The day began while it was still night. 3:23am to be exact.
Stirring and a bit restless Mark and I were both awake enough at 3:23 to acknowledge that there was much in our hearts and heads.
Coffee and solitude came for a bit at 6:15am as I sat in my chair with the sun just starting to peek through the budding trees in the backyard. Wise words from a friend, spoken to me several weeks ago, returned to my thoughts in the quiet dawn moments. "Are you willing to let it all go?"
Such a question, so good, provoking both my thoughts and my heart.
What would that mean? What would "all" include?
I've wondered about that for weeks now, slowly sifting through the things I hold onto, what I grasp in my hand, what my heart holds tightly.
Philippians 3:7-10 is the chosen passage this week for a prayer circle I have with a few other women.
"7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
When we focus on losses it is tempting to give in to a scarcity mentality, one that fears there is not enough or will not be enough, it yields a tightening of our hands around what we believe we must "have". And yet, this passage invites me to consider that the losses are in truth a way to join in the fellowship of Jesus' sufferings, to be conformed to His death.
This all seems to timely as we anticipate Good Friday.
This morning Mark and I let go a bit more. We surrendered to the reality that the sale of our home will not "net" what we had hoped, or what our realtor hoped either. It was time to really lower the price and let go of our plans for how this will all turn out. Where we are going, how we will get there and what it will all look like is not about how much money we get from the sale of the house. But, it has been something to hold onto and put a bit hope into...foolish I know, but so very human!
I am trusting in God's generosity, and the real truth is I have loads of evidence that He loves me and that He will care for me and my family. The lie that seems to suck me in, and my guess is that it gets you too from time to time, is that I have to figure it all out and take care of things myself. This lie is not helpful and takes up a great deal of space when being believed. It produces tightness, control, worry and a scarcity mentality.
Letting go frees up the space to enjoy God's provision and generosity.
I saw this poem posted on a friends Facebook page today and it felt like another piece of convergence in the message Jesus is speaking to me with staggering consistency. I love the final paragraph which asks God to sink His generosity deep into our lives. I hope it speaks to you as we all walk towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday together.
by Walter Brueggemann
On our own, we conclude:
there is not enough to go around
we are going to run short
we should seize the day
seize our goods
seize our neighbours goods
because there is not enough to go around
and in the midst of our perceived deficit
you come giving bread in the wilderness
you come giving children at the 11th hour
you come giving homes to exiles
you come giving futures to the shut down
you come giving easter joy to the dead
you come – fleshed in Jesus.
and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.
It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that you “give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance ... mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.
Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your muchness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give
so that the world may be made Easter new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder,
without coercive need but only love,
without destructive greed but only praise
without aggression and invasiveness
all things Easter new…
all around us, toward us and
all things Easter new.
Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.