The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11
Today I remember that I have only one choice to make; and that choice is God. My mind has been everywhere and nowhere lately. It is like a two-year-old, toddling all about, easily distracted, and always on the verge of landing in trouble. Where is that deep space of contemplation that I was so looking forward to for Lent? I scour the internet and my vast collection of books searching for inspiration from the many available devotionals, yet I before I am able to focus on anything, I am distracted by something else. I am all over the place, searching for one meditation to ground me, but unable to make a single selection. It’s like trying to choose from a menu at a Chinese Restaurant; which usually has so many choices I wind up baffled and always end up ordering enough food to carry me through three days.
What is this love affair that our culture has going on with choices? It’s like more choices represents more freedom, but in a lot of ways more choices represents more enslavement. There is so much to choose from that by the time we make our selection it is too late – technology has cleared out all of the choices and added new ones. So we respond by making far too many selections of things we don’t really want or need, but that we don’t want to lose out on either. Then our piles of stuff grow, our stress levels rise, and we become slaves to the stuff we have that we don’t want as well as the new stuff we might want, but we don’t know for sure, so we go ahead and get it before it is gone.
I was reading the other day about a Lent challenge called the Bag a Day challenge or something like that. The idea was for each day of Lent to tackle one portion of your home and fill a bag with stuff that needs to be cleared out and then give it away to Goodwill or Freecycle or whatever – just get rid of it. The goal was to clear out all of the accumulated clutter and to wind up emotionally lighter and healthier. Great idea, but I noticed that some folks had been doing it a while which led me to believe that the rest of the year they were busy purchasing the “clutter.” What kind of a spiritual practice is that?
Tomorrow I will be talking to my congregation about temptation, and perhaps all of these choices that we think we need to have in front of us are just another form of temptation. And Satan doesn’t even have to provide us with these temptations; we manage that just fine all by ourselves. All of these choices, whether they be choices of stuff, or of spiritual practices distract us from making a selection and following it through to the end. They prevent us from making the only real choice there is – God who then guides us to where God wants us to go. But when we think we have choices, we tend to think we are the ones who get to decide which direction we want to go and that God is the ultimate grand prize waiting for us at the end. So today and every day there is only one choice for me – God, and wherever I go from there will be up to God.