What more must I do? the rich young man asked Jesus. (Mark 10:17) That question has stayed with me since the beginning of Lent, popping up at random times throughout the day and often while I am praying.
The answer for the young man was to sell everything he had and give his money to the poor.
It seems that his possessions were a burden or a barrier which prevented him from being spiritually free. I am not rich, so I have been considering what other burdens or barriers prevent me from being spiritually free.
As I have been pondering the question these past few weeks, I have had greater clarity around the fact that I tend to focus on the doing part of the question. Do more, my inner critic prompts me. But God has often invited me to focus on being rather than doing, so maybe God is asking me to do less instead of doing more.
Perhaps I am being asked to silence my inner critic and step away from my need to achieve.
Then I started reading Luke 11:14-23, Jesus was driving…. I did not get any further into the reading because an image of Jesus driving a car came to me. Funny—and not how I usually imagine Jesus. But, I let the picture emerge.
Jesus driving; I am a passenger.
What kind of passenger would I be? Would I be giving Jesus directions? Suggesting alternative routes? Knowing a faster way?
Could I trust Jesus to drive? Let him choose the route and the destination? Could I just enjoy the ride?
A few days ago, something prompted the memory of my decision to move to l’Arche. When I made the decision, I didn’t think of l’Arche as a one-year volunteer stint, but as a way of life. It was the radical commitment I was seeking, the community I could see myself in forever. I had incredible clarity about being called to live in l’Arche for the rest of my life.
But that was not what happened. l’Arche turned out not to be the perfect fit for me—or me for l’Arche. My need to be in control and to be doing made me ill-suited.
It turned out that working in non-profit organizations was a better fit for my personality, giving me the kind of time and space I needed to grow in self-awareness. In the nonprofit world, being a doer is highly valued. Plus, my need to control and deep-seated stubbornness pushed me to accomplish things people said could not be done.
People praised me for what I achieve, and I loved hearing their praise.
A radio commercial for a local spa asks what would change if I really took care of myself (by spending an indulgent day there.)
I wonder what would change if I let Jesus drive the car, if I silenced my inner critic and focused more on being than doing. Perhaps I would be able to relax and enjoy the ride.