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Thursday, March 10, 2016

These Are My Offerings

I'm sitting at my kitchen table with papers and charts and diet Coke cans and phone numbers and all manner of things that need to be contemplated and figured out. Things that need to be checked off and filed, scanned and emailed. I've got To Do Lists for my To Do Lists. I've got a Prayer List overflowing with names of those of us who need His grace, His peace and in some cases, His miracles. The tasks I need to accomplish are in regard to both mundane things and exciting things. The prayers I need to pray are both monumentally important and as simplistic as "Dear, sweet Lord, please let there be enough ziploc bags left in the pantry for lunch tomorrow because I simply will fall down dead if I have to go to the grocery store again."

So all that to say, I have not blogged this week. And there is nothing more insufferable than hearing, "Oh, I've been way too busy. Just crazy busy. There's just so much on my plate. Blah, blah, blah."

The reality is that there has been a lot going on in my world and in the worlds of many of my friends and family. Some good things that take a lot of attention and some scary things that take a lot of prayer. Unfortunately, some stories are not mine to tell. Some of the pleadings of my heart certainly could warrant a call for a chorus of believers to storm heaven, and yet they can only be whispered in quiet moments in the dark of the morning. And the rest of the thoughts and words and worries that muddle my brain? Well, they would probably bore you to tears.

So, I do not have time to write today. I did not have time to write yesterday or the day before, but my head pounds with a need to just spill words on a blank space.

And I am certain that this is what's happening in the world of many who are reading this post. We don't take time to do the things that God has given us to make us feel unique and whole. The things that fill us up, that give us courage, that make us fully ourselves. These are the things He gives us which are like the oxygen mask on the airplane. Instead, we spend the day checking off lists and letting that voice in our heads berate us throughout the day.

You are too busy. There are too many people counting on you. You've taken on too many responsibilities. And  by the way, you are not adequate for any of this. You are terrible at decision making. You cannot possibly be of help to that person. Someone else would be better at that. 

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I guess I'll go eat worms, right?

So early this week, as that voice grew louder and louder, after I had given a teary apology to my husband for my horrendous attitude lately, I laced up my long-neglected Nikes, turned up my music and ran more miles at once than I probably have all winter.

While I ran, I released that voice in my head to God. I asked him why He has given me so many responsibilities when I can't seem to muster up the courage or the motivation or the skill to handle them. I told him that I had nothing of substance to offer to the people He has put in my life. I wondered if He really had chosen me for certain things, for certain people and for certain causes. I wondered why I hadn't been able to be the wife I needed to be or the mom or friend or volunteer or advocate or dog owner I needed to be. My voice cried out to him, "Hey, God, I have nothing to offer. I have nothing left to give. I have no good plan, no good answer. I can't do any of this, much less all of it."

And then he sent me this song from Third Day. As He does. ;-)

Magnificent, Holy Father 
I stand in awe of all I see
Of all the things you have created
Still you choose to think of me.
And who am I that you should suffer your very life to set me free?
The only thing that I can give is the life You gave to me.
This is my offering, Dear Lord.
This my offering to You, God
I will give You my life, for it's all I have to give
because you gave Your life for me.
I stand before you at this altar
So many have given you more.
I may not have much I can offer
But what I have is truly yours.
This is my offering.

The truth is that we are not capable of offering to the world anything at all on our own power. But there is One who can make us capable. We just have to find a way to push the voice that keeps us from our Creator aside and find our way to the foot of His throne in full and complete surrender of our very lives. This is, in fact, all He requires us to offer. We actually do not have the stellar organization skills or the creativity or the energy it takes to conquer our tasks all on our own. He does not expect us to have the perfect words to soothe our sad friend's heart by ourselves. He does not expect us to make the perfect dinner or to be the perfect parent. All He asks is that we simply wake up, find our way to His presence and offer the day that He granted us back to Him. He will make us into what we need to be today. He has the power. We just need to find the path to Him and ask.

There are a few ways that I know for sure that I can find my path to God. And even though I believe He is ever present, I find Him most quickly through running, music and writing. I know that if I can take the time for these things, I can find answers to even the silliest of questions. And if I don't find answers, I at least find some measure of peace.

What are those things for you? What are those things that bring you to Him? Maybe it's baking or painting or reorganizing your family room. Maybe it's ironing a load of clothes or gardening. Maybe it's walking in the woods or sitting in the quiet of your closet. Maybe it's singing or dancing or maybe it's letting tears fall down your cheeks until you feel there are no more. Whatever it is that fills you up and helps you breathe and stills your heart are the things that bring you to His presence. And when you are in His presence, offering your day to Him, offering your life, the accusing voice in your head disappears and He gives you the power to do all the rest of the work He requires of you.

Running, worship music, writing. Usually in that order. These are the ways I find my way to Him. These are the ways I surrender. These are my offerings and I am so grateful to those of you who stop by this space. What are your ways to Him? Find those paths today, friends. I think that's where He'll be walking, too.

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