Wednesday, June 17, 2015

running and rolling {and why they don't work}

There was a time when I thought my life depended primarily on me.  Man, that was exhausting.

When you think your life depends primarily on you there are two ways you might behave –
running
or
rolling up in a ball.
Or if you're crazy like me, you might do both.

Running is the move when you think you’ve got a shot.  When you think that, despite the difficulties, you could push yourself farther and faster to eventually make this thing work.  This was the mode of operation for an over-achieving, people-pleaser like me for years.

Rolling up in a ball is what you do when you decide it’s impossible.  The difficulties and obstacles are so overwhelming that you just give up and decide there is no point in even trying.  This can look like a complete giving up because you feel destroyed or a complete giving yourself over to something that will destroy you.  Either way, you are rolling yourself right into a trap.  I’ve been there too.
How about you?  Have you run, or rolled, or maybe both?

The running is full of pride and self-importance.
The rolling is filled with depression and defeat.

We exert a lot of energy and offer a lot of our time and dedication to the running – which is good.  We do it in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons – which is bad.

We realize our limitations and need for help in the rolling – which is good.
We waste a lot of time and ability doing nothing – which is bad.
So, what’s the answer?

If we can’t run and we can’t roll, what can we do in the middle of this crazy, exhausting life?

We relinquish.  
{Forgive me for relentlessly sticking with the ‘R’ theme.  Relinquish is just another word for surrender.  They are nearly perfect synonyms for each other.}

Running is too active on our part.
Rolling is too passive on our part.
Im beginning to think relinquishing might just be the perfect balance of our activity and passivity.
It’s actively giving something over and then passively waiting for direction on what to do next.  And then...doing it.  
It’s not a one-time event.  
It’s not even a way to live – it’s a rhythm.  
And when you find it you will know what I mean.

You won’t start perfectly.  You’ll begin by relinquishing some things and not others. 
OK, God, I know you want to guide me in this decision about my job.  I’m giving this over to you and trusting you for the result.  I’m waiting for you to give me wisdom and direction.  I’m looking for the doors you are opening and the ones you are closing.  Whatever you lead me to do, I will do it...with everything I've got!

And then we turn around and get back to controlling our kids or our spouse or our addiction recovery or our family dispute or some other situation because perhaps they seem a little more manageable at the moment or perhaps they’re a little more difficult for us to pry our fingers off of.  But then we get to running too hard or rolling up for too long and we realize something must change so maybe we relinquish that too.

Gradually God pries our fingers off all the parts of our life, not just the one that is most difficult right now.  He wants all of us not because he is a greedy God but because he is a complete God, a loving God, an all-powerful God.  He doesn’t need all of the parts of our life for his benefit, but he wants them for our benefit. 

We need him to hold them because our frame was never meant to carry such weight.  If we're ever going to fly on freedom's wings or walk on water, we’re going to have to lose all that dead weight.  And it is dead in our arms.  
We give it over to Him to breathe life back into it - back into all the places of our life that were growing stale or dark.  Our hands always hold on too tight or too loose.  We either cut off the oxygen supply or loose our grip and drop something, in both cases risking death. 

Life in our hands ultimately leads to death.
Life in his hands leads to eternity.
We can choose the temporary or we can choose the eternal.

And contrary to popular belief the eternal begins now.  We don’t just live a miserable existence here all the while waiting for the big reward that is to come.  Living an eternal life starts now.  And it’s better than you thought.


So we can stop running, stop rolling and start relinquishing all the temporary fixes we’ve tried and wait on the eternal threads God wants to weave into our lives.  They are strong and vibrant, able to maintain their beauty and form even under the heaviest and hardest of times.

For today let's pick just one thing, one situation, that has us running for our life or rolling up wishing we were dead.  

Relinquish, wait, and then respond.

Open your hands and offer it up so that God can breathe life back into that one dying place.
As you watch the growing and the blooming that follows, offer up the next thing, and then the next thing...and the next...
until our lightness lifts us and eventually - we're flying.  
Flying is so much better than running - or rolling.  Wouldn't you agree?