So I’m continuing to blog on my “preparation days” regarding my experience of the 19th Annotation retreat (an Ignatian retreat in daily living–think of it was the 30 day retreat stretched out over a longer period of time). We’ve been encouraged to journal after our required hour of prayer and I’ve been able to do so, but am finding that I do the journaling much better if I turn it into a blog post. It may be my own vanity or pride or a way to check blogging off my to do list–we’ll see. But right now I’m thinking it’s bringing me much closer in seeing God’s presence in my life.
This is the last week of “preparation” before we plunge into the exercises themselves and I am grateful for these days. There has been much to consider. I’m focusing on how easy it is for me not to believe that God can be all I really need. That I am restless and anxious until I turn to God and that I often don’t choose God–but prefer to choose a controlled activity or idle busyness as distractions from where God wants me to spend time.
And so, from Second Corinthians, we take up our pre-prayering this day:
For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
Conviction. It often has a negative context as a word on its own, doesn’t it? But conviction often leads me into my next plan of action. If I really believe that God is all I need and that God can redeem me, then how might I live my life differently from someone unconvicted?
Do I really believe? When tragedy strikes do I remain centered, nay run to find God at my center? Or am I more demonstratively arrogant and turn my conviction into a way to control others, to get them to believe me and my own thoughts, rather than to remain open to their journey of faith.
When I rejoice in realizing God’s activity in my life, is it truly joy, or a way to be noticed? Do I allow God to create me anew or is that often too scary? Can I let myself be “ruined for life”, by living more simply, or stretching my comfort zones and living my convictions a bit more in daily life?
I rejoice today in the fact that I am not perfect and God dares to love me anyway.
Who do I dare to love, not merely in return, because God has shown me love, but rather because of a conviction of that love that God has for us in redeeming all things.
Do I believe enough to be convicted? Is my life the evidence of a belief that God can make all things new again? In short, redemption.
I fear that I remain a free man. Free from God’s call to places that I dare not go–the dark places where I am weak and think that God cannot bring me from the temptations where I sin mightily. I dare not be convicted–for to be convicted is to be trapped. Trapped in love for all of humanity. Ruined for life. Unable to live any longer in laziness and fear and sin. To be convicted is to believe that God can make in me a new creation.
Today I pray for the spirit of conviction. May God lead me into a place where I can feel the peace of God’s power. The power that can change anything–that God can make a way when there is no way.
“Will you be convicted, Mike?”
God calls me. Do I believe?
And I must answer, “I do believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.”