Taking Yourself for a Walk
by Lisa Traylor
Yes, truly this is a reflection on Steve’s sermon yesterday.
There are several things I took away from Steve’s sermon, but probably the one I keep coming back to most often is this: God didn’t make a mistake in giving me the life to life that I have right now. Then why is it I’m trying to life the life I think I should have rather than the one I’ve been given?
I am the poster child for this concept.
I am puzzled and confused about living the life I have in a way that glorifies God. It is a tiring life. The path is uneven, the ground can give way and drop you down. If you try and cover too much terrain in one day, you pay for it the next. It’s hard, tedious living and can be pretty boring.
The temptation I face in my life is to try and return to the life I had before John got sick. To try and do more, to try and cover more ground, to expect that expending more effort will result in a mountain top experience of satisfaction, recognition and glory.
The careful reader will note how the above two paragraphs make for a nasty little cycle.
Reflecting on this has reminded me of a picture metaphor I’ve used before: walking Roxie.
Roxie is a Welsh Pembrook Corgi. She’s a year and a half old, full of boundless energy and a very strong will. When I put on a leash on her to walk her, she takes the leash in her mouth, pulls on it and basically attempts to walk herself.
Why doesn’t she get it? At 1.5 years old, I’ve been walking her for over a year. I walk her on a 16′ retractable leash, so she gets plenty of distance if she wants it. But she insists. Each day, every walk, the leash goes in the mouth, the jerking and the tugging commence, my frustration and amusement mount and we walk, sometimes with me dragging her, sometimes with her pulling so hard I have to dig in my heels to keep from being pulled over, like two asteroids with erratic orbits circling each other, missing collision and chaos by fractions.
How often am I resisting the Lord’s lead and trying to make my own way? How much effort do I expend in trying to take my own path, when I just end up–more or less–on the one that he was trying to take me on anyway? How much energy and time do I lose resisting a hand that would lead me on the best ways through the rough terrain and possibly avoid the pitfalls altogether?
How do I avoid resisting the life I’ve been given to walk out?
Steve answered this too, although I take my answer from Sunday School. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” One of the temptations of Satan to Jesus was to change a rock into bread. The answer for me is to look behind the temptation to make my own bread and stay with the hunger–the God-given desire that he wants to fill–and to pray for the grace to recognize when that’s happening.
I am beginning to see my desire to work myself into a frenzy “just to get things done” as a temptation to grab the leash and try to walk myself. The next step is to release that to the Lord, dedicate the time I have to him and say “thy will be done.” I expect to fail; I have failed. But this is the place where God’s grace can intersect my life in a way I can see very clearly right now.
May we all become better collaborators with His Grace during this Lent.
July 31, 2017
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