Today is one of those days for me. How about you? First, let me clarify what I mean by “one of those days.” One of those days where . . .
- the “do list” dictates my day, but yet is filled with things I am less than thrilled about doing
- I start a million things, but finish none (at least not to my own satisfaction)
- I question everything
- My emotions seem to be the strongest thing about me
- Focusing on one thing . . . wait I have to do this first, wait let me just finish, wait I forget . . . focus, what was I doing again?
- the internet goes down 43 times in one 12 hour period, and I “need” it to work
- I catch myself gazing off into space while twirling my hair at least 25 times before noon
Are you starting to get a visual? This would be what I refer to as the “weight of the world”. Why? Because it is one of those days where I have put the weight of the world on my own shoulders without realizing that no one has asked me to do so – not to mention that it is physically, emotionally, and spiritually impossible for me to carry the weight of the entire world! (insert laughter at myself here)
The only person ever challenged to carry the weight of the world was Jesus – is Jesus. And of course by weight, I mean sin of the world. And I think I have it hard?!?!?!?!
Now wait, don’t worry I am not about to compare myself, or anyone else, to Jesus. Nor am I about to suggest that we should do so. But I am going to acknowledge that in these moments where I am tempted to spiral out of control (aka: freak out because the internet went down or pretend like the 150 emails I must read and write today will make or break me) I can, and today I WILL, choose to laugh at myself, cut myself some slack, and most importantly remember that there are bigger and more important problems in the world than how I will fit everything I want to fit into today, into today. I might even be able to let go of some of it until tomorrow (crazy right?!?!)
The Gospel of Luke (chapter 6:20-26) addresses the Beatitudes of Jesus, you know the right attitude “to be”, where Jesus pierces to the heart of human values and ultimately forces us to ask the basic questions we find so easy to ignore: What is life all about for me? What moves me? What determines my happiness? What guides my choices? What makes me glad or sad? Am I controlled by my needs and wants, pleasures or desires? Or am I satisfied, and content with what I have? The answer to this lies in the stark contrast between what Jesus identifies as “blessing” & “woe”.
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.”
What I understand from this Scripture is that blessing might not be defined as we think, or at least maybe not as we are accustomed to as defined by the world. But instead, we might be overlooking the blessing because we are so focused on the things that do not matter in the long run – that we have lost track of what really matters, and more importantly what truly brings us joy and peace. We have created our own “weight of the world” and then attempted to carry it on our own (No, not you, just me?).
“To do lists” can be a good thing, at least for me – they can help organize and accomplish things. But when they dictate my happiness or my measure of success (even for one day) maybe they have become something negative.
What makes me sad or glad? I am pretty certain that if the answer to this lies in our daily lists or tasks that, unfortunately, we will all too often fall short of true joy – we will miss the boat. And instead of realizing the weight of the world is already handled, we will take it ALL on ourselves and lose sight of what really matters.
So as I continue along on my venture to learn the balance of life, to figure it all out, to make sure I wear the right hat in the right place at the right time, I realize an essential step is to first remember what matters (and possibly reminding myself of this on a daily basis for awhile). Because there is no doubt in my mind that what matters is what determines my state of mind for the day. And that the “perfect balance” I am seeking comes in first having the perfect center (Jesus – but you got that, right?).
A perfect internet connection, my to do list, my emails, my ability to focus on a task – all important. But am I willing to let them qualify as the things that matter most? Certainly not! So why am I willing to let them spiral me out of control? I have so much more to focus on – my daughter, my husband, my family, my friends . . . Jesus. One commentator of Luke paraphrases the Beatitudes in this way, ” Jesus said, ‘How miserable are you! You might better be hungry, poor, weeping, and hated. For then at least you might turn these empty things to Me, to find out what life is really all about.”
So go ahead, I invite you, urge you, beg you even , to join me in turning over the empty things to Jesus. The things that spiral me out of control, that tempt me towards worry or stress, the things that pull my focus away from what is important – I am handing them over. Not because they do not matter at all, but because they do not matter the most.