Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coming In Out of the Wind

"The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up in each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments that new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. " C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I've been feeling a lot lately like my joy is completely circumstantial. When praying the 3 prayers by J.D. Grear at one point a couple of weeks ago, I caught myself on this one:
"God, Your Presence and Your approval are all I need to have joy today."

And as I was praying it I stopped because I didn't believe it... at all. Not for one second did I believe that God's Presence and Approval were the only things that I needed to have joy. What do I think I need?

Well, I felt pretty certain that my joy was dependent on peace in my relationships, not being bored at my day job, good forward movement in my career, not getting indigestion at lunch....etc. etc.

My joy was based on circumstances. My joy was (and is most of the time) not based on the knowledge that the Creator of the universe Loves me. Not on the knowledge that I have been made fearfully or wonderfully made. Not on the knowledge that each day belongs to the Lord and He has me exactly where He wants me to be in any given moment.

It's usually based on, as Lewis points out, if my expectations are being met. If my "wishes and hopes" for my day, my work, my relationships, my life are being fulfilled or dashed. Because the screaming of all my wishes, hopes, expectations and complaints are far easier to listen to than the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit that calls me near to my Lord.

But in order to believe that prayer- "God, Your Presence and Your Approval are all that I need to have joy today"- I have to shut the other voices up. I have to turn my expectations for what I want over and let each day, each moment be what God wants it to be. If my wishes and hopes for something aren't being fulfilled I have to relinquish those things and trust that God knows what I need better than I myself know.

And once I silence those voices, those expectations that lead to my frustrations, anxiety and bitterness when my day doesn't go the way I want it to, perhaps it will feel like truly, "coming in out of the wind".

God, Your Presence and Your Approval are all I need to have Joy today.
Not happiness.
Not comfort.
Not perfection in all of my circumstances.
But You are all I need to have Joy today.