I know it has been some time since I shared my “bloughts”. Things have been pretty busy for me but that is not the excuse. So much is going on right now in my world and because of that, there are so many thoughts, contemplations, considerations, questions, answers, and such floating in my head. With so much happening, I have not been able to put my thoughts together in a way that I could clearly communicate. One thing that will help is what I am doing on Friday. I will spend some time in a monastery, participating in a 24 hour silent retreat. No computer, no email, no cell phone, no ipod…just my bible and my notebook. I hope and pray that during this time I can get some clarity, direction and dare I say, some personal freedom.
Until then, what am I thinking about? In my reading this morning, the Romans 12:1-2 scripture came to mind. The NRSV translation (Romans 12:1-8) was read in my ordination service. I went to The Message translation by Eugene Peterson for the first two verses.
Romans 8:1-2: So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I have been attempting to work on improving myself, my ministry and my life by attending family system workshops, writing reflections and giving honest personal feedback on my work. In some ways I have failed and in some ways, I could not be prouder of what I have done. Lately though, I have been so focused on other people, other jobs, and other “stuff”, that my everyday, ordinary life has taken a hit. I know that happens and grace is a part of my process.
If I have learned anything in the past few months, it’s that I can only be responsible for one person and that’s me. I cannot change anybody else, including family and friends AND believe it or not, it is not my business what anybody else thinks of me, including family and friends.
There is only one person that I can change.
What DO I have? I have a choice. I have a choice to take care of myself. I have a choice to change my habits. I have a choice to work on what I need to improve. I have a choice to acknowledge what I have done well and celebrate that. I have a choice to stand up for myself and do what is right for me. I have a choice whether to conform to pressure, criticism and attitude and giving in. I have a choice to offer up the only sacrifice that I can and to the only person that deserves it.
I have a choice to change myself, from the inside out.
I have a choice to recognize what God wants out of me and quickly respond.
I have a choice to fix my attention on God.
Do you have a choice?