It seems right to spend a little time reflecting on the past year, but as I do so I realise that many of last years resolutions lay cast aside, and many of my frustrations with myself remain the same! I am totally unable to transform myself, I know this, but I wonder whether I have given any space to the Holy Spirit at all, or whether I am simply too good at wearing masks and erecting barriers to her presence. In this I embody the hypocrisy that I hate so much!
Have I changed?
I suspect I have but I am too close to myself to be able to see it; I dread being a hypocrite, and long to be a person of grace...
Next year will bring many changes; my three youngest children will enter their final year of their Bachelors degrees, we will move in August to my first appointment as a Methodist Minister, and yet so much feels incomplete.
I feel unable and ill equipped to make a list of resolutions, or even an attempt at vague wishing; I can't even say that I will simply place myself into God's hands, for although it sounds an easy thing to do I know that it is far from easy!
And so if I am going to do anything I think that it will simply be to take 2009 one step at a time. I want to become more open to the Spirits work in my life, but to make a resolution to do (be) so is beyond me... I find myself echoing Paul:
"I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different."
and so like Paul I wait and watch;
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
And through the waiting and watching I must acknowledge that God's work in me is Her work and not mine, my participation in this God-life is not compliant, door-mat like submission, but rather an acknowledgment that I cannot do it, and a desire to allow her to work within me. For this I can take no more than one day, perhaps one moment at a time.
For today this is my prayer....
Here am I Holy Spirit, here am I....