What I’ve learned.

It’s taken me a little bit to figure out how to sum up this Lenten journey. I’m still figuring it out as I sit down to write now. Reflection is not easy for me because it requires slowing down and slowing down requires letting things I feel like I should be doing go and that really impinges on my affinity for performing to the best of my ability. Which leads me to what I’ve made my mantra since Easter…. presence over performance.

I said this to myself as I ran through the kitchen last night after Michael already had the kiddos in the car, putting away dishes and straightening things up so the kitchen would be a little cleaner when we got home. I think about it sadly now as I remember snapping sarcastically at Jack Monday night for grabbing the cupcake carrier and knocking them over, sacrificing what could have been a teaching, loving moment to mourn how others would view my little creation. I’m a performer, I want to be the best, I want to do everything to what I know is the best of my ability.

This is funny, this little (or rather, big) perfectionist quirk, considering Jesus died on the cross because perfection is not possible. It’s funny that what I want the most is to be present, to be loving, for my husband and kids, friends and family to know how much I care about them but instead of slowing down for them, I create for them or clean or cook or whatever to the point that there’s no time left to be still and know them from the inside out. It’s not funny, it needs to change.

There is a slowness that needs to start deep within me each day, each hour, that I need to let seep out from being just a slowness of mind and spirit, to a slower physical pace of life. I’m not saying I need to sit on the couch all day… I’m just saying I need to sit and play more, read more, reflect more. I need to think less about what I see in the mirror and more about the people I see in front of me.

On Easter our pastor talked about being “resurrection people.” About being people who bring restoration wherever we go, that live intentionally, a people of hope and love in a world much lacking both of those. I cannot be that person with my mind all aflutter with my to-do list and how active have I been today and what will we eat for dinner next week and on and on and on. I need Jesus to inject stillness into my soul. I need to sit still long enough for him to get an accurate shot at it.

I know God can stop us in our tracks and do amazing things within us. He’s done it for me before. But I also know there are times that the ball is in my court and I need to reshape the way I structure my days and structure my thoughts. This season, it’s in my court. I have no excuses, believe me, I could come up with plenty, but none are truly valid.

My prayer for this season, for myself and for anyone else who may be in the same…

Lord, bring me focus. May my soul be still within me, may my heart beat to the rhythm of yours and may my life follow. May your love flow through me intentionally. May I serve those around me in meaningful ways because I’ve stopped and reflected enough to know what they need. May that start in my home, with my children and husband. May that start with my attitude towards you and my time spent with you. May I no longer let the need to perform weigh me down, but allow you to take that away. Show me balance between getting things done and taking all the time needed to love well. Give me strength to rely more and more on you. Give me more of you Lord, be my everything.

Amen.

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What I’ve learned.

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