Releasing my sticky fingers

Deciding what I most need out of life, carefully calculating my next move, and generally allowing my autonomous self to run amuck inflates my sense of self-importance and reduces the God of my incredible journey to the role of spectator on the sidelines. It is only the wisdom and perspective gleaned from an hour of silent prayer each morning that prevents me from running for CEO of the universe.    ~ Brennan Manning

When I began to read Chapter 7 of Dark Night of the Soul, I breathed a sigh of relief. St John of the Cross was dealing with the sin of spiritual envy and sloth. I am a lot of things, but envious and slothful are not two of them. I love to see people bloom in their gifts. I love to encourage newbies at anything. I love to see pure, raw talent exploding before me and I am not jealous of anyone.  Then I looked at the sin of slothfulness. I am a regular Martha and can be seen flitting around, making myself busy at any function. Unfortunately, I am also like Martha when I complain about having to do the will of God before my own will is satisfied, ie, “my house is in order”. Ouch!

I am a planner. I am task-oriented and time-conscious so it is natural that, in my mind, the day looks like a pie cut into pieces with each piece labeled with its purpose. God looks at that pie in my mind and must chuckle, “She thinks this is what it’s all about, does she?” Lovingly He taps me to go in His direction if I give Him a moment of “my” time, but, if I don’t, He lovingly, but sadly, lets me go in my own direction. I am off to start “my” day. He is close-by, but I can’t hear Him because He’s not speaking because I am not asking for directions. Only when things fall apart does the spiritual sloth realize she needs Jesus. It is then she tries to rein herself in and pray more, fast, read her Bible, memorize Scripture, but it does no good, because she’s doing it for the wrong reason.

St John of the Cross says such a person needs the dark night. The dark night

takes from them all these irrelevancies and purilities, and by very different means causes them to win the virtues. For, however assiduously the beginner practices the mortification in himself of all these actions and passions of his, he can never completely succeed—very far from it—until God shall work it in him passively by means of the purgation of the said night.

Paula Rinehart in her book Strong Women Soft Hearts asks, “Why would God go to the trouble–reaching into the farthest crevices of your soul, disturbing your plans, rattling your cage? Why not just leave you be?” Because in that dark night your heart makes up its mind. “Only when the heart can hear, can we experience being loved and the joy of belonging to the Father. Pain is often the megaphone that awakens.” (p. 60)

Only by releasing my sticky fingers from the steering wheel will I ever be ready for the ride of my life! The question I must ask myself moment by moment is, “Dawn, are you gripping the steering wheel so tightly that the Lord can’t get you to go where you need to go?” If so,  you are missing THE ride of your life, the exhilaration of knowing the Father above all else.

Till Jesus is my cruise control,

Dawn

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5 comments on “Releasing my sticky fingers

  1. My! I read your comment over at my blog and then this. How timely! That thing about the pie in the brain: that’s just what I’ve been trying to do of late, have it all segmented into tidy little pieces. But God… “rattles the cage.”
    Am I finally getting the definition of the “dark night” as the time of deep trouble that sends us into complete and total dependence on God? If so, yes, that is always good — even though at the time it can feel anything *but*.
    Thanks for this beautiful post.
    And oh, yes… that first animated picture: I read your whole post in my email first, then came over here, and when I saw that, I burst out laughing.
    God bless you, dear woman!

  2. Dear Sylvia,

    Thanks for commenting on the little animation. I didn’t know if people would be able to see that he is patting himself on the back. I’m glad you got it. That was just the attitude I had when I saw John’s topic of the chapter. Yep, I can sail through this one…not!

    I really do need to meet Him first thing in the morning. My worldview is forever in need of an adjustment. The dark night as a good thing is not an easy concept, especially when reading the early church writers. That is why I was so happy when I found Paula Rinehart and her “rattling our cages”. That, I understand.

    I’m so glad you visited today. I think He has a lot to teach us and those of us who want to go deeper may be ready to hear and help one another to hear better.

    Love,
    Dawn

  3. Dawn, I smiled with this post and the ‘my house in order’ part…. God has been releasing me from this over the years. I have always loved to plan and organize and have found God able to transform all my days completely differently than I had staked out… I see it now as ‘His’ planning my days… I still try to have a goal in mind each day but I welcome the changes God brings about and smile at the end of my day to know that He knows best.

    This is exactly what I meant in my poem…

    the path we take
    God leads us
    where tender mercies lie
    He sets his grace about us
    and mercy is our guide

    when I say “the path we take” it is with the resolve that we have already given Him the reins” so He leads us…thus the path we take, is the one ‘He’ has staked out for us’ not the one of
    ‘our choosing’.

    so…
    me
    yielded to Him
    on the path He has chosen to lead me
    no matter how dark and rough or smooth or bounteous
    I know it is with His tender mercies in mind
    and His everlasting grace abounding
    His mercy and love of heart
    our guide

    that we might be as Psalm 1 says
    trees of righteousness
    the planting of the Lord
    that He might be glorified
    —————-
    For me these words were penned with a sigh of resting in the yoke beside Christ, knowing His strength and help beside me, content to be where tender mercies lay about me no matter the rough way before me. I am yolked with the One who has made the way for us, the wise one, the powerful One, the everlasting One… There yolked with Him, His yoke being easy and His burden being light, I am able, because of Him.
    —————-

    Thank you for sharing from this book… such an amount of deep thought you are bringing to us… I go to sleep with it and actually wake rested… Amazing what God can accomplish in our weak feeble lives as He works his grace in and around us…
    love you dear one!

  4. Dear Susan,

    There is so much here that I need to come back to, but right now I have one of those appointments God set up for me today unbeknownst to me. Please pray I can say what is needed to a dear friend. I must thank both A and Cora for recommending Dark Night of the Soul. WHERE are the two of them?

    I’ll be back here later, Susan, to “set my house in order”. Smiling here, and blowing you kisses!
    Dawn

  5. Dear Dawn,
    Oh, how I understand this desire to have everything organized and under control. I find it is the way I comfort and convince myself that things will turn out the way I want them. I certainly know better because only when we do “leave the steering to God” do the days follow the road he has in mind for us at that particular time. I don’t think he expects us not to plan a bit, follow an organized format but we must remember to leave the flexibility of the day to His judgement.

    Hope your day is going fine. a
    Hugs, NancyBee

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