Monday, January 14, 2008

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Last week I wrote a post entitled, "Making Room," and the next day posted a response from Ellen Fox. We received an email from a fellow writer, Magda Wills, which I asked to be able to share. Here it is--with some thoughts to reflect on. Thanks Magda!

Dear Belinda and Ellen,
The struggle with BUSYNESS is a difficult one for the world presents so many challenges and yet Christ wants us to come away in silence with Him. How do we manage it all?

The scripture passage I have been reflecting on for the last week is from Matthew 11, The Message:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I love the words unforced rhythms of grace. What does He mean by that? Is amazing grace the reality that the battle is the Lord's, not ours?

I don't have answers for you or for anyone else. I believe the solution is found in spending more time listening to God, to discern His will and He will guide you. When I look back on my life He used poor health a number of times to bring me to a halt. And the most direct communication I ever had from God was the day He told me to quit work in spite of the consequences. There are no easy solutions and God has a different plan for each one of us. The important thing is for us to listen more and speak less in our prayers.

When I left my positions as Social Services Consultant with a Christian organization, I heard God say I was to sit by the well and He would bring people to me, just like He sat by the well when the woman came to Him. Note the placing of this story in the bible. The Pharisees were busy conducting their outcome evaluation by counting the number of baptisms by John and Jesus' disciples. Jesus response to this program evaluation was to leave town and go sit by the well. And note that the story of Mary and Martha follows the story of the Good Samaritan. Were the religious leaders who passed by the Samaritan living busy lives like Martha? One of a number of reasons I left social services consulting was because I no longer believe in the world's process of program evaluation and yet that was my specialty and what I was hired to do. So much of my work was what the Pharisees were doing - counting outcomes.

When I quit work I thought I would be doing some independent consulting, I had the expertise but God had other plans. The name of my husband’s and my company was Chartwell Consulting, Note that I heard God say I should sit by the "well". I thought this meant Chartwell, working from home. Instead, my marriage ended and I am no longer associated with Chartwell Consulting. But God always has a surprise for us. The lovely home God found for me here in Newmarket is the Chartwell Model and so I am living in Chartwell. I am not working from home but my life at home is my work.
My former counsellor/spiritual director believes my dreams are part of my spiritual gifts and that someday God will show me how He wants me to use them. One of the central themes in my dreams is the issue of busyness with some incredible metaphors.

May God grant you the wisdom and discernment to find the answer you are looking for.



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