20 May 2009

The Land of Beginning Again

I wish that there were some wonderful place
called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
and all of our selfish grief

Could be dropped like a shabby old coat by the door

And never be put on again.

~Louise Fletcher

God is a god of New Beginnings.

I’ve heard that all my life.

Everywhere I go, every church I’ve engaged, every sermon I’ve heard has – in some way – been a call to start over. To pick up the old me and turn it around. To start from scratch. To commit again. To renew my life of faith.

And I hardly ever do it.

Scriptures tell us that God’s mercies are new every morning. I take that to mean that God starts all over with us every day. Every day the old stuff is gone and God offers new mercy to us.

If the Creator of the Universe can start over every day, why is it so hard for me?

I know the obvious answer: I’m human. I am stuck in the rut of my own life. To quote a friend, I look up to my God every day and say, “God, where were you when I got myself into this ditch?” And God looks at me and smiles - the way a parent always does when a child asks a ridiculous question - and says, “I was right here. Give me your hand and I’ll help you out.” “No,” I say, “It’s too hard. I don’t like it here, but I’ll just stay anyway.” “Ok, well, when you’re ready to listen, I’ll be here to help.”

I’ve said these things to countless kids. I know the defiance of a child. But what is so ridiculous about my adult life of faith is that I want what God offers! I’m just too stubborn to do a single darn thing about it.

When I think about my life, I realize that my opportunities for new life, for new beginning, occur approximately 418 times a day. Every time I get frustrated, I can choose – will I respond with Christ-likeness or will I not? Every time I am hurt or sad, I choose – will I respond with mercy or vengeance? As I sit on the threshold of some obvious new beginnings, I forget to remember the little ones. As I pray about “the big things” in my life, the little things seem too trivial to consider with God – I’ll figure those out myself. But the more I make the time to pray, the more I hear God calling me to pray. “Choose me, Erin,” God says. “I will be there on the little stuff days, too. Wouldn’t your life be easier if you’d just let me help you?”

I want to be the best Erin I was created to be. Unlike that stubborn child, I want to live my life in submission to my Parent. I know I can’t do this on my own. I know I need God’s hand. I want God’s hand. But I have yet to slow down enough to ask. In all of my racing around to be a good woman, a good friend, a good sister, a good daughter, a good minister, I have neglected to be a good child of the King. And that doesn’t take much.

“Just take my hand.”

It seems the easiest of new beginnings are always the hardest.


Joan Davis said...

Erin, I'm glad you posted this. I love it. It's a constant battle for me to take every thing, all my little cares to God. If even my husband doesn't want to hear about them why should anyone else? Who am I to bother the God of the Universe with my junk? Great reminder!

Erin McPhee said...

Amen. I think we all silently struggle with them, and you put it into wonderful, eloquent, truth filled words! I am so proud to be your friend :)

Greta Jo said...

Amen Sister! I am right there with you. Praise God for your post. If you take his right hand I will take his left hand and we can walk together as we did in Guatemala.
Love you!