Deeper…. As in dig deeper to get to the root, as in another lay of the onion peeled back, as in getting past the surface stuff. Yes, reflecting on this word has meant exactly that. Here is what the Lord has been showing me:
Lesson 1: “Slow down, you move too fast…”
Through Paula Gamble’s Unhurry Up! Lenten devotional, I’ve learned that it is hard for me to be still. She has several different exercises that she introduces where you just have to pause and reflect. Sometimes for five whole minutes. I’ve seen my own difficulty as my mind wanders to the schedule of the day, or my hand gravitates to pick up my phone (or actually any available object). Help me, Jesus, to focus on You.
Lesson 2: “Bring all of yourself into your time with Me.”
It’s easy to just bring the urgent stuff to the Lord, the things that are pressing, but sometimes, the important stuff, like where you are in the midst of that, doesn’t feel as needed. But oh, it is. processing the everyday realities with the Lord is one way of experiencing His grace in the midst of our messy innards.
Connection with Lesson 1: if you don’t slow down to reflect, you won’t even realize how the realities of the day affected you. The problem with leaving them out is that they accumulate in our hearts and can create walls between us and God, us and others.
Lesson 3: Pay attention.
Pay attention to your heart. As my friend and colleague, Gary Runn has pointed out: “the heart in Hebrew culture was that combination of mind, will and soul. It represents the whole person.” Two simple questions from the prayer of Examen have helped me. Where did you experience joy today? Where have you experienced sadness or loss? Being able to reflect on those helps me map the emotions of the day and look at root issues and motivations.
Lesson 4: Ask God to move the big rocks.
When you go “deeper” there is a lot of stuff that are beyond the easy fix. No simple behavior change. Just the reality that you are a sinner. Not new, but a deeper look at the independence and as Jeremiah puts it, “stubborn inclinations of our evil hearts.” Even in recognizing all of that is the realization that I cannot change it myself. No amount of strategizing life plans and all changes that. Only Jesus can transform my ruts into a new ways that reflect His beauty.
Through these first few months of 2013, I have a fresh appreciation for the grace of God, the reality of His acceptance of us, despite our sin. I have a renewed appreciation for all the basics of walking with Jesus – the simple disciplines that help us follow Him more whole-heartedly.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, thy beauty golden like summer harvest, thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty….¹
If you have a word for the year, how is it influencing you so far?
¹ from the Valley of Vision, see prayer for 2013 for full text and citation.
Related posts: all of me, prayer for 2013, make space for new things
You can check out others’ thoughts on their “one word” here at the monthly link up.