I’m supposed to be writing, but I’m just standing in my office, surrounded by piles of stuff. Books, instead of being nestled snugly into place on the shelf lay haphazardly on the floor. Piles of papers that were once necessary action items are now ugly reminders that I’m behind on everything. An empty camera bag that I don’t need sits forlornly on top of a basket of cords and who knows what else. I usually avoid this space because it makes me uncomfortable. I sink into the swiveling office chair and slowly scan the room. All these items are shouting at me, telling me I’m not good enough. I’m lazy. I don’t deserve such a nice home or 90 square feet of space to call my own. I see rough mountains of junk and think to myself, “Don’t you want a nice tidy space? Don’t you want to be able to enjoy a project in there? Don't you want to pay a bill quickly without having to search for 10 minutes for a pen or to move piles just to find the space to write a check?”
And my answer was classic.
Yes, I want those things but I don’t have the time to work on it now. Yes, but I really don't know where many of these items go. Yes, but I don’t have the proper storage yet. Yes, but the kids will just mess it up as soon as I get it done. Yes, but before I start cleaning, I need to make a decision about how the room should look when I'm done. Yes, but I need a babysitter for a weekend to tackle a project like this. Yes, but I can’t get rid of those half empty packages of specialty paper because I might need them again. Yes, but I need to work on the laundry, it is more important right now.
I really WOULD like a tidy office, so why do I put off the task of making it nice? I’m avoiding the cleanup because I’m avoiding CHANGE. I’m avoiding making decisions about what to keep and what to toss. I’m worried that it’ll be too hard to decide what to keep. And worst of all, what if I don’t like how I’ve arranged my shiny new space?
This is exactly how I often respond to God when He calls me.
When asked to create this space online I said yes, but I’m not good enough. Yes, Lord, I want to, but I can’t because I’m not equipped. Yes, but there are a million people in the world who can and are doing this very thing you want better than I ever could, why don’t you ask one of them? Yes, but not right now. Yes, but that sounds scary and hard and what if I fail? Yes, but I don’t like change so show me how you can keep my life exactly the same and still let me accomplish your will. Sound familiar?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told God yes, but… How many times have I locked myself into the upper room, like the disciples, scared to death of meeting some horrible or humiliating fate if I followed God’s plans?
I’m in a lovely study group with some amazing moms from my parish. At a recent meeting we were asked how we experienced the Holy Spirit. Was it like the fire in the upper room? A rush of wind? Or a tiny breath? I responded, “The Holy Spirit usually just slaps me in the face repeatedly.” Only now, I realize I am the one doing the slapping. The Holy Spirit has gently breathed on me and I use the guilt I feel over my disobedience as a battering ram. He sends loving reminders in the form of kind friends saying just the right words and I beat myself up because I am still saying “Yes, but….”
Instead of walking out of the room and soothing myself with some mindless social media scrolling I prayed.
“Come Holy Spirit”
And guess what? He showed up. He provided. I stepped out of that muggy upper room and let the Holy Spirit do the talking and my fingers do the typing. How liberating it is when I don’t have to make all the decisions. I’ll probably fall. I’m still scared that I don’t have everything figured out. Growing is usually painful, but I can be confident that I won’t be alone and that he is leading me to a place that will be better than any I could have imagined on my own.
Are you stuck in the upper room? Just ask for that little breath to guide you.
Come Holy Spirit.