As I’ve been meditating on the Passion Week, I’m struck once again at the process of it all. Jesus spends 3 years unveiling Himself to the disciples. He tells them…shows them…lives in front of them this message that He’s not who they think He is, and His way is not what they’re expecting. By the time we get to Gethsemane and Jesus’ offering His unbound hands to the soldier, He is effectively saying, “We’re not walking familiar-to-you-paths anymore. The journey from here walks into a way of being that changes everything.” And then He invites them to follow.
Following leads to one of two places. We either lose energy and quit to go our own way, or we discover a deeper hunger that compels us to keep going. If we keep moving forward, we discover the road leads “through many dangers, toils and snares.” With each one, suffering hollows out deeper wells in our hearts while grace flows in to fill it. Oh, how we fight the pain! But somewhere along the way, we realize our fight is not so constant. Resistance not so immediate. We realize we are coming to an acceptance of this new way; acceptance that is both surrender and invitation.
Can I lay down the nostalgia I feel for my old life? Can I open myself to a strange, new thing? Can I accept the reorientation of beliefs, the switching around of routine, the ache I feel for what was? Inwardly I pause as I write this list. It’s one thing to capitulate and say, “Ok, I’m coming.” And then follow with my mind and not my heart. But to lower my defenses, my tried-and true-keep-me-secure guard rails and receive this change? Much harder.
And yet, like the incoming tide lapping forward a little at a time, acceptance gently enters my heart…softly…quietly…waiting until I’m ready, to let me know it’s there.
It turns out acceptance is not so much a giving up as an opening up. Nudged off-center by a deep calm that I realize is abiding peace, fight subsides. Holding on to what was just isn’t the point anymore. Laying down the old and daring to open to the new, I inadvertently walk through a doorway leading to new possibilities, new horizons, new loves…new versions of me that up until now, I really only glimpsed. And it’s good. Very good. One might even say, “worth dying for.”
When change comes, we realize that acceptance is more than a word, it’s a process…and it takes time. When acceptance comes, we revel in our new capacity to change and live from peace.
ACTION: What are some things you’re having trouble accepting right now? What would it be like to tell Jesus you’re having trouble accepting what He’s given? How do you sense Jesus responding to you?