October 31, 2012

Because I Cling So Very Tightly to the Wrong Things

Thoughts were woven together in my head and heart today.  Ideas for a post from this morning collided with an experience later in the day and now I get to write.  Yay!

Maybe you've taken a child to a park sometime and they've climbed up a ladder or other structure. Beginning with confidence, suddenly fear envelops them when they realize the heights they've reached.  Little by little they work their way down until they are not that far from the ground.  But they can't get their foot to touch.  So despite your encouraging, they are unwilling - toes 3 inches from the ground! - to let go.

Unwilling to let go.

Somehow they prefer to cling tightly to the metal bar in that uncomfortable place, rather than trust your word: they are not far from safety, solid ground, freedom from fear.

I am that child at the playground.  The Heavenly Father is my  caretaker.  I climb a little too high, beyond my capabilities, qualifications, and strength.  Working my way down, I never seem to reach the ground.  Gently the Good Shepherd tells me to let go, the ground is just below my toes.  Or, He'll catch me.  But I cling to the cool metal bar of my idol-of-the-moment, my pride, my self-sufficiency, my non-negotiable desires.

Unwilling to let go.

But, man, that place is so full of discomfort, discontent, and distress!
Rest, relief, and redemption are found only when I let go.

*     *     *

Over the last month or so, now that Katherine is an older infant and life is more predictable and I have more energy, I've been working harder at keeping house, engaging more with my family, tackling long-ignored projects, and fighting my lazy tendencies.  There are rewarding moments, when something is done.  But the truth?  It's not fulfilling me as I must have hoped it would; there is ALWAYS [more] work to do and much of the tasks I do are repeated daily or weekly.  This week I have been discouraged and wanted to throw in the (dirty dish) towel.

I've been clinging to a bar, toes *just* above the ground, unwilling to let go.

A hymn came to mind this afternoon as I herded another bundle of warm, clean clothes from the dryer into the basket: I Surrender All.*  Even the work I do, no matter how many times I do it, must also be surrendered unto the Lord.  The work is not an end, it's a means.  A means by which I'm molded and shaped by my Father, a means by which I can look to His hand for all I need to complete the task at hand.  I can keep working because I can let go and work to His glory.

*     *     *

I wonder where this might apply in your life today?  What bar are you clinging to, white knuckled and stubborn today, unwilling to let go?

Let's let go together on 1 ... 2 ... 3!

Heavenly Father, thank you for making a plan to save our souls.  Sweet Jesus, thank you for never letting us go.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your whispers and screams of truth, even in the mundane.  Or, especially in the mundane?

Change our hearts.

*I Surrender All

1. All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

2. All to Jesus I surrender;
humbly at his feet I bow,
worldly pleasures all forsaken;
take me, Jesus, take me now.

3. All to Jesus I surrender;
make me, Savior, wholly thine;
fill me with thy love and power;
truly know that thou art mine.

4. All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to thee;
fill me with thy love and power;
let thy blessing fall on me.

5. All to Jesus I surrender;
now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to his name!

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