...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Surrender

Wonder can lead us to surrender
Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

-We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
-Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
-Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Steps 1-3,  Alcoholics Anonymous

Is it easier to surrender to wonder if you trust a higher power such as God? Oprah thinks so. We fear loss of control. In fact, part of what pushes some anxiety disorders, such as Agoraphobia is loss of control. It's not necessarily rational, since there are many situations where we are not in control. Drained of energy and reserves, we attempt the impossible- to manage the unmanageable- life itself.  

The attempt to manipulate others can do serious harm- to others and ourselves. It poisons relationships, and it's why some Christians will never venture back to church. Which is why we need the faith of a Mary- a faith that surrenders what it doesn't know and cannot figure it out. It's why Psalm 139 declares:

Lord, you have examined me.
You know me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
You study my traveling and resting.
You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,
that you don’t already know completely.
You surround me—front and back.
You lay your hand on me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
I cannot attain it.

There are many things about which we have no or little knowledge. We surrender not just those things over which we have no control, but we realize that, in spite of our denial and best efforts to fix ourselves the way we want, we cannot do that either. And we're even farther away from fixing others. 

Advent is a good time to name what we cannot control, and surrender our lives now, and regularly, to God. I cannot make even the smallest thing of creation, much less sustain it. I'm thinking of the last bright red Maple leaf. Jesus pointed to beaming wildflowers. Matthew 6:28     



 

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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