This morning I posted a prayer on Facebook:
Lord, it’s a #Crazy Tuesday–folks need surgery, another is in the hospital, and I have no time to pray. I can’t seem to get a handle on the bills and there’s a City water crew outside my front door jack hammering in the street.
I want to find a place for quiet, but groceries are calling to be bought (after I pay the bills) and I still want to write a blog post…The bed is unmade, the weather man reminded me I’ll need to water the garden this afternoon and could I please have just 10 minutes to exercise? Alone?
Father, I praise You for your presence with us in the demanding busy-ness of this day. I want to reflect you well–with grace and patience–as I live through my tasks and to-dos. But it’s only 11 o’clock, and so far it’s been a little bumpy. So I thank you for new starts, every minute of the day. Amen.
One Sunday morning last January I heard the Holy Spirit speak (not out loud, just to my ‘knower’ inside), “Your word for the year is ‘Surrender.‘” I hadn’t been asking for a focus or theme by which to live the next 365 days. I just heard ‘surrender’ ever so quietly.
Looking back over my journals from the last 10 years, these themes usually show up in hindsight–‘Abide(Dwell)’, ‘Fit’, ‘Anchor’ and so on. God is always faithful to confirm them through messages at church, reading Scripture or books, study with others, conversations, and so on.
If it were up to me I would have chosen a word a whole lot more inviting–like “Adventure” or “Trust” or “Believe”… but then again it would have been my choosing.
Little did I know God would repeat the word he gave me in 2015. Yes, it was Surrender. (Apparently I have a lot to learn.) Next to my journal entry–January 4, 2016–I have these notes, “sojourn, remain, tarry, dwell, linger”. This seems a constant refrain for the last four years–that of abiding in Jesus, finding my peace there.
I also wrote, “these words all signal surrender, as I must give up: my time to listen, attend, read others’ words, give up my ideas and dreams as they are all His to make come true. Wait on Him.”
Who knew that waiting and abiding would be so closely tied to ‘surrender?’
Back to my Tuesday prayer. I cannot tell you how many times I sat down to try to write this morning. To double-check my notes for a Retreat I’m leading. In two weeks. Or begun to set out the door for a walk, or tried to print out the Agenda for our Women’s Meeting tonight and on and on. Every time I was interrupted.
Interrupted by my husband’s voice on speaker phone booming through the kitchen while he and the folks at Vonage are trying to straighten out our phone system, the fact that it simultaneously rings on my husband’s cel phone AND our house phone. And instead of folks getting a response from me on our answering machine, my husband’s deep voice rang in as they’re connected to his cel phone.
Interrupted not only by the jack hammering but the machinery partnership and ‘beep, beep, beep’ of a small tractor backing up while it ‘crunch-crunch-crunches.” Oh, what an annoying, noisy accompaniment to a phone call with folks in Customer Service who speak with a thick accent.
By my husband–the retired guy–asking for help contacting every account on our credit card bill that has an automatic payment set up (because we have NEW credit cards with a different number, due to–ahem– me losing mine on vacation).
(it was a lovely vacation)
“Seriously?”(and my inside voice, “Have you seen how long the list is? Do I have to?” insert 3 year old whiny voice here).
My friends Kris and Shelly have written often about daily interruptions being God’s message to us, how we should welcome them as they are often ways God uses to teach us. Oh, I am working on the welcoming part. Because there are only four months left in the year and I want to end well. Lesson learned. Finished with ‘Surrender’ school. So I can move on.
But something tells me I’ll never really graduate. The lessons of giving up and letting go of control–of my time, my projects, my personal space–will be a lifelong endeavor.
Yes, God will indeed take, if not the words you’re writing, perhaps the words you (claim) you want to live by, and beat them out on His transformation anvil. The one that promises to make you more like Jesus. Where He shines through you in challenging, impossible times.
That is my prayer–Jesus, shine.
Now that’s a great word.