Turn Off the Calculator

calculator by Doug HaglerI’ve spent most of my lifetime and a lot of my conscious spiritual life accomplishing things, dealing with problems, meeting challenges, trying really hard to grow, and generally “working on” stuff. And I get some kind of rush from succeeding. I think I secretly believe I’m impressing God.  Which means I secretly believe I need to.

When I do this I divert my attention from God to my fear about God, from my actual life and the world about me to the failures and successes in my head— figuring things out, strategizing and arranging tasks, judging the results.  I focus on my doing instead of my being. My accomplishments become a sort of “virtual reality.”   It’s what Percy Ainsworth  was talking about when he says that faith “ceases to be faith and becomes calculation.”

Calculation—that’s the key.  When I calculate how to impress God, or how to distract my soul from deep feelings I don’t want to face, I leave the present moment, and I turn away from God and God’s rich grace. When I stop calculating and simply receive the present moment without analyzing, judging, planning or predicting, I become present not only to the moment but also to God who is present to me. And then a miracle happens: this moment finally becomes enough.  Even I myself am enough.  In religious language, I’m “justified.” Saved.

I pray for the grace to be aware when I am calculating, and to gently put the calculator down—even if I am working hard on a project under a deadline— and simply be here, now, with God, doing just what we are doing and no more.

4 Responses to “Turn Off the Calculator”

  1. Hey Steve, Thanks for your thoughts. Do you remember me from companions and from the writer’s retreat in MA? Hope you are well.

  2. Hotma di Hita L. Tobing says:

    Most of he time, and many of people do not realize how much God takes care of us. We only ask but we sometimes forget to fulfill what He wants us to do in this life. He never counts how much He has given, but we do still count by our own thinking.

  3. I do. Isn’t it cool how our connections lie there, like roots underground, springing to life when it rains? I am well. Hope you are, too.

  4. David Morris says:

    Was just thinking this morning about how I have this tendency to start the day being productive. To get going and accomplish something right away. How helpful it was to just stop and do a little quiet time and listen to those deeper feeling you talk about. Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply

Web Statistics