In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Realizing powerlessness

rope You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope with less of you there is more if god and his rule:
Photo from Makeover
One of my favorite scriptures is the portion of Jesus' famous sermon on the mount that we refer to as the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12. I'm especially delighted by the way Peterson paraphrases the first verse in The Message: 

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you  there is more of God and his rule.

My first marriage was to an alcoholic.  I became rather crazy trying to  control that poor man's drinking.  I finally got myself into Al-Anon. I'll  forever be grateful for Al-Anon because it was there that I learned about 12 step programs.  The first step that they talk about is accepting the fact that you are powerless.

The importance of recognizing my own powerlessness is the foundation for life.

When speaking of solitude and silence Dallas Willard once said that "it is a fallacy to think that one just needs more time. Unless a deeper solution is found, "more time" will just fill up the same way as the time we already have.  The way to liberation and rest lies through a decision and practice. The decision is to release the world and your fate, including your reputation and success, into the hands of God."  Willard goes on to observe that "Sin, Paul tells us, "was in the world", even before the law came. It forms us internally and pressures us externally. Hence we must learn to choose things that meet with God's actions of grace to break us out of the system. These things are disciplines of life in the spirit, well known from Christian history but much avoided and misunderstood.  For those who do not understand our desperate situation, these disciplines look strange or even harmful.  But they are absolutely necessary for those who would find rest for their soul in God and not live the distracted existence Pascal so accurately portrays. Solitude and silence are the most radical of the spiritual disciples because they most directly attack the sources of human misery and wrongdoing.  To be in solitude is to choose to do nothing. For extensive periods of time. All accomplishment is given up. Silence is required to complete solitude, for until we enter quietness, the world still lays hold of us. When we go into solitude and silence we stop making demands on God. It is enough that God is God and we are his. We learn we have a soul, that God is here, and that the world is my Father's world."

I appreciate Ruth Haley Barton's comments concerning the practices of solitude and silence.  In her book Invitation to Solitude and Silence she talks about her inner demons of the desire to perform, to be seen as competent, productive, culturally relevant and balanced as major obstacles to the practice of solitude and silence. I struggle with these same issues.  To "do nothing" seems crazy.  I feel anxious even thinking about it.  I get busy thinking about it to avoid doing it.

But...the desire for more is still there.  The fact that I can't seem to work out what to be doing in my life right now exists.  In my application for 150 different jobs that have not resulted in employment, I see the fact that I'm not making "it" happen.

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