Kind promise: I will share strengths.

listen-lifeYesterday, I woke up with John Wesley coaching my thinking. (John Wesley was an 18th century theologian and one of the founders of Methodism.) The quote that was playing in my mental theater was:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

A little bit of googling taught me that Wesley never said or wrote that, but it’s in the Protestant Ethic song book somehow. It’s got a nice rhythm and you can dance to it. (Whoops, except I think, traditionally, Methodists aren’t supposed to dance.)

I certainly was raised with the idea that doing “all the good you can” is the assignment.

There is really nothing wrong with this idea. It is in the implementation that things (for me) go horribly wrong. The way this song plays in my head, there is no rest for the Crusader Rabbit. There is no time for gazing at the blue sky (which was stunning this morning), playing with art supplies or lingering over a cup of tea listening to a friend. It’s full on, pedal-to-the-metal good doing.

Not able to live up to the ambitious philanthropy of the assignment, I feel exhausted and defeated.

Here’s an alternative:

“In the place where you are, there is work of the highest importance to be done, and no one else can do your work. God has brought you to this time and place…” (Christ in You, page 22)

This is comforting to me. I don’t have to be anyone I am not. I don’t have to go anyplace different. In this model, I am not a steam engine of good intentions. Instead, I look around me, consider who I am, listen for God’s calling and take gentle action.

As I move into this month sharing strengths, I invite myself to listen. How is life calling me in this time and place?