24 Aug Trust me. Let go. I’m here and I’ve got this.
The calendar tells me that we are in the waning days of August, and the heat and humidity outside certainly confirm that. But, internally, I do not feel anything even slightly resembling the slow, lazy haze of summertime. I am in full-blown Task Mode, with a “to do” list that is so long and detailed, I have resorted to categorizing my responsibilities: work or personal, Children’s Ministry or Mission Committee, writing jobs or phone calls, Advent or Stewardship planning. It feels as if I am making a hard, head-first slide towards Labor Day. I am constantly “revved up” and herein lies my “opportunity for growth.” Oh, how I love these. NOT.
I have the distinct impression that God wants to do a work in me in the midst of this very busy season. Will I trust or will I churn? Will I practice the spiritual disciplines (prayer, journaling, walking, studying) that feed and center me or will I abandon them when I most need them, giving in to the lie that “I don’t have time”? Will I choose serenity over anxiety? Will I focus on the people who are right in front of me or will I be physically present but mentally or emotionally absorbed with my own concerns?
These are some of the questions I hear God asking me. I know how I want to answer them, and I am also keenly aware of how much effort that requires. The truth is that trust is often not my “default” reaction to stress, so I have to be self-aware enough to choose to trust. This is a lifelong process, a process that some have likened to building up spiritual muscle.
I get a physical every summer. For the past several years, including this one, the doctor never fails to ask me if I am doing weight or resistance training. I am—but I don’t much like it. I have a very simple routine that uses hand weights varying from 3-12 pounds. In between sets of weight training, I do several exercises that are designed to improve my flexibility and balance. I don’t really enjoy any of it. But, I must admit that when I am consistent, I can tell a significant difference. I’ve been surprised at how much better my balance is. The stretching exercising have helped my lower back pain. My arm muscles are very slowly getting stronger which has helped me avoid more injury to my shoulder. The key to all of it is being at least reasonably consistent.
Building spiritual muscle is not dissimilar. It takes consistency whether I “feel” like it or not. For me, that means that I have been praying and journaling about how to manage—and maybe even thrive—as autumn barrels towards me. I am making a conscious effort to set aside my work to give people my full attention. I am choosing to speak truth and calm to the anxious voice inside my head that insists I will never get everything done on time. I am asking for help. I am practicing listening, which I can forget to do if I am too focused on what I need to be doing. I am calling on the Holy Spirit to keep me prayerful even as I take on the next task. I am making time for fun, family and friends, and laughter. I am sticking to my exercise routine.
All of these disciplines help me build spiritual muscle and lean in to God rather than trusting too much in my own abilities and strength. I certainly have the responsibility (and the privilege) of showing up, working hard, and bringing all the resources God has given me to the job at hand. But, that will not be enough. I am not enough. God is so much more interested in our hearts than in what we can “do” for God. God wants my trust, my love, my willingness to get out of the way so God can do “abundantly more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Sometimes it takes spiritual muscle to hold things, but sometimes it takes spiritual muscle to let go. I usually find the latter to be the most difficult.
In this season of impossible-looking “to do” lists, when everything around me and within me seems to want to “rev up,” I am hearing God whisper, “Trust me. Let go. I’m here and I’ve got this. And, I’ve got you.” If this is a word that also resonates with you today, I invite you, with me, to breathe deeply, exhale, and whisper back, “I trust you. I really trust you. Thank you for your peace.”
Yours for the Kingdom,