On Lice

I started the New Year off with a bang – a big, bad, case of head lice. So bad, in fact, that it scared my husband into cutting his hair off. I spent hour after hour picking, pulling, combing. I saw lice in my dreams – and I killed them. Those little buggers took over my life – if I didn’t kill every single one of them, they would just keep coming back. I had a mission and did not quit until the third morning that little lice comb came out clean.

If you’ve ever had lice you know exactly what I’m talking about; if not, I’d encourage you to follow Joel’s lead and cut your hair off before they can find you. Yes. It’s that bad.

I told the Vida Joven staff about my misfortune and they laughed hysterically and said, “now it’s official – you can call yourself a Guatemalan!” That’s all it took?

On Friday we had our first leadership meeting of the new year and I asked the volunteer leaders to share some hopes that they had for the New Year. The list that they shared overwhelmed me – be better at this, do more of that, try to be better, work harder, do more……all to make God happy.

What a list. Not easy to check those boxes off.

It’s not that different from many “resolution” lists or lists of goal – lose weight, exercise more, read more, write more, work harder…….all to be a better person.

To me, those lists remind me a little bit of having lice. If I pick and pull and devote myself to doing certain things, then I’ll be clean. If I’m clean, then I’m better – in my own eyes, in God’s eyes, in my spouse’s eyes, friend’s eyes – whomever.

What if we all just relaxed and stopped trying to nit pick at ourselves? What if we accepted Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11 –

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

My hope for this year is to live the unforced rhythms of grace – I’m going to watch how Jesus does it and continue to learn what it means to live freely, lightly, and healthfully spiritually, emotionally, and physically.Yes, learning to live in this way will probably involve going on a few more runs, eating a few less pieces of chocolate cake, reading a bit more, being more intentional with all my relationships, and more – but those things are not the goal. In that, I find freedom.

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