loose ends, poker chips, and prayer

Yeah.  Tonight I’m feeling un-peaceful.  You know, that bit I wrote about being unable to be a peaceful, non-praying person?  Tonight’s post will reflect back to a previous post at a few different turns…think poker chips later on, too.

It’s funny how it comes on at different (annoyingly unexpected!) times, the reminders that God’s got some loose ends for me to deal with.  One quite obvious loose end, spiritually speaking, could be some sort of closure or acceptance for this discernment process I’ve entered.  Move ahead?  Quit?  Continue to keep exploring quietly and simply be okay with that wait-n-see stance?

The most obvious loose ends are not always the the ones in most need of tying up, as I’m sure you’ve experienced!  Sometimes they hide, tucked unobtrusively inside a fold of clothing, only to come loose and tickle you as if out of nowhere, and you realize to your discomfort, both physical and psychological, you have nowhere to adjust and itch discreetly.  You have nowhere to hide.

It’s like that with God and me.  I neglect prayer, and attentiveness to the gentle movings of the Spirit in my life.  Or what’s worse in a certain way… I”ll actively stuff, jampack my life with wonderful, godly activities and whether consciously and knowingly, or unconsciously and innocently sabotage any attempts by a mere GOD to break in to my consciousness!  Harumph! (um, that was intentional tongue-in-cheek, if you don’t know me well!)

Well, until that is, a loose end simply refuses to be kept subtly and unassumingly tucked in to the folds of my other clothing.

Where was I when my loose end came out?  At my daughter’s swimming lesson.  My to-do list contains a line item to mail the bishop an update on my discernment.  But that’s the shorty loose end that ANY fool can see and clip if they simply get out the clipper.  It doesn’t tickle.  It doesn’t make you squirm. (well, not THAT much anyway!)

So, no.  It’s really not my loose end of the formal discernment process that God sees fit to tickle me with.  REALLY tickle me with anyway. Writing to my bishop is just one of the items on my to-do list, providing an opening of unarmored vulnerability for God to break in, and deal with the real loose ends in my soul.  And thus the (embarrassing!) tears started flowing at the pool bleachers as I’m hunched over my spiral notebook in impromptu, uninvited but in hindsight, welcome and needed prayer.

Trouble is, I don’t really know the true identity of these loose ends so I can effectively try to deal with them.  It isn’t as simple as identifying my calling, though that’s certainly part of it.  (“We’d like to hear a more articulate calling from you directly” echoes through my mind, over and over.)

It’s complicated with issues of, did I “hear” this right at all?  Was my calling simply to give myself in service right where I’m currently planted, and needs no fancy complications of hierarchical attagirl stamp of approval, discernment processes, and ordination?

It’s complicated with am I just being a great big chicken to say some things for fear of rejection, and by golly, this is God’s call and you’re a big chicken for sitting on your hinie… get with the program already?!?  Get over it!

Either of these options suggests, due to different plausible and possible interpretations of discernment, a common failure of pushing all my poker chips across the table.  It would appear I’m still clinging tenaciously to some of my chips.  The chips of looking competent and “reading the signs” “right” are among them.  The chips of a fear of hearing “you don’t want me” being uttered in my direction looms large among the chip hoard hidden in my pockets.

It would be good to point out here that these chips are with me always.  They simply have no convenient place to hide in the discernment process…but make no mistake, they are not unique to it whatsoever!  It’s so hard….so hard…

Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience with us as we battle the same demons over and over as we strive to serve you faithfully and cheerfully.  Let us walk humbly in your sight all the days you will give us, cooperating with the movements of your Spirit, seeking always to do your will.  Amen.


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