I have three passionate priorities in my life. First, to be in relationship with God during every moment I draw breath. Secondly, for God’s will in my life to be revealed by my actions, decisions, and choices. Third, that the family and community I find myself in experiences my God of compassion, mercy, and love. I keep my focus on the big obstacles, working to avoid failure.
My surgery recovery tells me that my focus is wrong. I have three mandates. Do not lift anything over ten pounds! Do not blow my nose. Do not sneeze. This should be simple, right?
In twenty-two days, I have failed twice. Not once have I succumbed to the temptation to lift, blow, or sneeze. I have been tempted, frequently, intensely. In each situation, I avoided failure. I failed by blowing in a very different place. Both times, I was simply doing the normal, mundane, and natural events of life. Tonight it was the act of filling the sauna water bucket. In the course of the ordinary, I reacted without thought. I blew my nose. In doing something natural, without thinking, just reacting, I lost sight of my priorities.
Rarely does the big stuff of life cause me to lose sight of God. It is in the ordinary that I fail. It is in the mundane that I let go of life’s highest priorities. It is in the simple act when nobody is looking and I forget to care that I abandon compassion, mercy, and love.
I am not the first to fail. In perspective, my failure like others before me does not disqualify me from opening myself up to God and the priorities. Other failures before me were also the “Witnesses [that] had been carefully handpicked by God beforehand—us! We were the ones, there to eat and drink with him after he came back from the dead.” (Acts 10.41)
You and I stand before God as Divinity’s kids. We have an open door, full access. We determine what happens next – in the ordinary events of the day.