I had a non-spiritual experience today – it was purely technical and yet I keep thinking about it. Because, of course, I tend to see everything through a spiritual lens, so nothing is exempt from having a spiritual lesson to teach.
The experience was that I have decided to update the Openings web pages, so I went in to explore other “theme” options from my web host. I am working with a very creative pastor on a series of workshops for church leaders and she played around and came up with a new logo idea. I loved it, and since I can’t just change one thing at a time, it has led to my trying to develop a whole new “look” for the business. Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re looking at:
Well, back to the experience of the day. I found a theme that I liked, so I hit the button for “choose this theme” and was promptly greeted with an ominous pop up box
“Just so we’re clear: You’re choosing a different theme. This means you’ll lose all changes you’ve made to your website and will start over.”
Ack! Cancel, cancel, delete, delete!
I was completely not ready to start over!
Have you ever been there? You know that you need to do something different, but you’re just not ready to make it happen?
Sometimes we have to pay attention, because that “not ready” feeling is telling us that whatever it is, it’s not right. I get that.
But this wasn’t one of those moments – it was a different “not ready.” I had not done my homework, so I was not at all ready to start over, even though eventually “starting over” is exactly what needs to happen. I did not know what I would lose in starting over. I did not know what would happen to my website while I transitioned to a new site. I did not know whether the new logo design size would “fit” into the theme I was choosing. The list goes on and on with all the things that I do not know and that I had better find out before I go jumping in with both feet to a major website redesign.
There are probably some of you out there laughing at me. You’re web design experts. You know all the answers to the questions I have and probably answers to some questions I should have but don’t yet. It’s easy, you say. No problem, you say. And I congratulate you on your know-how. (Do you want to help me put together a new website?) But as for me, I am not ready – maybe next week, or the week after.
This can happen in my spiritual life too. I am silent, listening for God and I hear something that I am completely unprepared to handle. In my head I’m seeing Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men screaming “You can’t handle the truth!” And I know that Jack’s right. I am not ready for a lot of things that God still has to reveal to me. Yet, the revelation continues. And there doesn’t seem to be a “cancel/delete” button in my contemplative prayer life.
But there is a pause button, an opportunity for me to lift back up to the Divine what has been revealed and ask for time and space to do my homework. If you are a Christian, you might remember Jesus himself taking time in prayer in the Garden at Gethsemane, asking for the cup of suffering to be removed, finally accepting God’s revelation and moving forward to the crucifixion.
I have a lot of homework on web redesign with Go Daddy’s Website Builder program over the next couple of weeks. And I have a lot of prayer homework too – lifting to God what I am not quite ready to handle yet, so that God can help me get ready for it. I may never be ready on my own, but I have a powerful teacher!
Have you ever had that panicky feeling that you are unprepared for something that you know has to happen? Were you able to prepare or did you have to just jump in with both feet? Either way, how did that make you feel? Is there anything in your life right now that you’re excited to start but know you need to do some homework? What would that homework look like? What motivation or support do you have to make sure you stay on track? What was your most exciting or most dreadful “start over” in life? What did you learn from that experience?
If you need help with prayer or motivation or just keeping up with all you have going on in your life, consider how a spiritual director might help. I can work one-on-one to help you achieve your goals in 2018 or develop a retreat to support your whole group. Check out our website at Openings: Let the Spirit In – assuming I don’t accidentally delete it all tomorrow!