I am cautious to identify too closely with Jesus (at least in writing). Though I theologically believe we absolutely are meant to connect with Jesus – one could argue a primary purpose for his time on earth was to live the life we are meant to live – I know it makes some people a little nervous. “Yes, but that was JESUS.” Or, “You think you are suffering, think of Jesus…” Yes. Agreed. But do you ever read his story and say to yourself, “I know exactly what that’s like”? This has been one of those weeks.
Let me back up about 40 days. Entering Lent, I really wanted to slow things down to make more time for prayer. So, I adjusted my schedule and very intentionally went about some specific practices that I find helpful. In general, this has been good. I HAVE had more time for prayer. I HAVE had good time with God, learned quite a bit, and generally feel alright about where we’re at.
But the rest of life seems to have become increasingly beyond my control. I’ve been frustrated in slipping behind on much of what I’d like to get done. I feel pulled in too many directions. I’m even stuck in determining which roles and responsibilities are most important. This past week, I pretty much hit the wall. Fortunately, I had opportunity to talk with some friends about how I was feeling and determined to NOT grab too tight on the reins. That’s what I do when I get stressed out – I spend at least 5 hours reorganizing my schedule and adjusting my responsibilities to gain a sense of control.
Partially by volition and partially by circumstances, I didn’t do that this week. Instead, I took a quick look at my to-do list, determined what was most important/had to happen, and did it. Yes, I was still aware of all the things I wasn’t doing and probably wouldn’t get to. I wish I could say I just put those all out of my mind. But God was gracious with me in His strange way and kept me occupied with things enough that I couldn’t dwell on everything else too much.
Then, as we got to the later part of the week, I was hearing from others around me that they were feeling the same way. Interesting, I thought this was MY problem. Then I thought back to last year at this time and realized that I pretty much felt the same way then. AND, so did others around me. Now, part of this has to do with our NieuCommunities cycle. This is the time of the year when life and commitments really begin to pick up. On top of that, relationships within our community are reaching those interesting points of diving into conflict. Further, we do a couple extra things for Holy Week, so the schedule also has a bit more than normal. Overall, this leads to a busy feel about life.
Thank God for the aforementioned Holy Week. On Friday morning I couldn’t help but think of Jesus and the week he was having! Talk about having a few things going on around you. Truly, my situations pale in comparison to what he was facing. Did he feel out of control (like me)? People everywhere, last days, big decisions, struggle. How did he do it?
Enter the Holy Spirit. The comforter, burning fire, whispering wind. Jesus, I think, was in control to the extent of letting the Holy Spirit guide. Does that make sense? Jesus wasn’t OUT of control in the sense of being some God-controlled robot or simpleton. BUT, he did listen and willingly allow God’s Spirit to show him what was best. I think it was actually an upside-down show of strength [of character] to NOT force his own will, to not hold onto the reins too tightly. He chose to trust God and blow the way of the Spirit. Not my will, but yours be done…
To live neither in full control, nor out of control, but guided by the Spirit. This is what I need. To be in step with God’s Spirit anywhere near as much as Jesus was would be crazy, right? And amazing. I wonder if there’s also not a strange peace in that place? I’d like to know, even a bit. Holy Spirit, take me there – I need you to take me there.
O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God.