Monday, May 28, 2012

Mindful Monday: Putting Down the Pieces

Mindful Monday: On Monday's I'm going to share what's been on my mind. I by no means have any of this figured out, I'm just thinking out loud here. 

I'm the kind of person who likes to solve problems, brainstorm and understand they way things work.  Logic, math and science make the most sense to me.  I enjoy a good puzzle and putting the pieces together, but sometimes in life we need to put down the pieces.  That's really hard for me.

The guest speaker at church Sunday talked about exactly what I needed to hear.  We all have our own issues and what he talked about really hit home with some stuff I'm dealing with.  I think in analogy form a lot so his analogy is what got my attention.  Without getting into too much detail I'll give you the gist of it, or at least the part that got me thinking.  It's broad enough to apply to a lot of issues so take and use what you find helpful and leave what you don't.

He had a large terra cotta planter (think orange clay flower pot) on the table along with a cardboard box. The pot had a few scratches but looked good from the outside.  Inside it was a dirty mess.  Others see us as put together, but rarely do they see the mess we are inside.  Next he opened up the box and dumped out a the shattered pieces of another pot.  The heap of pieces represents our life with sin, we're broken. What do we do about that? He gave several examples of our attempts to deal with the broken pieces, one of them being trying to put the pieces back together like a giant puzzle.  It would take a lifetime of struggle, effort and frustration trying to sort through and find the right pieces. Even if we could by our own effort put them back together the finished product still wouldn't be all that great.  Yet many of us do just that, we think if we just try hard enough or long enough we can fix ourselves.

Over and over in my life I see examples of how I want to do it myself.  I want to do things my way and solve the problem.  I think that if something isn't turning out I must not be trying hard enough.  I struggle to figure it out on my own instead of asking for help.  But my way is not always going to work.  I could spend my whole life trying to get all the pieces just right.  Or I could just ask God to fix me and admit I'm broken and can't do it myself.  That would allow me to use the rest of my life doing something useful instead of wasting time attempting to put pieces back together.

Sounds good, right? It should be simple to just ask for help then stand back and let God do all the fixing.  Although I want to step aside and put everything in his hands I still try to "help" and put pieces back together. I think my way is better or faster or I'm just stubborn and want to do it myself. In the process I end up cutting my hands on the sharp edges and making even more of a mess.  Will I ever learn?  How many times and ways and struggles before I get this through my head?  Why is it so hard for me to step back, be still and let Him be in control?  I always feel like I have to be active, working and fixing myself.  It's uncomfortable to sit still and let someone else do the work.  I know my attempts are futile, that I will just end up with more broken pieces, cuts on my hands, a bigger mess and more frustration that I've failed again.  I get stuck in this pattern of self reliance instead of allowing Him to take control.  I just need to put down the pieces.

Paul's struggle in Romans 7:15-25 was used as an example.  (I linked it to this translation since that's what was used in the sermon) I can definitely relate.
vs 15 "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead I do what I hate."
vs 18b-19 "I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway."
vs 21 "I have discovered this principle of life- that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong."

Yep. So much to think about....

Food for thought: "...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us..." Romans 5:3-5

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