As you recite this prayer recently shared with me… Draw each phrase into your heart… pray to be free of what keeps you from pleasing God more.
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
– Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”
~Accepting versus Giving Up~
So we have come to a point…is it acceptance or is it giving up? What a question to ponder. I think sometimes it is appropriate to use the phrase “giving up”. I have given up on the idea of acting on stage…snow skiing…deep sea diving…having my own_____…and many other things.
I have definitely given up on the thought of ever being the perfect daughter, sister, wife, mother, neighbor, or friend.
I have given up trying to please everyone in my life and living up to others expectations of me.
I have accepted what God has laid out before me right now. Accepting that God’s will for us is sometimes not what we want. God has prepared me for where I am right now. Even if I was unaware of this preparation; it was occurring as the path of my life daily unfolded.
Accepting is NOT giving up!
Giving up usually has some negative overtones. We often encourage others by admonishing them to ‘never give up’. To me, giving up can represent defeat or despair. When a person is giving up to law enforcement they raise their hands above their head, palms facing out. You may even be commanded to drop to your knees so as not to run away.
During Lent I may choose to give up those things that would represent a sacrifice to me, but when you are facing something like death you are Not giving up.
When you surrender to God your hands are raised above your head, but your palms are facing up toward heaven. At times you may prostrate yourself before Our Lord realizing that you are powerless without him.
Accepting leads us, as Christians, to surrendering to God’s will.
‘my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways My ways’, says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
Hanging on the cross Jesus cried out to his father…into your hands I commend my spirit.
Jesus found the strength to utter those words only after crying words of anguish…My God, my God why have you forsaken me? It is through dying that we are born again. Only through dying to our ‘old self’ can we be fully alive in Christ.
Lord, you alone can turn my tears into tears of joy!
Lord, only you can transform my sadness into happiness!
Lord, only you can soothe the invisible pain in my heart!
I do not know who Herman Hesse is, but his words here touched a place deep within my soul.
Some of us think holding on makes us strong,
but sometimes it is letting go.