Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Do You Have in Your Hand?

Wow, was last week crazy for our family. I would love to share all the ways we saw God at work, but the stories aren't really mine to tell. They belong to Scott and to Lars mostly. I can say that we were amazed at God's activity; His perfect timing, the people He placed in our paths... I'm over and over awed by how much God loves imperfect, prideful, quick-to-doubt me.

I love how God teaches through connections of real life experiences, His word, from other people's stories and from our own. I've been thinking through an idea this last week that I can share. The connections that led me to it? Reading The Hole in Our Gospel, the study I'm doing in Proverbs, and some of the events of last week. A million times I've written about the importance of "intentionality." As a parent, a wife, a daughter, a neighbor, a follower of Christ, I gotta' be doing what I'm doing on purpose. I must pay attention to what I do (or don't do, in some cases), be aware, and be decisive. This is a drum I've been banging for quite some time, but I happened upon another one, the drum right next to the intentionality one.

The action step that has to follow intentionality is surrendering. I think intentionality happens in your head, and heart, and surrendering is more active. Surrender happens when you open your hand--the one that's hanging on to the thing you're clinging to--and let go. I guess I've written and thought a lot about surrendering, too, but this is a new thing for me to see intentionality and surrender together, as a two-step process. I found it in Proverbs 21:5, where it says in the New Living Translation, "Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty." I think the good planning is being intentional, and hard work is surrendering.

Here's a benign example: if I decide to be intentional about getting into shape, I need to set my mind to it. I need to be intentional about how I grocery shop, what I put into my mouth, and how I incorporate more physical activity into my day. But to really get over that hump, there's some things I have to surrender. I have to let go of the bigger portions and the bowl of ice cream that I really, really want after the kids are in bed. I have to put on my shoes and go for a walk, give up some of "my" time and get moving. The intentionality is a very important first step, but to make real progress, I have to be willing to give up some behaviors, and deny that voice in me that says, "mine. mine. mine." Makes me think of the sea gulls in Finding Nemo. And what happened to them?

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