Knowing My Role

24 Jan

burnoutBurnout — A Near Miss

Sorry I’ve not written here as much recently as usual. A number of projects are currently in work, and I’ve not had my accustomed time available. But that’s what I wanted to mention here, because grace teaches (me) all the time.

A week or so ago, I had a bad day. Let me rephrase… I had a BAD day! I had one of those (rare for me) days where by the time the sun was setting I looked up towards the Lord and said, “OK, Lord… this isn’t fun any longer. I don’t want to play anymore… let’s do something else with my life, eh?”

Seriously, stuff that had been in work for months, all arrowed in with crisis traumas at the same time, none of which I could fix or do a blessed thing about but pray. These were people in terrible and traumatic situations for which:

  • I couldn’t DO anything helpful
  • I couldn’t SAY anything helpful
  • I didn’t KNOW anything helpful

All I could do was pray, which I did with intensity… feeling utterly exhausted and drained by the end of the day.

Are you feeling sorry for me yet? Well, if so… thank you, but I was feeling more than sorry enough for myself by then to cover all that was needed. I seldom succumb to much self-pity, but I guess this was my scheduled day. Know what? Self-pity and petty self-indulgence is exhausting, too!

The Lord, with His customary patience, just sort of stood aside watching and let me “play myself out”, before I actually NOTICED Him! I mean, after all, He was supposed to be sitting somewhere writing down all my desperate prayer needs and requests, right? Oddly enough, He seemed to be doing no such thing.

I didn’t criticize… after all, that wouldn’t be polite. But I wasn’t happy. And He knew it. (It sorta works like that.) It wasn’t like He was upset with me or my attitude, or that He was making fun of me. None of that. But I could tell from the look on His face that it was like… “He knew something I didn’t”, and I don’t mean that in the obvious sense. I mean that He wanted to say something to me that would help, but He knew I wasn’t yet calm enough really to HEAR Him.

The day had drawn to a close, I was starting to cook the evening meal, and over time the adrenalin receded. I wasn’t happy. He knew I wasn’t happy. I waited to see who would speak first, while we chopped onions. Finally, I couldn’t stand it. But it was hard to figure out what to say without being impolite (which I really didn’t want to do).

“I’m not happy, You know.” (the best I could do).

“I know,” He nodded. “I’m sorry about that.”

“Well… what about this? What am I supposed to do? Why don’t You do something? Why don’t You fix it all?” (Not sure if I SAID all of that, but it’s certainly what I was THINKING, and with Him, it amounts to the same thing.)

“I AM doing something, and I CAN’T ‘fix it’, in the way you mean. Neither can you, which is what has you so upset. That’s what I’m sorry about. Oh, and by the way… I don’t have to tell you this isn’t always ‘fun’. But perhaps I do have to tell you, um… no, you’re not going to go do something else with the rest of your life.”

At this we both laughed. “I know, I didn’t mean that. But really… today? Really? This was NOT one of our better days, eh? I couldn’t do a THING! I didn’t accomplish a THING! And all of those are situations with people hurting. So, what am I supposed to feel?”

Time passed as we cooked, and I continued to cool…

I’ve always been drawn to the scriptural image of the disciples and Jesus just sitting together at their fire, eating, after a long and trying day. I can readily imagine the conversations that took place as they shared experiences, impressions, questions, and answers. I always think Jesus just sat, enjoyed his fish or lamb chunks, wrapped them in some flatbreads, maybe spread with some hummus, or enjoying some dipped in honey for dessert, as He just encouraged them all to share… before He began to speak and sort things out.

Well, that’s sort of how things were at dinner that evening. The day kept replaying with my frustrations and concerns, and after a bit more venting I was able to calm down. He is so very patient.

Finally, He said, “I know you’ve heard this before, and you know what I am about to say. But sometimes, you just need to hear it again.

“You’re looking at this all wrong, which is really easy to do. But you’re angry because you’re setting the wrong goals, the wrong expectations. You feel like a failure because you couldn’t ‘fix’ everything.

“Little Monk? That’s not your job! That’s not even MY job! Both of us DID our ‘jobs’ today. The difference is, I recognize that and you do not.

“You are to hold an unconditionally loving relationship with these people. You did that. You are to embrace them and their experience without judging, with empathy and compassion. You did that. You are to share what words I give you to bring My grace into the moment. You did that. Sometimes, there are no such words, or they are minimal. And you are to lift them up to Me, wrapped in love, that My grace flow. You did that.

“You did your job today, and it was a very demanding day. Yes. When I walked, I often had very demanding days. But today, I did My job, too. My job is not to ‘fix’ as you think of it, because each of these people have their own free will and are making choices, and their lives are woven with others doing the same.

“You want to ‘fix’ everything, in terms of ‘making everybody happy’, and ‘relieving all pain’. Sometimes, beloved Little Monk, that is not possible. What I DO, and what you are committed to, is to lift up My presence and My grace in ALL the moments… painful, joyful, or otherwise. I ‘weave time with all the freewill choices’ in such a way that every encounter is perfectly ‘redemptive’. Every person you encounter and interact with, brings a gift of grace and growth into your life in that moment. And you impart such a gift to and for them.

“My ‘job’ is to uphold all things with the word of My power, given Me by Our Father… such that all things work together for good in Our Father’s love. Sometimes… what is truly ‘good’, is not necessarily ‘fun’ or even ‘painless’. That’s just the Truth.

“You say you had a ‘bad day’. Well, if you see it so… that’s up to you. But, in Truth, you had a Good day, doing precisely what you are called and gifted to do. I regret that you’ve felt frustrated about it, but that’s only because you’ve mistaken what you’re here to do. And that is in YOUR control, not Mine.

“But here is your bottom line, and maybe this will help. You’re upset because you didn’t meet your own expectations… you didn’t reach the ‘destination’ you set for yourself. But that’s not My expectation of you. That’s not what I intend for you to do. I want you to be a traveling companion, enjoying the journey and embracing and supporting your fellow travelers. If you will just do that… just focus on that… you’ll take a lot of pressure and frustration off yourself.

“I give you more than enough grace to travel these journeys, I am He who navigates the route and terrain in the first place. I am the only One who can bring you safely to your destination. So, quit mistaking your goals and worrying about that. Just bring grace in and to the trip, and embrace your fellow travelers.

“Just know your role, Little Monk. And embrace with My grace.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh, yeah. I’d known that… but I forgot. Sometimes, I just need to hear it again.

Thank you for your prayers, Gentle Reader. I am ever a work in progress. Blessings and grace to thee — The Little Monk


Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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5 responses to “Knowing My Role

  1. paulfg

    January 25, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    Dearest LM – I am behind with my reading and keeping in touch of others’s writing. So – something that happened just this afternoon – seems appropriate:

    I had been in bed “siesta’ing” as the occasional Sundays allow. But couldn’t sleep, was disturbed by a phone call, and got out of bed. And decide to do some paint stripping. A job as high as the highest mountain – more than twenty years of paint and more paint, gloss and emulsion used with out thought of a day such as this. No one “product” or tool for for purpose – and even elbow grease moving infinitesimal amounts.

    Anyway, there I was scraping away with a chisel! Which seems to remove more dead paint than anything else. The problem with a chisel is that if you hit wood it easily gouges. So – just like you – a dose of self pity, obligation, duty and some frustration. And in the middle of that He whispered “love the wood”. Just that. And I began working with the wood rather than against my expectations and frustrations. And we got chatting. Quite along conversation! And the scraping and paint remove and scraping was coming along wonderfully. Yet I kept noticing the gouges – another job to fix when all the pain was finally removed. And then he whispered “I can heal wood”.

    And this laborious frustrating job became a wonderful time of communion. Just Him and me. Me on my little table with my chisel, paint stripper, and vacuum to clear the bits. And Him just standing alongside. And He linked that with some other stuff that had happened earlier to someone else – it had touched me deeply in a “spiritual warfare” way. I think you mentioned “the walking” rather than “the fixing” somewhere else. That came through – and through – and through again.

    It was a special afternoon! And was going to be “Love Story: Part II” – except he thinks you deserve it all to yourself.


    (will copy this into the iMonastery)


    • Little Monk

      January 25, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Wow, Paul. What a fabulous comment, thank you so much for sharing. Isn’t it amazing, always, how GSHJ can just keep such wondrous sparks and ripples of understanding, love, grace, all that… bouncing among family members when we so enjoy just sitting with Him and letting Him comment, illustrate, point out His truths as they flow by in the time stream?

      I absolutely love your illustration of stuff accumulated on a woodwork, and the grain of wood itself. That is so clear, so accessible, so simple and obvious. How wonderful Truth can be when I don’t overdress it with technical theology.

      Thank you so much for this!

      Blessings and grace — LM


    • Little Monk

      January 25, 2015 at 3:20 PM

      P.S. By the way, Paul… this just struck me…

      This is a story of you and Him sharing a wonderful encounter on a beautiful afternoon. If my words wove through it here and there, well, that’s blessing TO me, not so much FROM me. So, this is distinctly not a story “reserved” by any means. Please publish this in whatever form or post you feel led!

      As to what I truly “deserve” (*blushes a bit*)… well, let’s just say “grace is a wonderful thing”, and my gratitude never ends for the fact that God seldom deals with me “justly” or “deservedly”…. lol. You’ve no idea how much I owe to His patience, and those He has sent to be patient with me always!

      Please let this be a free post that blesses all those who may not be subscribers here!

      Thanks again! — LM

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pipermac5

    February 17, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    I think that most of us have an inner-urge, desire, even need, to fix people and things. It may even be hard-wired into our psyches, and we used to be able to get our “fix-it fix” by working on things like our car, back when they were actually owner-friendly under the hood. People who have that kind of mechanical aptitude often pursue careers in the trades as mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc. Those with a more “human-centered” fix-it aptitude often become doctors, nurses, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists. Our deepest need, however, is spiritual: repair, renewal or total overhaul, and those who go into the ministerial “trades” hope they can help facilitate that. Helping people with their spiritual needs can be the most frustrating of all.

    As we minister to people, we may find ourselves at their bedside in a hospital, wishing we could simply heal them, but we can’t. I have sat with a friend many times, wishing I could take her pain away, but I can’t. I am frustrated at my inability to do anything more than just be there. When I see that she isn’t getting the kind of care and treatment she needs, I am frustrated that I don’t sign “MD” after my name, that I can’t order what she obviously needs. She also has unmet spiritual needs, but isn’t open to getting those needs met.

    The most frustrating of all is trying to “fix” ourselves. We live with ourselves 24/7, and only God knows us better than we know ourselves. We know our own inner-struggles and our persistent sins, but only God knows all the “why’s”. Even though we recognize what needs to be “fixed”, only God can do that “inner-surgery” of the heart and soul, and that is frustrating, because it makes us feel powerless, helpless, and that goes against our desire for personal-independence. Giving it up to God goes against our inner-urge to fix it ourselves. A person can find a self-help book for virtually anything they feel needs “fixing”, but until we throw in the towel and leave it to God, we will never get truly “fixed”.

    God bless!




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