I was talking with a client this afternoon, and during a brief break from the business at hand, we discussed the soaking rain our area is receiving today and tomorrow. If you have spent any significant time in central Texas, you know that thunderstorms (including lightning and the potential for damaging winds, hail and possibly even isolated tornadoes) are not unheard of in January, but they certainly are not common place. That really is more of a Spring/Summer occurrence.
We discussed how much we need the rain, with Texas still emerging from one of the most severe droughts in recorded history. We talked about how the rain fills the lakes, rivers and streams and provides an immediate source of water for plant and animal life; he also mentioned that lightning replenishes the atmosphere, something I was unaware of.
We made mention of the fact that these storms can also be destructive, damaging homes, fences and cars.
Somewhere in this part of the conversation it struck me – the things that most directly benefit from the rain and even lightning are those that occur naturally and are crafted by the hand of God. The things that sustain damage from the same rain and storms are the things that are man-made.
Matthew 5:45 assures us that God sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. Storms are guaranteed to come my way. The question I must ask myself is not an easy one, but here it is:
How much of my life is comprised of things that God put there, and how much of it was placed there by my own hands? Those things that God is growing in me will be nurtured and replenished by the storms (and protected from harm). But those things that I have built myself hold the greatest risk of sustaining damage when the winds and rain come.
So now remains the task of taking an honest inventory of the things and relationships that consume my time, energy, focus and allegiance – sorting through everything and determining whether God is in it or if I am clinging to something that is of my own doing. This should be fun (insert sarcastic tone here). But seriously, this kind of honest assessment is what intimacy with Him is all about. This is a good thing.
This morning I met with another client and her mentor/business coach as we lined out a marketing plan for my client. Lots of brainstorming and listing general ideas led to prioritizing a specific categorization of all the necessary elements and step-by-step action items to accomplish our marketing goals. At one point, when were re-prioritizing the list and moving things around, the coach made a comment – something to the effect that now were getting the real work done because the page was getting messy with mark-throughs and re-numbering and re-listing.
What popped into my head at that moment was that this was like cleaning out a closet. Spreading everything out so you can see what you have is a messy but necessary part of the process. Sometimes that is the only way to see what all is there and make sure nothing is hiding in a corner or under something else. Once you see what you have, then you can begin the process of sorting and making decisions on what stays and what goes.
The same thing is true here. These seasons of personal inventory are important, and it might get a little messy in the process, but it’s all good. The result will be a lighter load as I let go of things that I was never meant to take on in the first place. And what remains will be better equipped to withstand the storms and better able to relax and enjoy the rain.