Letters to Jesus (Unhelpful Mindsets and Attitudes) -12
We unintentionally divert ourselves from You in many subtle and habitual ways. We fall, almost unconsciously, into ruts and grooves in our ways of thinking and in our ways of doing things. If we were to rethink and redirect some of these habitual modes, we could do a lot better at finding You in our lives.
I know one area of my own life that fights the interior stillness needed for You to rest in me is my monstrous compulsion for order, structure and organization.I am an “a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place” guy; a compulsive list maker, tab affixer, note writer and labeler. Keeping up with this compulsion creates a lot of “busy work” and, for whatever reason, I am very fond of busy work. I seek it out and put it on my schedule. From the time I wake up to the time I retire I am driven to fill each moment with something. Because of this I don’t think I’m allowing You the space You need to happen in my life. You’re not on my schedule as much as You should be. Of course, I am faithful to the letter regarding those daily time slots I set aside for Mass, private prayers, meditation, centering, and writing. They have all been scheduled, and I don’t let anything interfere. But that leaves a great deal of the rest of the day – time when I seek “things to do.”
I have not been flexible when I lock onto accomplishing something in a particular time slot whether it’s an element of my prayer life or sewing on a button. I am good at making powerful, inflexible, unwritten rules for myself and I am obedient to them without regard for anything else. The casualty is me, for I fear this inflexibility in me misses something. What it misses is You.
When I seek activity for the sake of activity I am in bold opposition to the stillness needed for You to rest in me or for me to rest in You. This is not to say that sewing on a button or changing the car’s oil is deliberately shutting You out. There can be some inner stillness even in these activities. But there is a disposition needed which I currently don’t have; a disposition of Your presence in all things and in every activity.
I do not know for sure that I want to totally rid myself of my compulsion to be organized. It is part of who I am and there are consolations and advantages in it, but there are also disadvantages and, sometimes, feelings of guilt.
Reflections on habits such as these often tend to make me consider gradual modifications in my life. Yet, I would embrace such reflections only if I thought it aided my quest for You. If, somehow, I could place You at the center of all the structure and organization I impose on myself, and if I could say “yes” to those I perceive as threatening my compulsions, I think some good progress might be made. Compromise, although it reduces my structure by half, may not be a bad thing.