Spiritual Discipline, Self Reflection

This morning I sat down to crack open my brand new Storyline workbook by Donald Miller. I breathed in paper and ink and pulled out my sharpie pen. I read, I underlined, I Instagrammed. I was moved by the intention of the entire process - it's clearly something I've been wanting and needing to do for a while.

And then I landed on these two lines: "When people plan their stories around themselves, they come to the end and realize their stories were empty. They realize they weren't the sun and when they forced the world to revolve around themselves, they had no capacity to bring life to those they loved."

Drop the mic. Or the sharpie pen.

I was caught in a completely hushed moment. My own heart, and all the yuck that has been stirring up in me for quite some time came rushing to the surface. And then there it was. Just sitting there. In a holy place. I felt like Moses. Something inanimate was speaking to me. I'm just here, minding my own business, furthering my spiritual and emotional health, and suddenly this page is on fire. Suddenly there are tears in my eyes and I'm whispering broken things to Jesus because I see my heart exposed on paper. I'm remembering old wounds that came from someone else who needed to be the sun, but had no life to offer me. I'm remembering just this morning when I was so angry with Joe because he keeps losing things like Daisy's ballet shoes.

I'm a control freak. No one needs to tell me - I'm totally aware. I make my world safe by controlling everything I can get my fingers around. Over the past year I've had some healing in that area and I've worked really hard to have some freaking humility. I've pried my own fingers off of circumstances and other people's patterns of behavior. I've worked so dang hard to STOP CONTROLLING ALL THE THINGS. Lord have mercy. Aint nobody got time for my need to perfectly align everything.

So this morning, as I was struck by the sharp realization that there is much more work to do, I crawled into a space of personal reflection. This is where we sit with our gunk for a while. We acknowledge it. We let it be. We turn it over in our hands and we study its roots and origins. We consider it's lines and scars. We let it burn if it must, but we eventually must come to a moment of gently releasing it. The practice of personal reflection has to draw us into the practice of relinquishment. And relinquishment is where we stop living with the gunk; where we start embracing the holy.

You are invited to the desert, friend. You are invited to a wide open space with a single burning bush in front of you; to holy ground and that desperate, tearful acknowledgement that you are, in fact, still a mess. There will never be growth without personal reflection. There will never be healing without sitting in that holy space, completely wrecked for a little while. Movement happens when we are capable of freely relinquishing, and relinquishment doesn't happen without reflection.

So, come to dry ground today. Come away from distraction and pride. Come away with Jesus, into the desert of your heart. Come humbly. Come like David with this prayer on your lips:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
[Psalm 139: 23, 24]

*What about you, friend? Have you found yourself in a space of personal reflection? 

 *September 2013