In her Catholic.org 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,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.
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.
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[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.]
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"
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.