Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Praise Him in the Storm

The blog has been a little dormant these past few months. It seems like I have torrents of inspiration, and then stagnation. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

In reality, it isn't so much that the writing is stagnant, but rather my spirit and my vision. I am inspired to write, but when I finally sit in front of the screen, exhaustion hits and the mind goes blank. It seems as though what I was dying to write earlier in the day or week just doesn't seem important. In the midst of the chaos and crazy that is my life, how could I possibly contribute anything worthwhile? There are so many bigger blogs, so many better writers, so many more talented artists, so many more fun and wise mamas...what I was going to say just pales by comparison.

By comparison. The death of the creative spirit. The death of the soul flying to God. The constant thorn in my side despite the knowledge that the measuring stick is poison to the soul against anyone other than Christ. Couple that with a dash of perfectionism, and it leads to sudden death of any spontaneous creativity by over-examination. If the words don't flow with just the right rhythm and cadence, if the phrases don't dance across the screen with just the right blend of humor and depth, if the response is not immediate and gargantuan - forget about it! I mean, that's what Jesus said, right? 

Cue Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (We are called to be faithful, not successful.) and Jesus with St. Peter (What is it to you what I ask of him? Follow me!). These are paraphrased of course, but the two sentiments get at the heart of what often obstructs my vision. I should probably have these plastered all over the house, or at least those places that are visible as I create. At the end of the day, it isn't about anything else but faithfulness and following the voice of the Lord - not when it comes to the creative spirit, and not when it comes to prayer.

Yeah, it's my stumbling block with prayer too. I can't find the "perfect" fit? I just give up. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yet again, it is just about getting up and starting again, over and over, submitting ourselves to His mercy and grace. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll notice that a few weeks ago I started taking the toddler with me to pray before the tabernacle for a few minutes each day we pick up Gia from pre-school. It's only a few minutes, but it is a few minutes with Jesus. Jesus is waiting there for us, whether Jude is quiet or not. He is waiting whether I am distracted or not. He is waiting just to be with me. How could I make it simpler than that? He isn't waiting for the perfect time when my attention is focused and life is still. He waits for me in the storms and chaos of life so He can still my heart and make it His. 

So we go. With a busy, noisy toddler, we go. Not everyone appreciates it, but we go. Today, I took Jude with me to a Sacrament Double Header. I went to reconciliation and he came with me. He's young enough that I'm guessing he won't reveal the secrets of the confessional! He wasn't still. He wasn't quiet. You know what? Grace and mercy still showed up, because Jesus comes to us anywhere at anytime. The priest was great too and just kept on going even when I was clearly trying to wrangle the toddler. We come as we are to be wiped clean. What a blessing! (Be sure to thank the pastors who make it easy to show up for Jesus with kids in tow as they are too.)

From there I headed back to our parish for an appointment with our priest to receive the Sacrament of Anointing...noisy and active toddler in tow. He wanted to go say hi to Jesus first in all the usual places - the crucifix, the tabernacle, the statue. Instead, we found our priest and headed toward the anointing oils, which are right by the baptismal font. So Father anointed me as Jude splashed in the holy water. He wasn't still. He wasn't quiet. Grace and mercy still showed up, and I got a double blessing of holy water from a slightly wet two year old, who then wanted to head up to the altar to kneel before Jesus. And then the tabernacle. And then the statue with candles. (After sitting down in the main aisle and trying to fill his pants as he blessed himself with the sign of the cross. Father was pretty amused by that one.)

So it goes. It isn't about waiting for the perfect time with the perfect offering. It is simply making the offering with an open heart, willing to follow. Every morning, it is asking Jesus He wants from me that day. It is the practice of knowing my desires and handing them over to Jesus who will perfect them according to His will for His purpose and glory. It is asking for His help to be present, to be attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to respond when He asks me to act...or not to act. This is not something I can do alone. This is not a discipline that will develop overnight. My hope is that with constant reminders to start anew and surrender myself, that I will grow in my ability to set aside those measures of comparison and keep my eyes focused on Jesus and His desires and plans for me. I pray that with practice, I will more joyfully respond when Christ asks me to be a gift or blessing to another, whether friend, family, or stranger, even when it is inconvenient. Maybe with time, I will come to recognize every moment as an opportunity to honor and praise God...even (and especially) in the storm.

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  1. Lovely post Rakhi. Thank you for being so open about your struggles. It can be hard in a world filled with so many talented writers to feel like there is a place for you at all, but as you said, if this is something God is calling us to do, then He has a reason, and His purpose will be fulfilled. I can also relate to the toddler who wants to run around and explore at less than ideal times (I have a 4 year old and 2 year old... both boys), but I think it's great that you're not letting that stop you.

  2. Yes, faithfulness and following the voice of the Lord. Very true!
    Beautiful post, Rakhi. I love reading your posts. They always inspire me. :)