Tuesday, February 12, 2013

slow steps to the cross {preparing for lent}

yesterday i stabbed a knife into the palm of my hand.  no...it wasn't intentional, just the careless removal of an avocado pit.
{note the cute bandaid that lucy climbed up and got out of the kitchen cabinet without me even asking...the girl is really good in emergency situations}
there are a lot of movements that make my injury worse so i have to be careful.  
i have to think about what i'm doing.  
i have to slow down.
that doesn't come easy to me.

over the weekend i helped to lead a retreat for the women leaders in our church.  one of the things God began to remind me of during the weekend was my condition as a human being - not a human 'doing'.

our retreat theme was 'stories and psalms'.  i want to share with you a verse from the 46th psalm that came up a few times over the weekend.  
you are probably familiar with the translation that says...
be still and know that i am God {v. 10}
oh man...that's so good.

but hold on a minute...if you haven't heard the NASB version you are going to love this...

cease striving and know that i am God {v. 10}

to 'strive' is to try hard, exert effort, do one's best.  but it also means to struggle, fight, battle.

doing our best is definitely not a bad thing.  and there comes a time when it is necessary to fight - for our kids, our marriages, our health, our beliefs, our very lives.  but all too often i have lived my life as a fighter...as someone who prides myself on always exerting extra effort and doing my best.  that doesn't work in my relationship with jesus.  

i've learned that when life starts to feel heavy and i am being crushed under the weight of responsibility i haven't spent enough time being still.  i haven't done what jesus did which is to sneak away to the place where my striving is unnecessary...the place where battles are being fought for me...the place where the victor has already been crowned.

right now there is a lot going on in my life and the lives of those close to me.  maybe you are in a similar place.  there are times when your plate is full and there are other times when it's so weighed down that you can barely even pick it up.  mine is heavy right now.

10 years ago i would have either taken the plate and hurled it across the room in frustration - letting everything come flying off - or i would have fallen to my knees in tears as i let one thing after another be piled on top.  either way i would be a complete wreck.

these days i know how to remove the things that really belong on someone else's plate and kindly give it back to them.  i also know how to say 'no' to portions that are too big for me.  but most importantly - i know how to set the whole thing down and walk away for a moment...or a day.  cease striving...and know...

today i had to set the plate down.  

the message version of the bible actually translates psalm 46:10 this way
step out of the traffic!  take a long loving look at me...

i don't want to get run over out here in the middle of this world full of speeding cars.  i don't want you to either.  life is not a game of frogger {for all you sega fans out there}.  
{photo courtesy of www.gamespy.com}
tomorrow marks the beginning of lent and i sense God calling me to slow down during this season.  i think the slowing will involve a sacrifice but i'm not sure of what.  as i retrace those steps back to the cross i want to cease striving.  i want to remember that He is God...and i am not.  i want to make a change that i can feel...a change that changes me
how will you order your steps to the cross this year?