This weekend I spent half the Saturday simply sitting on my deck under the sunshine, experiencing the sights and sounds of the birds coming to eat. I saw the yard work that will need tending. I saw the fallen branches, the leaves lying in wait from last season. But, I hear birds' wings breeze past me with songs from their friends responding from the woods. I smell the, now unfrozen, earth beneath. I feel the gentle movement of the Spirit invite me to have a seat and sense I'm right where I need to be. Work can wait.
Spring is for renewal, not just of nature but of soul and today my soul needed tending most of all.
This time nurtures trust. This reminds me I already have everything I need, and everything else can wait. As I let go of my work for a little while, Jesus and I got to enjoy what he's been working on in me. It feels as if God himself was giving me a hug.
Being able to sit still - still feels relatively new for me. I've always enjoyed watching the birds come to my feeders, but over the years, as life started piling up, I began resisting rest and enjoyment for the comfort control gave me as I crossed things off my to-do list. I would use "doing" to protect me from the deep wounds I felt in me. For a long time, I couldn't sit with Jesus like this and quite frankly, I started missing him.
The spiritual journey helps us see what motivates us, the habits that drive us, and the ways we particularly cope in life.
Like the part of me that thinks everything needs to be done and put in place before I can rest and enjoy. Awareness to this part of us signals a need to connect with God in His trusting love. To get glimpses of this side of myself feels like a glorious exchange, but it is tough work. I love how Marilyn Vancil, in her book, "Self To Lose Self To Find" calls the dual parts of us the "Adapted Self" and the "Authentic Self". It's a lot like how Saint Paul said, "Old Self" and "New Self." The "Old Self" is the part of me that is broken, straining, disconnected from God's presence and provision trying to make something happen. The "New Self" is the true part of me, created in God's image, trusting, connected.
We each have these two dueling sides, and Jesus' invitation is always for us to let go and step more deeply into the full life where our true self in God waits to be embraced. I keep learning life is so much less about what I do and so much more about how and why I do it. Am I using what I can do to make myself feel in control, content, protected, satisfied? Am I willing to see the compulsion of this "Old Self" of mine for what it is and tell Jesus I want to lay it down?
I don't know what your particular tendencies may be, but leaning into the full life Jesus came to give is about noticing God and noticing ourselves. It's being a christian knowing we still need help. It's becoming aware of the transformation we tend to resist when responding to life in a certain way gives us a momentary release but no long term benefit.
Freedom from what drives us is a taste of the full life, the healed life Jesus came to give! Freedom tastes so good when we can get there with Him. Saying no to what drives us is hard, inner work but it's work that's worth it because it's work that will last. It's work that will bless you when you want to simply sit and watch the birds.
What does the "Old Self" look like in you and are you willing to say "no" to it when you see it?
How might you let God embrace you and lead you into renewal this Spring?
"The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need." - Psalm 23:1 NLT
Would it help you to have a place to come and share what you're noticing inside you?
Message Amy if you want to set up a time for spiritual direction.