I have a problem with cell phones and water.
I have lost one in the ocean and also dropped the replacement twice into a small body of water (enough said)!
The first phone resides with the fishes and the second phone was saved once by rice and this last time…it proved to be beyond the call of duty.
I didn’t have a phone for a couple of weeks and I hate to admit that I felt a bit lost…disconnected. Courtney suggested I try my SIM card in a very old cell phone of hers and see if it would work while I decided what I wanted to do. I am a bit of a creature of habit and I wanted my old phone which doesn’t seem to exist anymore…
The card works in her phone but the weird thing is that it shows all her information…her phone list and any calls or texts that I receive come up as one of her pet names for that person or as just a number…this has made it quite difficult to figure out who is texting or calling me.
You might ask why I haven’t gotten a new phone?
Frankly, I have gotten used to not really having a phone…in fact, most of the time, I forget to even bring it with me…it is like going back to life pre-cell phones.
A friend recently asked if I had gotten her text and I said no and realized that I had no idea where my phone even was…a very new concept.
We have lived in our home for 17 years and during the last ten or so, we have had wall of ivy growing between our driveway leading to the backyard and our neighbor’s yard. The previous neighbor and I would play the game of poke the ivy through the fence to help it make some organic privacy.
Our new neighbors have been next to us for about 4 years and the ivy has been a frequent topic of discussion. Although they do not need to include us in any decisions, they have been really thoughtful and considerate and we knew the day would come when they would take away the ivy to make way for a cedar fence. That knock came this week and Monday is ivy pulling day.
Maybe it’s because I am just a bit above 5 feet that 6 feet of ivy seems like a wonderful fortress…but it does…I think of all my frequent trips to the front yard carrying water and somehow it seemed a bit romantic…like despite the true condition of my yard…when I pass these tendrils of ivy that once slept, then crept and then really lept…I became part of The Secret Garden…alright, maybe I need to examine my fantasy life.
Life can be all about attachments and borders.
Over the last 6 months, there has been an issue that has found Carl and me on opposite sides of the proverbial fence. It is something that truly has never happened in our marriage at least to the extent where neither one of us has budged…it’s just been plain weird.
It’s a big deal because it involves parenting.
I will be direct…I felt that I was right…have you ever been sitting in that chair?
God told me in no uncertain words but with heaps of tenderness…Hands off!
I sat with that awhile and accepted that position.
God reminded later that “hands off” means that I don’t get to do anything to show that I still think I am right.
I don’t get to use non-verbal cues…use your imagination…
I don’t get to give my opinions.
I don’t get to do anything but keep my hands off.
Again I will be direct and say that I did feel a bit wounded.
But as the days and weeks have stretched out behind and before me, strangely I have felt a newfound peace and surprisingly forgetfulness.
So what do a cell phone, some ivy and a lesson in hands off have in common?
In my world, they connect and hopefully I will be able to connect the dots for you as well.
I have been learning over the last year or more what it means to hold things loosely…I think it goes hand in hand (no pun intended) with being present.
It has seemed perfect that I have been led to spend time reading and re-reading the book of Colossians because contained in it is what keeping our hands loose is all about:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3: 1-4
I think holding our hands loosely involves:
- Setting our hearts on things above
- Setting our minds on things above…not earthly things
- Living a life that is hidden by Christ
- Christ being your whole life
A cell phone, some foliage, a desire to be right are all attachments and borders of my life.
I don’t want things to change…
I want to be in control…
I want to call the shots…I want my opinions heard…
A borrowed phone is much like the borrowed life that I live on this earth.
My borrowed phone works but the inner workings belong to the old user. The phone doesn’t recognize the new workings.
I can live in my borrowed body and continue to operate the same way as I used to before I knew Him. It is now up to me to live a life that is hidden by Christ…surrendered to the new workings.
Each time I choose to live according to the Spirit instead of the flesh it is like I insert the new SIM card and that old phone becomes new…recognizing a new and good voice….a new and better way.
Sometimes ivy needs to be pulled to make way for new landscape.
As much as we love the way it looks, God may say that it is time for a change…the borders may still be the same or they may expanded…but it is time to tear down so that something different can be put in its place.
I am reminded of Carl’s lay off so many years ago…it was highly unlikely that he would have left of his own choosing but God ripped him out…it was painful but as we see the trail, we see that it was God’s desire to change our borders and the landscape and we had no idea what a solid structure would be put in its place…no idea.
When our lives are hidden (or concealed) with Christ, our rights are gone. They are replaced with His ways.
It no longer becomes about striving to be right…straining to be heard…it becomes all about being His.
It can seem so foreign to gain freedom when we release what we think defines us but in the Lord it is the opposite. I have felt peace and contentment like never before. Somehow it has finally sunk in that I live in God’s borders and He is very good at containing me within.
God has been telling me to hold loosely:
- my possessions
- my friends
- my loved ones
- my children
- my church
- my dreams
- my life
It is hard…I will admit…I am still learning day by day.
When a friend tells you they are moving…
When a dream seems to be obscured from sight…
When a loved one goes home…
When a child chooses a different path…
When life looks different from what you envisioned…
Christ says loosen your grip…
hide your very life and all that it encompasses in Me…
set your mind on Me…
your heart will follow and be set as well.
Remember…I am your life…not all that other stuff…I am your life.
Just like balloons released into the air…the higher they ascend, the smaller they become.
As we release our lives fully to Christ…the smaller we become…but the bigger He becomes in us.
Gone are the days of white knuckles…let the Blood flow freely and live a palms up existence.