What is mine to do? What is yours? I am a worker; I have always been a worker; I barely take time for personal needs when intent on any project, creative or domestic; weeding, planting, cleaning, cooking, decorating, writing, I stay on task like nobody’s business.
I am not good at delegating; I regard my efforts as superior; I don’t like interruptions; I don’t like direction; I don’t want interlopers in my workspace territory. Uh, doesn’t sound like I’m a pleasant person to be around! That’s not true; but, I have never been a team player; I am a one-woman show.
Well, let’s look at it this way; I taught school for thirty-seven years. My world was inside the four walls of my classroom; I was queen of my territory; there was no king. My subjects I truly loved and enjoyed; they knew how my world worked, what their responsibilities were, and the expected outcomes were to be accomplished on my time schedule; their work to be evaluated by me and me alone. This is sounding worse.
It is hard work being perfect. It is hard on me, my family, my co-workers, my friends. I can’t say I don’t want to be perfect; I do want to be perfect. But it is exhausting. It is also impossible. I set myself up for constant self-recrimination, self-criticism, self-punishment, self-assessment, all sounds self-ish doesn’t it!
I am shocked! I would never have said I was selfish. I am generous with my time, talents, and counsel. Hmmm … counsel … wonder if that’s appreciated. It smacks of, “Why don’t you try it my way!” My time, talents, mine … mine … mine … not yours … mine; maybe there’s a better way; maybe someone could actually achieve different and better results. I am not liking what I am seeing as my fingers hit the keyboard and these letters, these words, these sentences throw truth in my face. It is not pleasant nor is it pretty.
Dear Lord, forgive me for even thinking my way is the only way! No wonder I haven’t followed You well; I have been so busy setting off with my own map, with my own agenda, with my own supplies, with my own compass; I am miserably lost and don’t even know it! My family, my friends, my co-workers know I am lost; why don’t they tell me?
Uh … that’s it … they know I won’t listen.
Why do You stay with me, Dear Lord, when You know I am hell-bent on my way? I am unbelievably convicted; I am totally unworthy; I am in dangerous territory. Dear Heavenly Father, You have patience with me I don’t even have with myself and definitely don’t have with others. I see; I understand; I realize; I don’t know how to change. Help me!
Psalm 139:23-24 The Message
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
2 Peter 3:8-9 The Message
Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.
Psalm 103:1-5 The Message
O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
I was in four separate local productions of Godspell. One of the songs is based on the following hymn.
Turn Back, O Man, Forswear Thy Foolish Ways
Words: Clifford Bax, 1919.
Music: “Old 124th,” Genevan Psalter, 1551
Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.
old now is earth, and none may count her days.
yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,
still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim,
“Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.”
Earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.
age after age their tragic empires rise,
built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:
would man but wake from out his haunted sleep,
earth might be fair and all men glad and wise.
Earth shall be fair, and all her people one:
nor till that hour shall God’s whole will be done.
Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,
peals forth in joy man’s old undaunted cry:
“Earth shall be fair and all her folk be one!”
Territory: land under the jurisdiction of a ruler or state; an area defended by an animal or group of animals; an area defended by a team or player; an area in which one has certain rights or for which one has responsibility; land with a specified characteristic; an organized division of a country not yet admitted to the full rights of a state; an area of knowledge, activity, or experience.