"Waiting", "Feeling it", and "Letting it go"
My husband calls me "a bulldog". My oldest son says it's a good thing I have kids, or I'd never lighten up -- but they force me to. My girlfriends say I'm intense. I'd say that I like figuring out what the next thing to do is to accomplish my goals (or God's goals, depending upon my mood and spiritual state), and then doing it!
But life is full of things that are not about "doing", but are about "waiting", "feeling my feelings", and "letting it go". Yuck!!!!
Relationships especially are full of those things -- because a "relationship" presupposes at least two sides, and that I only get to manage my own! And, of course, teams are full of those things too -- for the very same reason. If I'm playing first base or third or center field, I'd better play my part and not do anything at all when the play calls for another role to be active and me to just cheer my teammate on and wait until a play involves me. So . . . you know what Maria does then? Something like this: try to develop overlapping games so that I can play right field for one game and left for the other, and not have to wait as much! Who cares that it means I do a worse job at both than I would if I concentrated on either?
But I am growing up still, I think . . . and so are the people in my life. They are getting better at managing their roles and at being honest with me about mine. And so life is getting better and better!
I have walked away from a season of my life that was primarily about "me and Jesus" -- a necessary season that was precious and healing -- into a new season that is all about relationships and being part of a team. And this is where I get to allow the Holy Spirit to really transform me, if I practice all I learned in solitude. This is also where I get to walk away from intimacy and peace into chaos and disobedience, if I so choose. Reality will show itself: am I any different than I would be without the last four years, or were they just a temporary break in my determination to run my own life my own way, and run your life too, if you'd let me?
So what is "abiding in Jesus" in this busy time of my life?
It is the same things it was a year ago . . .
I need time alone in prayer and study and meditation . . . time in solitude to feel and to cry and to laugh and to heal and to grow. I need solitude to hear God and to know His love and provision and forgiveness and wisdom and leading . . . and I need it to draw strength to obey what I find He leads me to do out of that place.
I need time in fellowship with others who are also committed to knowing Him and obeying Him. "Me and Jesus" can really get off course if I don't have brothers and sisters in Him to call me on my stuff! And I need their love and ministry, and I need to offer them my love and ministry . . . as we each play the role in the BODY that He intended for each of us as He uniquely gifted each of us and put us together very deliberately.
I need time to live out in the world all the things that life and obedience require: mothering, being a sexual being, taking on and fulfilling vocational responsibilities, building friendships, being a responsible member of society, caring for my body and my home and my family . . . etc. Authentic transformation shows up there, or it is not real!
At the same time, I am still a sinner, and I still fail, and I still need His grace and love . . . and I have it! He loves me just as much the way I am today as He would if I "had my act all together" finally . . . just as I loved my 2-year-olds just as much as I loved each of those boys as they grew to 6 and 8 and 15 and 18 and 22 and 23!
But here I am, and I have had a week of being focused on the stuff that I tend to focus on, at the expense of the PEOPLE that God has put around me at work. And instead of having a ministry there, I have had a week of trying to get certain results with little regard for the personhood of those who would give me the results I want . . .
And Steven (husband and now also boss) tells me to "just let it go and move on" . . . but I want to FIX IT! NOW!!!!!!!
And life doesn't work that way. All I can do is be Maria, and let God be God, and let Jeff be Jeff, and let Renee be Renee, and let Dan be Dan . . . and seek to be the tool God wants me to be in their lives to accomplish His purposes for all of us, and seek to allow Him to use them in my life for that same purpose . . His purpose . . .
So, once more, right here and right now, I lay it all down at His feet and ask for Him to take over. Maria's agenda can be presented to Him and to them as a request, but then I need to hear their agendas and go in silence to Him and ask that His agenda emerge out of the conflicts . . . and that I be a tool for His agenda instead of an obstacle to it!
And, once more, right here and right now, I ask Him to forgive me and to lead me in seeking peace with all of them . . .
Not "peace at any price" . . . not "peace because I hate conflict and need approval" . . . but His peace that can tolerate conflict that is out of my control or is out of obedience, but that even then is working toward lasting peace and reconciliation for all of us.
And that kind of peace has only one Source.