I was on the verge of tears as I described to my spiritual director the frantic pace at which I’ve been running through my life since August. Breathlessly I spewed, “It would be hard enough if I was just doing full-time counseling work, but add to that my grad school class and homework, and chairing a church committee that has required 10+ hours per week of work and it’s no wonder I’m drained. And then I fill up my free time with busyness, too — household chores, helping my partner with his new apartment, making holiday gifts for my co-workers…”
“And the funny thing is,” I continued, “I’m handling it all. Everything is getting done. Not just on time, but early.”
My spiritual director nodded gently, but was silent in her present and compassionate way, allowing the Spirit to stir up in me what needs to be stirred.
“Sure, I’m getting everything done, but I feel spent. And I haven’t made any time for the kind of quiet listening to God that I want to. My spiritual practices have been reduced to the bare minimum.”
Softly, my spiritual director said, “Let’s take some time right now to sit quietly and listen for God.”
“Okay.” I closed my eyes and allowed my breathing to slow. “I accomplish so much, but it’s never enough for me. I’m so hard on myself”, I said out loud.
“What do you hear God saying about that?” she asked.
“He says…” I paused as tears sprang to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. “He says I’m his beloved child.” I choked out the last two words and couldn’t talk for a moment.
I continued, “There’s a song I hear on contemporary Christian radio that begins, ‘Why are you striving these days? Why are you trying to earn grace?’ I’m working so hard…as if I think I have to earn something…my boss’s respect, my teacher’s admiration, my partner’s love.”
Through sobs I said, “But here’s God telling me to stop trying so hard. I’m his beloved child. He loves me no matter what I do. His grace and love are already mine.”
“Yes”, whispered my spiritual director, “God’s grace and love are already yours.”
We sat there together as my tears subsided, me feeling God’s presence through the gentle presence of my director.
After our session, I got in my car to drive home. At the end of the driveway, I turned on the contemporary Christian radio station I listen to. The words “like a child on her knees” were the first ones I heard. New tears sprang to my eyes. It was confirmation of the insight I had during the session: I am a beloved child of God. I do not need to (and cannot) earn God’s love, mercy, or grace.
You, too, are a child of the Divine. Lean into that reality this week.
Peace, joy, and health,