Friday, April 30, 2010

And I Will Hold On Hope

I've spent most of my life trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. I want to pursue the passions of my heart, but I never want to commit to what those passions are. I want to live dangerously, but I want to mitigate risk. I want to take the right steps without ever tripping. [Yeah, I want to live in a dream world.]

In her biography, it's mentioned that St. Teresa of Avila "was always afraid that no matter what she did she was going to do everything wrong." That pretty much sums up my life, which is why I found this prayer by her to be so beautiful:
Govern everything by your wisdom, O Lord,
so that my soul may always be serving you
in the way you will
and not as I choose.
Let me die to myself so that I may serve you;
let me live to you who are life itself.

I find that prayer to have a calming effect. Everything in the first paragraph of this post is focused on me and my desires. And when I focus on how I am going to live my life and how I am going to plan out the near future, I get paralyzed by indecision and wind up sitting in a corner listening to Whitney Houston albums. It isn't pretty.

Instead of focusing on my desires, [wait for it] I should focus on God's desires for my life. When you can hand over your dreams and passions to God, he transforms those passions into his passions. Instead of paralyzing indecision, you can grab onto hope. It's empowering.

I found myself thinking of that while listening to Mumford & Sons this week. Their song "The Cave" has so many good lines [full lyrics here]. Some of my favorites:
"And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again"

"Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be"

"So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears"
[Author's aside: That last part about orphans and knowing my call is especially poignant as my wife and I continue to talk about the idea of adoption. But that's a post for another time.]

We are called out of a life focused on ourselves and called into a life focused on God. Only then will we find the clarity to live as God's people in this world, a people marked by grace [and everything that means].

Nothing I've said is new. I've heard it a million times. But I suppose when a 16th century Spanish saint and a folk band from London conspire across the space-time continuum to persuade you to refocus your heart, you should probably shut-up and do it.


Jen said...

Ben, I should have recommended it earlier perhaps...but you might enjoy a book our friend wrote as you think through next steps.

I recommend it, having not read it yet. Ive read reviews and I know the that enough:)

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