Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That wretched bar of soap

Ever played in the tub with your kid -- squeezing the slippery soap so tight that it pops out of your hand?

I do that with life sometimes. In fact, more often than I care to admit. I squeeze so tightly the things that I want that, sometimes, they slip out of my hand. Then, I go splashing around in the water of life looking for that slippery soap only to have it elude me once more.

Corrie Ten Boom identified it another way. She said, "I've learned to hold everything loosely, because it hurts too much when God pries my fingers apart and takes them from me." Ahhhhh. Yep. I've been there, too. When I hear that quote, I imagine my fingers being superglued to the things I want -- and the skin-ripping pain of having to relinquish what's "mine".

Don Uth, pastor at First Baptist Church of Orlando, said this past week, "We weren't made for this world -- hold life loosely." So true.

Ever tried it? Ever really tried to hold everything -- your thoughts, actions, hopes and dreams -- loosely? What about your coworkers, friends, family, kids, parents, bosses, teachers? Not carelessly. Loosely. Loosely so that God can reorganize, reshape, rework them for His purposes. Just as an empty vessel cradling precious gifts but not clinging to them.

Ever tried to hold multiple ideas from multiple people loosely? Can opposing ideas and thoughts really coexist? Can different personalities and ideologies become one?

Are we truly capable of allowing a fellow human -- moreover a fellow Christian or Christian leader -- to progress on THEIR journey and not on ours? Can we give them the grace to fall? Can we help them up without expectation of where their journeys may lead?

What about your best friend? What about your spouse? Can you allow him or her to be who God created him/her to be without expecting YOUR purposes to be fulfilled?

This is where my heart is these days. Trying to hold all of God's gifts loosely without anticipating how the pieces fit my purposes. Frankly, it's messy. I want to fix it. I want to create an answer that satisfies me. And yet I know that His timing, His purposes and His plans are far greater than my own.