Well, it happened again—I reacted. I let my fears and my anxieties and my insecurities get the best of me—and turn me into the worst possible version of myself—and I reacted. It seems like at some point I would learn. At some point I would stop living a reactive life and start living a more proactive one. The kind of life Psalm 1 encourages me to live. Oh, I do get it right from time to time, or from season to season, but I still get it wrong so often.
When will I ever learn that I cannot stop delighting in his law and meditating on it night and day or this will be the end result? I cannot grow tired or lazy or lax in my practice, or I will quickly turn into someone that I really do not like at all. I will suddenly be at the mercy of the winds and waves of circumstance and emotion and be blown like chaff once again. Maybe that’s why the psalm includes the words day and night as it talks about our meditation on the law, because the psalmist knows the relentlessly ongoing nature of this battle—the battle between being proactive and being reactive.
And it is never very hard to see who is winning this battle at any given moment, all you have to do is look at the fruit. If the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then all I have to do is see if those things are present in my life to know whether I am living a proactive life of being planted by streams, or a reactive life of being blown like chaff.
Luckily, there is repentance. Luckily, each and every minute of every day we have the opportunity to choose to return to God, to plant ourselves by the stream of Living Water. Even after we have, once again, forgotten to do that and allowed emotion or busyness or insecurity or circumstances to blow us away. That is the beauty of repentance. Blessed is the man who practices it regularly.
O Lord, how I long to be different. How I long to turn from my twisted and dysfunctional patterns and habits, in order to be more whole and holy. I long to be set free from my own self-consumed ways of being and seeing, and to become more and more like you. I long to be more loving instead of self-centered. I long to be more compassionate rather than competitive. And I long to care more about your will and your work than I do about my own. Continue, O God, to transform my heart. Grow your grace in me and let it flow freely and effortlessly from my heart and life. Change me from deep within. Give me more peace and less frustration. Make me more rooted and less reactive. Help me to be more caring and less annoyed. O Jesus, fill me so full of your love that there will be no room in me for anything else. (Room to Flourish by Jim Branch)