I recently grabbed a copy of Fr. Larry Richards book Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will. One of my goals in this year is to focus on letting go of the things I cannot control in order to allow God to move more clearly in my life. In general, I tend to get in His way and I thought I could use a little help in the surrender department.
I haven’t finished the book yet because I’ve been taking my time in order to let each message sink in. Have you ever picked up a book and highlighter thinking, “Okay, I’ll highlight the really good stuff so I can go back and review it”, only to realize that you’re highlighting most of the book? Well, this is one of those books.
Every page has a relevant message, but I wasn’t prepared for the neon sign on page 42. I was reading along when this quote from Dorothy Day hit me hard: “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” Really? “Let me re-read that,” I thought to myself. Yep. That was the quote; no typos, errors, or misinterpretations. As I read that line again I instantly began to think of all the people who get on my nerves, all the ones I don’t enjoy being around, and all the people who have hurt me.
The list of people in my mind was stacking up, and that’s when I thought of the disposition of my heart and my attitude toward each of them. The truth is, once I made that assessment, I began to realize that my love meter for God isn’t as strong as I once thought. The reality of it was like a mirror to my soul. And God sees all of it, knows all of it. Oh man.
I can’t say that I had an instant transformation after that day and that I now feel roses and sunshine toward the people on that list. What has happened is that I have a heightened awareness of my overall attitude when it comes to loving my neighbor. I’ll have a moment when I’m really aggravated with someone. My aggravation will start to get the best of me and then I’ll remember that quote. It’s like a bee sting to my soul; a little reminder that loving God isn’t about the easy moments but the really hard ones.
So I’ve made a decision. This year as part of my effort to more completely surrender to God’s will, I’m also surrendering my preconceived notions and feelings toward the people in my life who I find more difficult to love. I’m asking God to help me see them as He sees them. Maybe by this time next year my love meter for God will be a little stronger.
Sarah is a proud wife, and mother to three little ones. She writes about her domestic adventures and attempts to more completely surrender to God’s will in her life at The Happy, Resourceful Home.