In these or similar words ...

Dear Jesus,
As I review the retreat from the past few weeks, I am attracted so strongly to one thought from last week’s guide: when all is gift, we can no longer measure ourselves by what we’ve accumulated. What surprises me, Jesus, is that the thought attracts me. I’m not frightened by it; I’m drawn to it. It sounds so different from the way I live my life, and yet there seems to be such freedom in it.

I want to embrace the poverty of spirit you are calling me to — I want to embrace this yearning I feel in my heart. That feeling is an invitation from you to join in the kind of life you live because you know I will be happier in it. You know better than anyone the emptiness I so often face when another success stares blankly back at me from a mirror. It’s the kind of success that means so little, and yet it means way too much.

I want to embrace the poverty that leads to humiliation. Humiliation isn’t something I ordinarily look for, but in this context I see where it is totally opposite to the honors and success, the things and riches, I often use to fill the dark and vacant spots in my heart.

I stare at the retreat photo from last week. The two women who are land-mine victims lean up against the cracked wall. What evil forces cost them their legs? How many family members have they lost in this struggle for power, greed, riches, honor? And then I see the Scripture quote below the photo: “God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!”

That, more than anything, is what I long for in my life. Please God, teach me to depend on you. Show me how to give my life away to you, for you. Guide me in the path of life you chose for yourself.
Like a New Year’s resolution, I want this right now, at this moment — but can I sustain this longing? This week’s “For the Journey” says it so well: “They had to face how fragile their sense of fidelity might be.” Please, Jesus. I can’t continue to want this on my own. I need to recognize your call in this and I don’t always want to listen.

I know my faithfulness is flawed and that I don’t always recognize that all is gift in my life. Please help me to understand from someplace deeper than I often want to go that this call to simpler, humbler, poorer, is the way you are leading me to happiness.

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