“I connect best with others when I connect with the core of myself. When I am able to disengage myself from others and allow the Lord to liberate me from an unhealthy dependence on people, I can exist more for them, listen more attentively, love more unselfishly, speak more compassionately, take myself less seriously, and become more aware that my face is bright with laughter in the midst of what I thoroughly enjoy.”
::Brennan Manning’s “Souvenirs of Solicitude”::
Is it selfish sounding?
Brennan Manning’s words here aren’t the classic “Jesus, Others, You” formula for joy. He finds that too much consecutive time with people can actually disconnect him from them and, ultimately, from the Lord.
And I agree! (Shocker, right?)
In the last few weeks I’ve had more opinions and perspectives coming at me than I’ve ever felt. A supervisor, two professors, clients, colleagues, future internship director, friends, family…It seems everyone has an answer to what I should or shouldn’t be doing, writing, saying etc.
Time is split in ten directions and I’m that girl who wants to make sure everyone is getting an evenly sliced piece of the time pie. “How’s the working out?”, you might ask. And the answer is…it’s not.
If I could define the last month in one word, it would be frantic. That slice of the time pie that goes to family and friends might be just as big as the other pieces, but it’s full of inattentive anxiety. I’m there, but I’m not there. And I hate it.
All of this probably sounds emotional. And that’s because it is. I’ll call a spade a spade and claim it. So, I took my emotional self over to the Psalms because that seemed appropriate.
I found David speaking about his enemies and instantly separated myself from the word. He was in a completely different time and a starkly different situation. I’m not a King being threatened by armies or sought by murderers. I’m just a girl in a post-modern culture with too many plates spinning.
Then, the Spirit worked the word into my heart in a way that only a double edged sword could.
He conceded to my protests. Yes, I’m not the King of Israel. No, I don’t have physical enemies seeking my life. But I do have an enemy who comes to steal, to kill and to destroy all that is Good. He is very real. I do have enemies. Their names aren’t Saul, Doeg or Achitophel, but Fear, Anxiety, Self-sufficiency, and Faithlessness. Though my enemies don’t come with the weapons we’re used to, they sure do come armed just the same.
I’ve found that right in the heat of the battle against these enemies of mine (especially in those against Mr. Anxiety) my best weapon is the Word.
The Word coupled with a place and space for stillness to retreat and find strength….These battle plans work every time.
Right in the middle of that stressful thought, that tightness right in the middle of my chest, when another deadline drops like a rock, there it is. Urgency.
Doesn’t urgency over everything imply that God’s in control of nothing?
It’s time for quiet. It’s time for broad, open places and skies full of stars. It’s time for being still and letting my soul rest in knowing the Lord.
It’s time to defeat Urgency by calling on the Author of time.
He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.