Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Tragedy of Being Type A

Those days,
when feet hit the floor and you barely get a chance to yawn before you're panting, running, rushing through the to-do's and deadlines like it's what keeps me breathing.

All the while the One who does keep me breathing longs for me to pause, just to stop and be in His presence, to know that I don't have to try so hard, don't have to rush so madly, live like it's all up to me.

My Wednesday was riding on one thing: everything to go according to schedule, perfectly, accomplishing every task on my ridiculously long to-do list.

One thing after another checked off, just what my Type A self would have done a victory dance for, yet the anxiety was still rising, the unrest seemed to escalate as the productive hours wore on.

This isn't how it is supposed to be!

Homework assignments finished. Appointments made on time. Tests taken.

And still the starving soul wonders why it isn't filled.

It's because really, the big secret was, that perfect to-do list for a perfect day was quite the opposite.

 It was failure. 

It was failure because my time with God was a check on the to-do list and not a longing, a thirst, a meaningful moment to be filled.

No,God turned into one of my accomplishments, an assignment, an appointment,

because the beckoning of that ticking idol called time and the allure of that shiny idol called achievement were just too shiny.


The truth is, a productive day is not one where I am able to pick up my prescription from Wal-Mart, drop off a recommendation letter on time, finish my study guide, ace my test, and make my Bible study on time.

No, the truth is, a productive day is what the Lord produces in a heart longing for His intimacy, His guidance, His grace, humbled to know that my little game of productivity will go to the grave with this decaying body and this rotting material world.

And in the loss of my identity as an achiever, a to-do list conqueror, the one who works so hard to polish that facade of having it all together,

when my mission is just to approach the throne of my Maker, why, only grace, there is only mercy, just when I need it,
in His perfect saving time, and that is the greatest accomplishment of all.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Bliss in Becoming a Farm Animal

I have never been so glad for being named after a farm animal.

In those days in the elementary schools, where we would pull out a Name Meaning book in our library class to discover and giggle at the meaning of our names, I was expecting "Rachel" to mean elegant, beauty, princess, you know, one of those nice meanings tacked onto female names that make a girl feel special.

And there, beside my name, the Hebrew translation made it's grand reveal in three letters:


That's right.

Old McDonald had a farm and there was an ewe on it.

An ewe that smells and eats  grass and makes a horrendous bahhhhhh sound and is regarded as an animal on the--ahem--less-intelligent side.

 Sheep are known to be stubborn, they are known to follow blindly, to walk right behind another off a cliff.


Until it really did become great and I read the Words about a Shepherd, and how we are His sheep.

I am the good shepherd a Savior says,
My sheep listen to my voice; 
I know them and they follow me. 
I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. 
No one can snatch them away from me.
(John 10:14,27-30 GNT)

Embracing my name, the name of one who is stubborn, helpless, really quite clueless, and utterly in need of a Shepherd, I am secure.

Humility becomes my cry as I resolve to assume my role, not as the master of my plans, nor seeking an exhaustible pasture based on my truly crippled understanding of what is good for me, of what the real prize is.

No, I will cry out that I am the one who needs help, who can't eat, walk, live, behave, speak, think, feel without that Good Shepherd.

Yes, the sweet green pastures and the delightful light in the dark valleys, that is the positioning myself to be a sheep. That is joy.

Will you join me in this flock? Of knowing what it means to be a sheep, all to be known by a Shepherd who saves again and again and carries us into eternity and life in all its fullness?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cleaning after Messes

I look at the date of my last blog post and draw in a sharp breath...
almost a month since I let the scribbles in my journal fly free,
the words waltzing through my heart take off to be read,
the grace-flakes that fall slow and sweet and melt into my experience become glorious announcements.

But this morning the urges to continue a ministry where fruit is seldom seen commence... and what better way to serve a Savior who deserves all praise.

It is 5 a.m. in the dorm, though it is looking quite like midnight outside. I enter the common area and on the kitchen table lies a plate of gooey peanut butter cookies a quad-mate must have baked the night before, sweetness to share. How nice the thought arises in my head as I turn to the kitchen sink: my area to clean this week.

And the shudder is audible this time.

Erupting from the drain are the remnants of reject cookies, mushed into a clump, a spongy mashing of cookie crumbs and peanut butter junk, all ready for me to clean.

A stream of thoughts erupt inside my mind that I would be rather ashamed to write, but how the Lord humbles and how good is His voice when He catches his child running too close to the cliff of pessimism and hate.

It's not so different from you, child.

The analogy was a stretch at first as I prayed for the bitterness to be cleaved right out of the heart, scrubbing at the peanut-buttery mash.

And He reminds me of how good works can be.
 How we do these good, sweet things, like cookies on the table, good intentions, momentary selflessness, and God says, Well done.

What we don't realize is the mess we make with our nasty sin and our fear and our doubt--

but the Lord cleans the mess, looks at the cookies alone and still says two grace-words, Well done

And the fruit of His Spirit, that plate of cookies that isn't even our good work to begin with, why, it still lies there on the table, and the disastrous mess we are responsible is gone without a word.

Nothing like an ice cold realization like that to begin one's morning, to make you wish you could start anew when that opportunity to be like Christ is tainted with your initial bitterness.

But then He says, I've already cleaned it up. Well done.