Two sunny, 70+ degree days opened this week with the promise of Spring.
By midweek the cold nasties had returned and the only memory of the glory of those days was a sunburn.
Today, well…the sun will shine and as it climbs higher in the sky the earth will warm to about 67. With a stout wind blowing it will feel much cooler.
Ah well…that’s okay. It’s not yet Spring, and won’t be for another week. Just as Spring has her Winters, I suppose Winter is allowed to have her Springs. (Lisa Patton, my favorite weathercaster at WKRN, calls this the Swing Season.)
Eleven days into my Lenten journey, I find myself frustrated for it seems I am in a swing season of sorts…I stay on course for a little while and then I crash and burn. The sun comes out and I find my way again and then a storm knocks me off course and Winter’s blasts force me to take shelter.
I am so accustomed to saying and doing what’s expected of me that I find myself on autopilot…acting and reacting in the heat of the moment. It’s only after the fact that I come to myself and wonder what got into me and why?
Habit? Personality? Preference? I don’t know upon which hook to hang it.
Self led, most definitely…surely not Spirit led. It’s a struggle to reign self in…to control that self within that desires to dominate me, rule me, regulate me, control what I say…do…think…how I act.
Situations arise for which I’m totally unprepared…don’t have time or resources to deal with, yet there they are and I’m left with the choice of how I respond.
Off the cuff…on the fly…in the heat of the moment…I often react. The situation calls for an immediate response, quick decision – there’s no time to pause and think things through.
When the need is immediate, the response should be as well.
Isn’t that right? It’s what people expect.
Wait…”what people expect”…that smacks of pleasing people and seeking the approval of others.
Instead of reacting in the way I’m expected to, I should pause in spite of the apparent immediacy of the matter and ask myself, “What would Jesus have me say and do?”
Meeting the expectations of others – that’s something I struggle with. It’s not that I want to be liked. I feel responsible for others who find their way into my sphere of influence. They expect something of me and I don’t like to disappoint. No…it’s more than that…my self worth is to some degree wrapped up in who others see me to be.
No matter how I argue…it all circles back to what people think of me…how they think of me. Swing Season is in full swing for me…wow.
This is what my Lenten journey is all about this year…digging out that thing within me that craves the approval of others…that thinks it needs that to live fully.
I can think back on every day this week and see where I have looked to people for approval, for meaning, for fulfillment, for definition – whether by habit or by choice – instead of determining the right thing and asking myself how Jesus would have me respond.
In looking at the life of Jesus and reading the words attributed to Him, it’s easy to see He was able to cut to the heart of the matter. Perhaps it’s because He saw through all the stuff and knew immediately what the heart of the matter was. Ah, for the wisdom and ability to be able to do that.
It would end a lot of frustration on my part and free me from idiotic conversations that go no where, resolve nothing, and eat up precious time and resources.
Please, God…teach me how to deal with those things that fall into the category of immediacy…give me wisdom, give me insight, give me words and clear thinking. Forgive me for allowing Self to react when I should have been acting on Your behalf.