Monday, March 26, 2012

Clarity - Clear the Decks by Mary Hagle

As I prepared for the Lenten season this year, I anticipated that I knew what God would be asking me to go without, given my non-ending struggle with eating sweets. So easy to identify, as it’s "ever before me".

Imagine my amazement when instead He asked me to give up my "to-do" list! This invitation came at the end of a series of events and reflections that helped me to see that I was trying to "force God’s hand" to do what I wanted done, not what He had scheduled for me.

I got instructed to be obedient, instead, in surrendering my will once again. This resulted in getting my hands off of my life, giving it back to Him, and experiencing a Lenten season of "play" and "reflection". I can meditate, study and journal, but the rest of my "free" time is to be spent "playing" with several art projects I’ve been postponing while I pursued what I thought was His plan for my life right now.

If you’re a compulsive list-maker, like me, you will know exactly what I mean. I can make those lists, baby! I can whip out ten things "to do" in a second, with a little square box in front of each item, so I can check them off when they’re done.

No big deal, you say? What’s wrong with being organized? Shouldn’t we be diligent?

Sure. But, what if I told you that when I surrendered compulsively making to-do lists, and my uncommitted time felt wide open and empty, and I was "playing" and "meditating", the realization came that I was unconsciously bringing all those completed tasks to God as a way of earning His love and approval.

Trying to earn His love is an impossible task. He cannot reward my motive, because it would keep me from his unconditional love.

When I can sit quietly, working on my current stained glass painting project, enjoying the creative process, losing track of time and making dinner preparation late because of it, I can recognize that I haven’t done anything today (or any day) to earn His love, acceptance and forgiveness.

What a blessed season of surrender are these Lenten days. My prayer for you is that you have been led to letting go of whatever you need to in order to prepare your hearts for Good Friday so you can really celebrate Easter.

We grow as we share.

Mary Hagle

Editor, The House

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