If the phone rings...
I've had the same deal with God for a long time: if the phone rings, I'll answer it. Over the years, the phone has expanded to include email, text messages, Facebook, Tweets, and whatever else has come down the pike as the next mode of communication du jour. If I can do whatever someone is asking me to do, I will. If not, I don't sweat it. It's just that because I'm the kind of person who loves, loves, loves, to be doing, doing, doing something, it's better for me to be asked than to do the asking myself. And by better, I mean better for my soul.
Sometimes the phone rings a lot, and sometimes it doesn't, which is why I go through periods that are busier than I'd like, and restless times in which I feel like nothing is happening. Now that I'm not commuting to work, or driving multiple kids to multiple activities and events, you'd think I'd have a whole lot more time. I still can't quite figure out why I don't.
But that has me thinking. I don't actually have to wait for the proverbial phone to ring. I just have to listen a bit more closely to hear that it is ringing all the time. Each and every day God gives me holds an invitation to act, to put someone or something into my calendar, to answer a call to come and be present and share whatever it is I have to offer. Each day is mission territory, and sometimes, I'm the one who's in need. Each and every day can be full of God's work, whether it looks and feels that way, or not.
God has a sense of humor. He knows that many of the people I'm supposed to be reaching when I'm invited to speak or sing to a group or gathering are better Christians than I am. But he sends me anyway. It isn't because I'm good, but because he is. He knows that my faults and failures testify to his mercy better than my best achievements ever could.
That is how God is with all of us. Whatever talents we have or don't, whatever our imperfections -- even sins -- God makes use of it all. He sends each and every one of us into the world we live in with his message of saving love anyway. He keeps calling, texting, leaving messages, posting on our walls until we answer.
This Lent, I've begun to notice how many calls I've ignored. (And how many excuses I've made when I ignore them.) God isn't any poorer when I don't answer, but I am. He doesn't need me to accomplish his will, but I need him every moment. And I can live with the fact that I'll always fall short, because God cares a whole lot less about that than I do. He remembers that I am dust even when I forget.
So as we approach Holy Week again, I'm planning to hit the button on my spiritual answering machine and listen to all the messages. I may not be able to answer them all, but if I can, I'll at least make an effort to do so. I might be too late for some of what's stacked up, and there's no going back. But I know that the power to move forward can often be found in the words "I'm sorry," especially when they're said sincerely.
There is no real question about whether or if the phone will ring. The phone is always ringing, and it's God calling. My job is to figure out how to turn off the "do not disturb" setting on my heart, so I can hear it ring when he calls, and answer him.
- Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.