Wednesday, October 24, 2012

being entirely ready

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

It's the season of gratitude at recovery worship. We're walking through the steps, week by week. Tonight was about single tasking - the act of becoming ready. This means all the stuff that happens before we ask God to remove our sins and shortcomings. This is talking about that quiet, honest, vulnerable space before we do anything about the realization that we are broken. It's the sixth step - right in the middle - and it's a hard place to be.

I struggle with being entirely ready because I'm a procrastinator. I'm always a little late. I get ready while I do other things in the morning and before I go to bed at night. I struggle to set aside time for this kind of readiness.

Ugh. And the way our culture defines "getting ready" is fraught with Land Mines. To Do Lists. Pressures. Deadlines. The notion that we can figure it out all by ourselves. The glossing over of ugly details that need to be faced.

James 4 suggests that being entirely ready means inaction while you admit stuff. "Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and God will exalt you."

I worked on being entirely ready today. And by "worked", I mean that I was honest about the way things are. I was vulnerable about how the exhausting chaos and brokenness of my work can be. I didn't try to fix things right away. I listened well - to myself and to others. I acknowledge how desperately I want some things and that I am ready to feel however I feel when they happen however they happen.

I buried a 97 year old beauty today.
I held the hand of a woman weeping about the friend she'd lost and the faith they share.
I listened while a teenager confessed dark and painful things.
I read a book to a squirmy 3 year old boy.
I lamented the fear in a man's heart when he told me gay marriage would devastate this country.
I joined dozens of neighbors for dinner tonight. We are now bound by chicken and green beans.
I watched members of my previous congregation serve this food, connecting two of my worlds perfectly.
I listened to others in the circle tell me what it means to be entirely ready and I learned.
I asked Jimmy* to lead us in prayer, even though I knew it would take him a long time to find his place in the Braille bulletin and he would read it slowly without inflection. It was time to wait while I was being made entirely ready.

Then I drove home under the glare of red and green lights on Lake Street, hazy in the mist of a rainy day that will mark the change in seasons. I inched from work to home, from the place where I am pastor to the place where I am Meta and Mama. 

I get 50 blocks every morning to become entirely ready. And 50 blocks each evening. It is good time set apart to lament, mourn, and weep.

But not only that. It is also for the lights in the darkness. It is time for the water that covers me, changing the seasons and moving me toward the next step.

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