“Come to me all who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest”
I can tell the full story some other time, but the punch line is: “remember that the most important thing, is to always keep the most important thing, as the most important thing.”
Sometimes a punch line is enough.
I am now convinced after years of personal experimentation with many different arrangements of my priorities, that only one perspective delivers me the happiness that it promises, and that is found when I consciously give God alone the central position in my life.
Our marriage partners, careers and friends are not up to the task of taking number one position in our lives. To give them this position, even subconsciously, heaps upon them the enormous weight of our own needs and expectations, enough of a burden to suffocate the strongest of marriages and the bring down the most successful of careers.
In my prayer in recent months I have been pondering my own efforts to bring stability in my life. I am willing to now (at least in my healthiest moments) admit that I am powerless, and never more powerless than when I think I have finally got my life in order.
We might also find it a bit difficult to realise how little control we really have over daily events. Too often we pour energy and effort (at the cost of many other important invitations and opportunities) into manipulating circumstances into outcomes that we think will make us happy, only to realise that it is the unexpected and undeserved moments that bring the greatest joy and satisfaction.
We know too that on a day when all seems to be going well, a phone call bringing bad news (over which we have no control) can change everything for the day, and even for the rest of our lives.
Living green, eating healthily and exercising well doesn’t guarantee that I will outlive my unhealthy friends and relatives. Being a good employee doesn’t ensure that I will not be made redundant. Saving carefully and investing wisely will not necessarily bring the expected return. Loving my wife or husband is no guarantee against them dying before I do. Children rarely fulfil the dreams their parents have for them, and the list continues.
There has to be a broader perspective.
In short we are left with only a couple of options. We can ignore the reality of our lack of control, and spend our earthly lives grasping at one project after another, or we can accept what our experience is constantly reminding us: we are at our best when we live in the perspective given to us by the God who created us and loves us.
Circumstances will chop and change around us, and while we endeavour to make good decisions ourselves, we still can’t control everything that affects us.
All this leaves the one who seeks happiness with just one viable option: remembering that the most important thing, is to keep the most important thing, as the most important thing.
If you don’t believe me, spend today trying it.
- Take a moment now to decide that today you will let God be God giving God the central position in every moment, every encounter and every decision of this day, and watch all the encounters and events of the day fall into a new and life-giving perspective.
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Thankful for these: your “we are at our best when we live in the perspective given to us by the God who created us and loves us” and the letter today of Pope Francis about St. Joseph, “He also teaches us that amid the tempests of life, we must never be afraid to let the Lord steer our course. At times, we want to be in complete control, yet God always sees the bigger picture.” Wonderful coincidence of consolation for me trying to live reality now.
Morena Fr John, yes the most important thing is that we don’t focus on that important thing enough. as well as good morning God, and good night God, use the morning tea break , the lunch break. the afternoon tea and dinner times to say thanks God…… that brings the focus on the only one in control = God.
Fabulous essay JOC. Thanks
Thank you for ‘the most important’ inspirational reflection this morning ……
your wise words remind us of our Divine connection to our deeper selves. +
A very good reflection on what life is really all about. So true. if we put God first we have our priorities right.
What a powerful challenge for me this morning
I SO needed to hear this today. Going insane with my own expectations of parishioners, church, and even God. Let go, let God – I am powerless – thank God I am not God.
Amen thank you Father John for words of Wisdom and inspiration Amen
Thank you John. I have printed this reflection so that I can refer to it frequently, perhaps daily!
Thank you, Father John, for reminding me the most important thing in life!
Read this & thought ha if only it were that easy. Tried this and suddenly I am uplifted and assured that God has me by the hand. Every hard challenge today and there were a few I didn’t try to battle alone instead I kept remembering what’s most important and looking at my hand knowing God was guiding me in all.