by Genevieve Especkerman
Being caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, it is all too easy to forget the presence of the Spirit that enlivens and animates what we do. We go about each day fulfilling our commitments because we have to. We have to complete all the items on our to-do lists. We have to be accountable and responsible employees, friends, community members, sons, daughters.
But that’s not all that we were made for.
Even in the midst of all the doing, the EG reminds us to continue being fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit (EG 5.259) – for, as Christians, we have been sealed and branded by this Mission of bringing light, blessing, enlivening, raising up, healing, and freeing (EG 5.273). This call does not run contrary to completing all the tasks that we have to do, but rather, is intimately intertwined with it. We evangelise through our lives and in whatever the Lord calls us to do. And it first begins by cultivating an interior space which can give a Christian meaning to commitment and activity. Without prolonged moments of time spent with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless, and we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties (EG 5.262).
We may wonder: is living for more really worth sacrificing our comforts and pleasures — time to ourselves to wind down after work, our headspace and heartache when we begin to be involved in the lives of others? How much difference could one person’s efforts make anyway?
Today, let us also be reminded of Christ’s resurrection, of his triumph over sin and death. Christ, risen and glorified, is the wellspring of our hope. The resurrection has been woven into the fabric of our lives. Even as it may feel like everything is the same, and our individual efforts have amounted to nothing, we know with certitude that everything that is entrusted to God in love will bear good fruit. Even as the fruitfulness may be elusive and unquantifiable, we may be sure that no act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted.
Mission is not a business transaction or investment, or even a humanitarian activity. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills, and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. Let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time. (Adapted from EG 5.275-279)
When I was first tasked to read and write a reflection on this chapter in the EG, I had just been coming out of a season in my life of deep weariness. Multiple areas of my life seemed to all ramp up into high gear at the same time, and there were more and more things to do, demands placed on me, places to be, and expectations to meet. And I was drowning under the weight of all of it.
During that period, I would wake up multiple times a week in the middle of the night with my mind racing, thinking about all the things that I had to do. The only way I knew how to try to cope was to write everything down into to-do lists. There were to-do lists for work, for community, for family – all parts of my life nice and neatly scheduled into my calendar or penciled into a list.
I began to live my life chasing after and trying to clear as many tasks on my lists as I could, hoping that one day, the lists could be clear and I could finally live my full life as the Lord had meant for me. The people that the Lord had placed in my life for me to love and to be loved by all started to mash together and became a blur of another thing on my list to check off.
- Meet up with (person) to check in on (matter)
- Prepare for session with (student)
I had lost the deep-seated joy of being on Mission for the Lord that was fulfilled through being in relationship with others.
Reading the EG, together with other encounters over the past week, have been nothing short of providential for me. It was a re-conviction and alignment that came with the reminder of the Spirit that is so very alive in me continues to work in everything that I do. I began to see my world through Jesus’ eyes once again. That every meeting, every encounter, every task that I completed is important, because I am on Mission for the Lord with the whole of my being.
Today, I choose to surrender all my efforts, being guided by the Spirit, to the Lord once again. It does not mean that things get easier, or lesser, but it means that I see all that I do has purpose. It is not how many ticks I can place on my to-do lists. Joy is to be found, for I am on Mission. And it is in being led by Him to live my life for more and for others that I come to discover more about who the Lord has made me to be.
My prayer for myself, and for you, is that our lives may begin to breathe Mission – so integral that doing His Mission in every moment is just like taking another breath of air.
Take a deep breath.
Pretty sunsets and golden retrievers bring me joy!