From Holeness to Wholeness

holeness to wholenessFrom Holeness to Wholeness

I teach English.  I can make up words, can’t I?

If you look at any word long enough, it just starts to look weird. Take ‘whole’ for example. We all know the ‘w’ makes no noise—someone just tacked it on to distinguish it from ‘hole.’ Which is a good thing, actually, because ‘hole’ without the ‘w’ holds the opposite meaning.

‘Whole’ means ‘entire’—all of it. Not one part missing that was intended and created to be present. ‘Hole,’ on the other hand, signifies an empty space, a lack, scarcity.

All too often I find myself acting from a place of holeness instead of wholeness. I think I should do something that I don’t really want to do (does anyone else get this feeling when someone from the nominating committee at church tries to corner you in the women’s restroom or trap you between the pews after the service?), and without thinking it through my brain goes to autoresponder and I say, “Yes, I’ll lead out in the children’s classes” even though I have no talent in that area nor desire to add a weekly commitment to my already overbooked life.

And so I serve out my term from a position of holeness and feel guilty because I can’t find it in me to serve wholeheartedly. It’s a lose-lose situation. This happened a lot during my caregiver journey (a time in life when our biggest temptation is to prove we actually are Wonder Woman).

This year I made a commitment to allow God to constrain me. Constrain has a double, opposite meaning—to compel and to hold back. I want him to make up my mind (which means I need to keep listening). In order to allow God time to speak, I have to create space between the question and my answer.

I have uninstalled the autoresponder feature on my mouth and installed WaitTime 4.9. When opportunities arise, I can answer one of two ways. “Let me pray about it” works when dealing with Christians and those who know me well enough to know that my relationship with God comes first. “Let me check my schedule” suffices when dealing with anyone else.

I have uninstalled the #autoresonder on my mouth. #LivingForward Click To Tweet

It helps to have a Life Plan backing me up (something that I invested a lot of prayer and study in) so that I have an actual framework for my prayer (“Father, you helped me come up with a Life Plan, is this an opportunity that you want me to take? If so, please show me how it fits in with what you want.”) The Life Plan also helped me see the importance of filling in time slots for the most important events first—the ‘big rocks’—so that my life doesn’t fill with little things.

I want to say with Caleb that, “I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” (Joshua 14:8 NIV).

What about you? How do you make decisions so that you can serve with your whole heart?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Anita, there is so much wisdom here: waiting, doublechecking with God, life planning, and the spelling of whole (our language is so weird). I’ve been cornered too (don’t you hate that?). There’s a single-mindedness to following Jesus with our whole being and not anyone else. I’m in spot 27 right after you today. So glad to read your words!

  • I still want a cookie, BUT I love the post just the same. It is amazing how saying NO and doing less and having less can actually give us time to be whole and filled!! God is so good! I love your auto-responses! So happy you have learned to use your words effectively regardless of the situation. Something all of us chit-chatty don’t always grasp!
    Marisa recently posted…Living in Chaos | My JournalMy Profile

  • I can totally relate, having in the past become so ‘holey’ I’ve made myself ill. Thankfully, after learning the hard way, I’ve discovered that useful word ‘no’, or your useful phrase ‘let me pray about it’.
    Love your writing style, thanks ever much.

  • This English minor loved this post. And yep I think you can totally make up words. That Joshua verse is such a great verse
    Tara recently posted…Making A Whole Harmony TogetherMy Profile

  • Anita, I loved this post. I’ve lived from a place of holeness too. It’s an empty, draining sort of place to live from. Your response of waiting and praying before giving an answer is wise. I’m learning to do this too. May we both learn to live life in whole-ness.
    Jeanne Takenaka recently posted…Whole: When We Are BrokenMy Profile

  • Oh friend… you know you are speaking my language here! xoxo
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…Bringing Your Whole Self – A Five Minute Friday postMy Profile

  • I love that Caleb quote.

  • Poppy Don

    There is one kind of hole that thoroughly delights me… doughnut holes! I guess it is because it is made up of the wholeness that is removed from from another wholeness.
    Twisted logic? Maybe. To be a Christian doughnut though, one has to always have that certain hole that will encompass the the needs of others that God puts in our pathway of life, however briefly. God has a way of blessing our limited efforts to help others (see the account of Jesus in the Judgement Day, even a glass of water to a stranger has been given directly to Him and has impacted the lives of others).
    Living life as a Christian doughnut can be a little frustrating at times, but we have the option of trusting that He will bless our efforts to keep our hole open to the needs of others and that He will give us the energy to carry on.
    With that thought in mind, perhaps we should not be constantly filling our doughnut holes with trivia. Our prayer should be, “Lord, if you want me to take in this or that burden, show me what part of my wholeness I need to cut out in order that my life can continue being a doughnut’s life for you.”
    I have met the same church committee who wants me to “do the Lord’s work in the church.” I politely explain that I AM doing the Lord’s work. My job is to support the leaders.

  • Anita,
    this was my favorite line: “I have uninstalled the autoresponder feature on my mouth and installed WaitTime 4.9.”
    Thank you so much for a fun yet deep post on not filling the holes with anything but the Lord’s plan. His puzzle pieces always fit perfectly! 😉
    (#74 at FMF this week)
    Tammy recently posted…Whole: Five Minute FridayMy Profile

  • “…acting from a place of holeness instead of wholeness.” I am not always aware, at the time, of where my actions are rooted. This gives me a good word picture to keep in mind as I dig deeper into the why behind what I do. Usually, I discover my holeness-driven me when my ugly attitudes crop up. Oh, if I could catch myself before the uglies and wait until the wholeness-driven me is at the helm.
    In making decisions, I do think waiting is helpful. Quick responses don’t often let my heart catch up.
    Cheryl recently posted…Solving the Chore Problem with OurHomeMy Profile