It’s amazing to me the people I meet in my travels who all seem to complain about the same thing.
The obligations in their lives that totally bring them down.
“Oh, we’re going to see my uncle on Easter again this year. We always have such a miserable time but . . .”
“Oh, the moms at my kid’s soccer practice drive me crazy and the coach is just so rude to my boy, but . . . ”
“Oh, I signed up for another 3 year term on that community board that saps the time I’d rather spend with my friends, but . . .”
What is it with our love of self-abuse? And our inability to say no? And our falling prey to guilt trips?
I do it. You do it. We all do it.
We say yes to things that make other people happy though we growl later.
We over commit to projects because “nobody else did” and couldn’t be farther away from our true interests.
We get caught in the vicious cycle of doing the same things year after year (forgetting why we started doing that thing in the first place!)
We let people and experiences make us miserable.
But there’s an alternative, you know. I bet you’ve tried it before. And, I bet you loved yourself when you did. It’s what I call moving toward love or in the words of one of my favorite Howard Thurman quotes-
When we begin to let the priorities of our calendar reflect what we love and what makes us come alive, I believe our whole life begins to change.
Instead of filling our days with stuff that just checks stuff off the list or keeps the world spinning around (or so we think), we have the choice every day to move toward love– doing what we enjoy the most and the people we enjoy the most doing it with!
By this I don’t mean we all go out and quit our day jobs tomorrow (the bills do have to be paid), but we begin by making small choices every week in the direction of what we love. Maybe for you it’s a . . .
- A yoga class with your girlfriends
- An afternoon of golf
- A plan to start something new
- A special trip with the grandkids
- A pause to watch the sunrise
Knowing that as we make these choices, we grow closer every day toward who we are and what our lives are most to be about.
For moving toward love IS whatever brings us both joy and deeper connection to ourselves and/ or others.
Anne Lamott says it best: “I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We’re here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play.”
It take courage of course to live like this– to come alive.
NO can be an earth shattering word to people around us, especially as we begin to say potentially for the first time.
It’s hard to tell our children no.
It’s hard to tell our parents no.
It’s hard to tell our best friends no.
But in the end, what’s at stake is more than hurting someone’s feelings. It’s OUR LIFE.
It’s our life that we will one day be accountable before our Maker. So why would you and I want to waste our precious days on relationships, on projects, or on experiences that make us feel less than? Or drained? Or discouraged? Really why?
So if you’re needing someone to give you permission this week to say yes to something you LOVE and no to something you hate, let me be your pastor today.
Move toward love, my friends. Move.
It’s a great spiritual path.