying, time spent in spreading Light wherever God calls us to be present, time spent in being available for those who need us and fully engaged in our vocations. Yet in other ways, each of us will have lists that only we can carry out. Because each of us has been given different personalities, spiritual gifts and graces and talents, our lists will be one-of-a kind. And if we are well enough to carry out our matchless duties, they will never be accomplished. Wow…
After completing this article, I saw clearly that by setting unrealistic expectations, I was doing a great deal but not necessarily the most important things God has called me to do. No wonder I was spinning! Though I will never be able to control the amount of things handed to me in a particular day, I do have some control over the way the day ultimately plays out and whether I consciously opened the door for God to be part of it or not. God is always present of course, but when you’re living in the spin cycle, going round and round and round, chances of recognizing God…at least for me…are difficult at best.
Thanks for reading the thoughts of one who is trying her best to journey toward wholeness. As always, I am grateful to be journeying with you, and I am hopeful that my experiences while un-well may help many of you catch yourselves before you become dizzy!
Blessings and love, LuAnn