Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Dead Battery and a Heart in Training

I’m sitting at my kitchen table right now. I know that means nothing to you. However, the fact is, I should be sitting at a table at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, enjoying a lively conversation with three pastor friends on the topic of one of my passions—spiritual formation. But that is not to be. You see, about an hour ago, I got in my car to leave, turned the key, and heard nothing but an irritating clicking sound coming from the starter. Evidently, the battery is dead. Bummer!

It is a bummer, probably more than seems obvious to you. Truthfully, all week, I have looked forward to today. In fact, I instigated this conversation with these particular friends because they are life-giving, interesting folks who also have a similar interest in helping people mature spiritually.

So, how do I engage with my spiritual formation right now, recognizing that it comes from the unsolicited disappointment of a dead battery rather than the energizing banter of spiritual conversation?

When I realized my plight, I sat for a moment in my car, taking in the reality that I would likely not make my meeting. In the past, stuff like this would have thrown me into a tizzy. I would have welled with anger and irritation, kicked it into high gear to solve my problem, to remove the obstacle impeding my goal, and likely been on my merry way. Or not. This time was different.

I knew intuitively that I was being invited by God to surrender to this blocked goal and turn to him in it. Wasting my energy in a fury of frustrated emotions would hardly accomplish anything. So I sat, swallowed hard and prayed something like, “It's okay, God. I know I will find you in this.”

Please don't hear this as the confessions of a self-promoting saint. In some ways, I am rather surprised. This reaction is very different from my old patterns of responding to disappointing mishaps. Though I feel sad and let down, I can tell that God is changing my heart. I am being trained by him to live into each moment, no matter what unfolds, and surrender to the transforming power of it. I know that this is where real spiritual formation takes place.

So, now I am contemplating what I want for lunch. Kind of bummed that I have to make it for myself. But, oh well, I have some leftover pot roast that will do.

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