Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Diminishment - a guest post

Posted by Donna Vandergriend

“Diminishment” was the word that came to mind when I reached 65 along with that state of joblessness we call retirement. My significance seemed smaller; my sense of purpose waned. Our children, whom we raised to be independent (what were we thinking?) needed us less. The phone rang fewer times; the calendar squares showed white spaces. I feared my world was getting smaller; I feared God might be setting me aside; I feared being forgotten. “Honey, I’m shrinking,” I said to my husband. He teasingly got out the tape measure and discovered I was physically an inch shorter from settling vertebrae mixed with a little osteoporosis and arthritis.

This diminishing feeling can be downright depressing…unless we figure out how to reframe our definitions. “For when I am weak, then I am strong,” is a great concept for turning diminishment into a good thing. When I am surrendered and dependent, God can powerfully work. When I just sit there, God can expand my world by showing me what He is up to. When I get myself out of the way perhaps people can better see and find Him.

Yesterday I was recalling how long and complicated our job descriptions used to be: resumes and qualifications and goals and mission statements and references on pages and pages of parchment-like paper. Today I wrote a friend. “This is what I do these days: cook, clean, read, write, converse, pray, play, and encourage.” I liked the ring of that when I re-read it, the simplicity, the diminishment of complicated, on-demand living.

The clincher on rethinking my diminishment status, though, was when, during a time of prayer, I imagined God dialoguing with me and saying: “Remember how, during those busy, hectic years of doing, doing, doing, you used to pray, pretty desperately at times: ‘Lord, show me what it means to rest in the Lord?’ Well, here it is, the possibility of true and abundant rest. Stop whining and enjoy!”

(See Donna's prior guest post and our review of her book!)
(Photo by Korean Resource Center, shared via Flickr)

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