Last Thursday I had my monthly meeting with my spiritual director. I shared with her about the surprising experience of my birthday and how refreshing it was in light of this challenging year. As we continued to explore this past year the word that came to mind for me was “resignation.” So much of this year has felt like I’ve given up. There are many reasons for this. Changes, changes, and more changes. I’ve moved work, home, and church. All significant shifts of life. What I’ve noticed is that so often when I’ve been hit with disappointment, instead of expressing my emotions to God, I’ve just accepted it and moved on. Except inside, I am not at peace with the disappointment. My acceptance has been a resignation, not a trust in God. It is despair. Not hope that he is working and weaving in the disappointment. Doubting that he sees or even cares.
At one point, my spiritual director asked me whether I would approach God differently today than I did this year. As I sat with that question, I saw the ways I would approach him differently, but also saw shifts and decisions I made throughout the year that I wouldn’t change. I want to approach him differently by leaning into honesty. Even though I know about desolation and suffering, it does not mean that I am at the place yet where I always truly mean “your will be done.” Yet, there were times when my feelings wouldn’t be contained and they exploded in prayer to him.
That same night I started meeting with some women to go through a book on prayer. It was one of those nights when the conversation eerily echoes all the things you’ve been wrestling through during the day. I was hit with the reality that I have not been asking boldly from God lately. I have not entered into the dangerous place of stating what I want.
At one point in the evening I mentioned how we have these two pray-ers in us. The nice, cleaned up Christian pray-er. In my mind she wears pearls and vacuums wearing heels. Her prayers are safe, concrete, and pristine. I called this pray-er neutered. (To be completely honest, I said that this pray-er’s junk had been cut off). I then went on to say that we also have a true pray-er within us. Her prayers are risky, all over the place, and messy. I want to unleash that pray-er. She is crying out the true prayers of my heart. However, when I let that pray-er do her thing, I enter into the scary world of risk. And it completely flies in the face of resignation.
Risk terrifies me.
Because when I risk, there is no guarantee. I might be disappointed. I might fall. I might end up just where I started. Risking feels like living life outside of my control. Yet, I truly do not control my life. Ultimately.
To play devil’s advocate (to myself), risk also could mean a life different than I imagined. I might be surprised. I might soar. I might end up on the other side of the world. Risking opens me up to life beyond my control, into the hands of God, who’s vision and imagination is infinitely more expansive than mine will ever be.
As I sit with the possibility of this upcoming year I am hit with the decision of resignation or risk. As I drove home last night, I chose risk. I don’t know all that will hold for me. I fear risk, but resignation doesn’t work. I am over resigning.
How are you stepping into risk today with God?