Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Through Each Perplexing Path of Life Our Wandering Footsteps Guide

i am off schedule and am very late in writing this week's post (more about that later). there are several things on my mind as i sit down to write this afternoon: the transformative work of God in helping me to become less prideful and to feel less need to control, my lenten discipline based on the thirteenth chapter of first corinthians, and the disturbing religious tone of the republican candidates for president. while all three are powerful currents swirling through my mind, i feel the need to address the first in this post.

one personality trait that it seems God is working to help me change is my feeling of moral superiority to others. i often find myself patting myself on the back because i am not a worrier like a friend with whom i often talk or a complainer like another friend. the inner me frequently congraulates me because i am optimistic, unlike my pessimistic friends. God keeps bringing me back to the contrast between the pharisee and the publican about which i wrote not long ago, reminding me that i'm in danger of trying to remove another's splinter while i'm blinded by a log in my own eye. i believe God is teaching me that i'm not better than any of those i look down on through my "holier-than-thou" glasses, that we are all creatures with a propensity for both good and evil. each of us is dependent on others and on God for the vision to see life as it truly is, not as our tricky minds wish us to belive life to be.

my need for control often lands me in hot water. this is especially true when it comes to the ordering of the day. i want desperately to plan out each day in detail and then become anxious because circumstances interfere with my carefully made schedule. when this happens, i am curt with others and impatient when their demands on my time throw me further off-schedule. God keeps reminding me that if i just live the day, the time for everything that is necessary is provided. for example, this morning i went to practice early, but i was later getting away than i had hoped. throughout the meditation time that preceded my practice, my mind kept jumping into stress mode, telling me, "you don't have time for this. you're late starting practice. now you won't get through in time to accomplish the other things you want to complete." nonetheless, i kept bringing my attention back to my breath and the sense of God's presence in the quiet. when i did move to my practice, i refused to check my watch as i worked. as i ended my session and looked at the time, i was amazed that i had completed what i intended right on schedule, even though i had begun almost an hour later that i wanted. because my mind was finally at peace, the concentration to do what needed to be done helped me use my time efficiently, and i left the bench with feelings of gratitude for the gifts of the music and exhilaration for the swift accomplishment of the desired goals. the rest of the day has gone beautifully--i've accomplished all i intended and even had time to spare.

my prayer for each of us today is that we rest in the knowledge that we're all imperfect but capable of change if we put forth the effort with God's help. i pray, too, that we don't waste energy trying to control that which is beyond our control, but rather that we let life unfold with the joy of being.

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