I am trying to center myself so I can do what I need to do and be who I need to be. This never seems to have anything to do with my daily tasks that are so time-consuming. Regardless of how centered I am, I still have to scoop kitty litter and make supper. I have to do life. Yet often, life feels more adrift than this anchoring I seek.
The need for centering pulls at me reminds me that my busyness isn’t my primary business. I sit with it sometimes and try to make sense of what is so urgent. It’s uncomfortable and I have to fight the urge not to get in my car and drive to the store to look for a new coffee table. I’ve decided my coffee table is too small for my living room and even though that involved a small measure of math, it makes sense to me. This centering that I crave – not so much. I know it’s God by its persistence and truth be told, it makes the distraction of the coffee table seem like a welcome muse.
Then, of course, I question why I can’t sit with this God I adore and listen to what I need to do and who I need to be. Why do I resist? Why do I let myself succumb to distraction? God probably doesn’t think the six-inch difference in a coffee table is paramount to his plans for me.
So, I still myself. It chafes this stillness that God commands. I listen to the emptiness of this space and try to discern what is so relentlessly nagging at me. Is God in the quietness? The busyness? The mundane? The despair? The spiral? The spaces between it all? “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3).
We know he is in all and through all and yet he still commands our hearts to make space for him. When I stop resisting, I feel his reassurance and all my daily to-dos recede like the tide making room for the shore. Still, even in that lull I sometimes find myself pulling away – wanting to return to the concrete, the solvable, the logical, and the shallow. Sometimes it feels safer there – in the void of distraction.
I find it all frustrating. It’s one thing to not know or not understand or even to be incapable. But to know, as I do, that God is the centering, that he fills the ache of emptiness, and still want to drive across town to search for something as relatively insignificant as a coffee table because it’s tangible, can be crossed off a to-do list, and gives me a temporary rush thinking about how lovely it will look when either way the cats will climb on it and drink out of the vase of flowers I keep – just makes me want to write the world’s longest run-on sentence and give up on my spiritual evolution.
Yet the ache stops me from giving up and encourages my surrender. It reminds me that God won’t give up on me and while I am a tiny bit ashamed of myself, I am also relieved that in all my failings he doesn’t fail me. So, I sit – pretending he is on the couch across from me – six inches closer than he would have been. And suddenly the coffee table I have seems to be the perfect fit.
Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent and when many of us will make the decision to do something or give something up with the intention of drawing closer to God. The season of Lent can be a challenge — all of the introspection, sacrifice, and extra works along with just trying to get through an ordinary day. Yet we will never have a greater reward than our relationships with God. Even when it’s uncomfortable, especially when it’s uncomfortable, my prayer for you is that you will persevere.
How do you plan to draw closer to him this Lenten season?
Read last week’s post here: The Search is Over: Finding Love in Him