There’s a nice little rain falling outside my window this morning. I like rain. Summer or Winter it always brings a feeling of relief, no matter what I was planning or hoping to do at the time. Having grown up on a farm, rain relieved tension, so it is built into me now. Having bought a house in the (supposed) ‘burbs, I still watch the forecast for rain, because that’s another week that I don’t have to pay "the man" for water to keep my fledgling garden alive!
Water is an invaluable resource. It can be the one thing that can make or break a season for producers, which then flows on down to consumers – remember the Great Australian Banana Crisis? That makes it sound like a comic tragedy, but tropical cyclones and drought are two of the extremes that our country can face in the same breath.
We weather a lot of extremes here. Natural, emotional, political, social. I could have an extensive discourse about the nature of Australians and the current national climate, but not today!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but as a nation, no matter how we might feel as individuals, or how much other people tell us to be afraid, our collective conscience seems to be very strong.
I have discovered something about fear. There is big fear; which I think we all know about. There’s also sneaky little fear, which I have discovered recently. It seems to take the form of words that sound like something else. Should, Or Else, If You Don’t Have, If You Don’t Do, I Must. There’s probably more…
I get caught in the trap of “should”. I have had an object lesson this week how much the word “should” stops me living expansively and therefore influences me in a detrimental way. For example. I have a little voice in my head that tells me that I "should" keep X because I might need it one day. This has often stopped me from throwing away or donating things that I no longer need or use or don’t even like. Then, I wanted to clean and I thought ‘I "should" make a list of what needs to be done first’. Which sounds like a great idea and it’s what I have always done, but if I had done it this time, the list would have overwhelmed me and nothing would have actually been accomplished. (I put the piece of paper away and ended up doing far more than if I had made the list first).
A lot of my sneaky little fear seems to be caught up with my old habits of workaholism, the old protestant work ethic, the ‘If I Don’t Do This, I Will Never…….’ (Insert: be happy, be thin, have enough to eat, have enough clothes to wear, my house will always be in a mess, be healed, have a husband etc)
It’s not Big Fear. It’s not the overwhelming fear that used to chase me down in the darkness, or try to kill me during the day. It’s sneaky little fear that is trying to keep me from living expansively and really relying on the One Thing that matters. Jesus.
Yes, cleaning and all those other things will have a detrimental affect on my health and well-being if they aren’t done properly and in a timely fashion. However. Do I really want to be driven to this by a fear, no matter how well disguised it might try to be?
Having responsibility and taking responsibility is not the same as being poked by fear. Can you see and hear and feel the difference?
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
We often look at this verse solely with the purpose of reminding ourselves about the money reference. As I was reading this though I realised that there are other ways of serving two masters that have nothing to do with money. Every time I keep, and think I should recycle that old polar fleece vest, cut it down and make a new one in a new size to fit me - despite it being tatty and really needing to go out. I miss an opportunity to trust God to provide a new one when I need it. Particularly when one of His words to me is “Fit Well Into My Plans and I Will Take Care Of the Money”.
The point of the whole exercise, as I found out, was really to remind me how much permission there is in our relationship with God to just BE.
And in that place of being, how much more access we have to the deep reservoirs of the Power in His Peace that remain untapped when there are things in the way, and when I am trying to do things on my own.
I got things done that I had not the capacity to do previous.
I wonder how much understanding these things would change the lives of those around us? To realise that some of the words that niggle at our conscience are actually rooted in fear, not in responsibility as they pretend to be. To understand the overwhelming Love that God has for us as individuals, that there is to be no fear in being who He made us to be.
I wonder how many people would change careers, how many people would laugh more, who might be able to say no to others more, how many people would find themselves losing weight without trying?
Who I am, who you are, while affected by the taint of The Fall, is not garbage. We were made by a Perfect God, and He desires nothing more than to be in what He considers to be a perfect relationship with us. And it’s Him who makes it perfect. So the best thing we can do is relax into that relationship and allow Him to do so.
What is it that He says about you?
Is there a sneaky something that now exposed, doesn’t get your permission anymore?
We cannot plumb the depths of who God is, I think we don’t remember that all of that un-plumb-able God is and wants to be available just for us.
God Bless You Very Much.
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:2a (NIV)
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)