Today we arrived at Lake Junaluska for The Upper Room’s SOULfeast 2012. This is our third year to come, and as usual I arrived with great anticipation and excitement. I have come to love this place and this time. It is an incredible time of spiritual formation.
However, as usual, I also arrived breathless, harried, exhausted, sleep-deprived, and scattered, as if sliding into home base just before being tagged with the baseball. I remember writing something similar in my blog upon arrival for SOULfeast 2011. I’d like to say that a pattern is emerging, but really, this is a long-standing problem. I seem to be a chronic over-achiever. It’s high time to reign that in.
My problem seems to be a lack of balance of my myriad roles. I am a loving mother whose son is on summer vacation and full of free time and energy. I am a committed church member who quickly fills in when our VBS craft leader drops out at the last minute. I am the devoted daughter who immediately flies to Texas to care for her mother who had surgery this past week. I am the excited owner of rapidly growing ministry, who is busy filling prayer bead orders and preparing to lead workshops. I am the responsible citizen who continues to work as a nonprofit consultant in order to pay bills. I am the loving but harried spouse who doesn’t seem to have enough time to hang out with her handsome husband. I am, I am, I am. . . I am tired.
Lucky for me, the theme for this year’s SOULfeast is the “I AM” statements of Jesus. In the Gospel of John we hear Jesus explain who he is:
- “I AM the bread of life.”
- “I AM the light of the world.”
- “I AM the door.”
- “I AM the good shepherd.”
- “I AM the true vine.”
- “I AM the resurrection and the life.”
- “I AM the way, the truth, and the life.”
I am looking forward to being reminded of who Jesus is. It will give me perspective. I need to be reminded that Jesus is more than what I am, and that what He is matters most in my life. Because if I remain focused on who Jesus is, then everything else will fall into place. I will not lose balance. I will not become overwhelmed. I will not lose faith. Instead, I will be nourished, guided, cared for, connected, and – most importantly – able to rest in the grace of God for all eternity.
If you are overwhelmed by the many roles you fill, the many hats you wear, this devotion is written for you. It is designed to help you focus on who Christ is and be reminded that we do not have to be everything to all people. We can’t be. But Christ can.
Choose one of the seven “I AM” statements above and use it as the focus of your prayer bead devotion. You might even try a different statement everyday until you have meditated on all seven – one for each day of the week. Whatever you do, I pray you will find rest and renewal in the Great I AM.
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Invitatory Bead: “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3:14 NRSV)
Cruciform Beads: choose one of the “I AM” statements above and recite it.
Week Beads: use each bead to consider what this “I AM” statement means, and what relevance it has for your life.
Invitatory Bead: recite the Lord’s Prayer