You are a work in progress (Psalm 143:10)

I’ve had a really busy few days. So busy that the contemplative evangelical side of my life has been squeezed to the sidelines. Let me be honest, there have been days when it hasn’t really happened. I’ve been tired. If I sit still for too long, I will fall asleep.

See the source imageThis morning I went to the opticians for my regular eye test. We started with some paperwork and conversation, and then I was introduced to the young lady who would do my eyesight test. She had a great manner. She seemed knowledgeable. She was thorough. The test took slightly longer than I had expected but hey – no problem.

At the end of the test she explained her results. My eyesight had slightly deteriorated, so my prescription had changed, but hey – no problem.
Then she said, ‘I just need to get my supervisor to check my findings.’ It was only then that I realised she was in training. She had dealt with me really well. I told her so. I wanted to encourage her. The supervisor came into the room and checked a couple of details with me and made some changes to my notes.

A little later, I went into one of my local coffee shops where I was welcomed by a lady wearing a tee shirt which was emblazoned with the words ‘trainee barista’. She gave great eye contact and she was appropriately friendly. There was a lady at her shoulder who was obviously training her, guiding her through the till and helping her make my drink. She produced a very good skinny latte (although there was no fancy shape in the milk foam). She was a little slow, but hey – no problem.
See the source imageBoth the optician and the barista were doing well. They both have stuff to learn. The optician had done a pretty good job, although I think that the supervisor noticed one or two areas which needed clarification. The barista did a good job, but in a few days, she’ll be presenting my caffe latte with a fern leaf motif in the milky foam. They both have stuff to learn.
And me. The contemplative evangelical who hasn’t been very contemplative at all for several days. As I sit here drinking my coffee I’ve been asking God what he was showing me through these two encounters. I pray quietly in my corner, enjoying the sounds of conversation and the tip-tapping of keyboards all around me. I am trying, after all, to get back to being a contemplative evangelical in a busy and fast moving world.

And that’s it. In that moment of quiet God reminded me of something really important, and really encouraging.

I sense a gentle voice pointing out one or two things which need to change so that I can follow Him better. I sense a gentle voice at my shoulder saying you’re doing ok, but remember to let me lead. You can’t do this on your own. We should be doing this together. Like the optician and the barista, you’re still learning. And by the way, you always will be.

I think he’s saying “I know the things you have done well and the things you should have done better. I know that you haven’t kept to your prayer schedule recently. I know that your time with me has been under pressure.” I sense that he is saying ‘Hey – no problem.’

Let’s move on.

‘Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.’ Psalm 143:10 (NRSV)

Richard Jackson is the Executive Director of LifePictureUK. He is exploring life as a contemplative evangelical

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