We live an odd life as Jesus lovers.
We are free.
We are bound.
Free in our creativity, our expression, our choices.
Bound in our love to each other.
And I think most of the time the free in me is not at odds with the part of me that is bound to you.
Except. . .
Except last week, I found myself staring at our family calendar and found myself wishing desperately for a paper bag to breathe into.
All of the things I “had” to do were slowly creeping into the life I wanted to be living.
And I thought back on last month and realized I had started developing some weird twitches.
I’d be in our mini-van rapidly switching radio stations looking for the perfect song.
Don’t knock my mini-van – they’re the new black.
I’d had this monster craving for Doritos.
No mom, I’m not pregnant.
I found thoughts slipping into my day, whispering things like “What am I supposed to be doing?” and “What am I really supposed to be doing with my life” and the kicker, “Am I slacking? Should I be doing more?”
And more than anything else, I was tired and running on empty.
The only thing that seemed to satisfy was the Doritos.
But that only lasted for like 5 minutes.
Everything else I found myself running to felt like stale chips.
My very full, very fulfilling life suddenly became exhausting and empty.
And of course, this all takes place like a silent movie.
I had to step back and read the subtitles to understand what my erratic music choices and cravings for Doritos and questions about identity were trying to tell me.
I had gotten a little selfish with my time.
No, not hoarding piles of quiet time all to myself (sigh, I wish).
But not really considering that the gift of quality time is one of the best gifts I could give to those around me.
And I know that the enemy always tries to attack my calendar first. Tries to get me running from obligation to obligation because it wears me down. It distracts me from truly loving you.
And then, everything goes a little fuzzy and suddenly, I can’t quite remember what I’m doing here anymore.
Kinda like when you walk in a room and pause. Wondering what you came in there for in the first place.
I was here for a reason. . .what was it?
So, the free in me is not at odds with the part of me that is bound to you.
I like you. I love you. . .except when I get a little selfish (dude, get your own bag of Doritos) and truthfully, nothing makes me more selfish than when I’m tired.
Distracted by the minutiae of life.
And as I stared at our calendar, wishing for a paper bag and now, some more Doritos I realized that somehow our schedules had filled up with really good, well meaning things but nothing that really satisfied.
I had run out of energy for the important things.
The specific things that God has asked of me.
I had gotten suckered into the lie that I needed to be doing more.
And it’s dumb, but I find myself here, like every 9 months or so.
Realizing I’ve done it again.
Gone running with the butter knife, when I knew darn well I should be walking with it.
And it didn’t end well.
For me or the knife.
And so I took my blunt,bent butter knife and cut a few obligations and whatdya know, I can see my way forward through the haze of Doritos again.
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
Galatians 5:13-18 (The Message)
What is that God has called you to?
I’ll give you a hint. . . it probably isn’t more ministry.
Gasp, oh no she didn’t. Did she really just say that?
Yes, yes I did.
Remember my last post?
M’kay, maybe a little sprinkle of Candor too.
What is it God has called you to?
I know for me, it took awhile to remember the answer to that question.
What do I know that God has asked me to do?
Staring at my calendar I had to take some time for reflection.
Did my litany of things I just had to do line up with anything God had told me to do?
Was I giving my whole heart to my hubby?
Yeah, guess I didn’t push him off a train.*
I must like him too much.
Was I giving my kids my undivided, unexhausted attention?
Was I writing?
Was I making an effort in my relationships to stay in touch? To be the one who initiated actual conversation.
So I nervously started making some cuts and saying no to new things that came up.
I started untangling myself from the obligations and started coming back to what was essential for me and my relationship with God.
And my relationship with those around me.
My schedule looks a lot less cluttered, kinda like my head these days.
And I’m not there quite yet but I’m feeling nice enough to share my Doritos with you again so that must be a good sign.
Just don’t lick your fingers and stick your hand back in the bag.
That’s so gross.
What? I said I wasn’t quite there yet.
*please refer to last post before calling the cops. . .and, umm, maybe watch the movie too.